It has been said that I am somewhat of a Guru when it comes to many aspects of life; it has also been said by others that I am an egotistical eccentric with delusions of grandeur. Fortunately, I'm going to give you the chance to make up your own mind with my guide to... I am yet to decide whether I will continue this experimental experiment beyond the first segment; after all, there are some wisdoms that can not be imparted however hard you may try, although it goes without saying that critics would opine that I am, in fact, not a Guru at all. But I put it to you that if we all listened to our nay-sayers, would I have lost two digits in the great ice-skating debarcle of '95? Absolutely not. I rest my case.
Without stalling any further, I bring you Mr. Casson's Guide to... Japanese Food:
Number one: I hope you like fish.
If you are one of those snooty prudes who doesn't enjoy a good bit of uncooked dead crustacea, you might find yourself on the first bus to Feedme-ku, Hungry-shi (it's in Okayama, trust me). You're going to be hard-pressed finding fish-free sustainance, and even if you do somehow come across such a rarity, it is in fact just a smokescreen; the Japanese are highly unappreciative of such behaviour, opting to slap seafood-eschewing foreigners with giant cod. And if that doesn't disturb you, the scaly imprints etched into my cheeks just might.
But all is not lost! After all, is food really that important to a person's general health and wellbeing? I'm not entirely sure that this has been explored adequately. Thus, I wholeheartedly endorse a food-free diet for those who reach for a bucket at every offer of a sashimi platter or squid sausage.
Perhaps you might like to go one step further and prolong your starvation, and indeed precious last morsels of life, by subjecting your body to the strains of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Granted, it isn't the most appetizing meal, but mmm, how rich and filling sweet, sweet oxygen is.
Number two: Noodles are an important dietary supplement.
It is well documented that the first word that comes to mind at the mention of "Japan" is "noodles" (after "sushi", of course). In fact, it may surprise many readers to find out that the literal transliteration of "Japan" is "Big Noodle Bar". No doubt it is such a surprise because it is also such a blatant lie. But you laughed so it was worth it.
The secret behind the extraordinary success of the humble noodle lies in its versatility. You can fry them, boil them, even eat them! ...
Don't forget that there are many kinds of noodles: Long, skinny Soba, plumper Udon, Hokkien noodles, instant noodles, Maggi noodles, you name it. Historians believe that the shorter, skinnier noodles are modelled on a common conception of a 'member' of the male anatomy being slightly inadequate on Japanese men. Food for thought.
Number three: Chicken is always a safe bet.
I've never had a problem whenever I've eaten Japanese chicken. It's just about the only food you can get that isn't wrapped in 'nori' (seaweed) and reeks of the ocean. Tonkatsu, Katsudon and Yakitori are all primarily chicken dishes that are guaranteed not to leave you in anaphylactic shock, or even worse, stuck to the toilet for a few hours.
Number four: Don't give up and seek salvation in western food.
Quite simply, if you do, I'll murder you. Throwing your arms in the air like a "girlie man" (as Arnie so eloquently put it) and vowing never to touch washoku (Japanese cooking) ever again means that you will miss out. Yes, I say that in spite of the all the bitching and bemoaning I have done so far. Like a precious stone found resting tranquilly in a heap of compost, Japan lays claim to some unique culinary masterpieces. If you die without trying Yakigyoza, your entire life will be completely devalued. In fact, it might even be the reason you are dead. Just keep that in mind.
That's all, folks. I hope you enjoyed my guide as much as I enjoyed writing it. Hey, perhaps you even learned a thing or two (ok let's not get too silly).
Noodle you later.