The Unexpected Delicacies of Indulgence: A Journey through Japanese Food Culture

Exploring the Japanese Concept of 'Indulgent Food' A Surprising Journey Towards Better Health

Harvest Japan Foods

Living in Japan, the author learned that indulgent food doesn’t always need to be associated with unhealthy food. – Kaki Okumura

In Japan, the concept of ‘indulgent food’ is different from the US, and it helped me attain better health.

Imagine indulgent food, and what comes to mind? Thick slices of chocolate cake, juicy burgers, sizzling steaks, or piles of fries, right? We often associate indulgence with calorie-laden treats that make our taste buds sing and our waistlines groan. But what if I told you that there’s a whole world of indulgence out there that doesn’t rely on unhealthy choices? Join me on a whimsical journey to Japan, where indulgence takes on a whole new meaning.

In the bustling land of the rising sun, fresh produce reigns supreme. Yes, you heard it right – fruits, vegetables, and seafood are hailed as indulgent delicacies. Imagine receiving a beautifully wrapped box of perfectly plump grapes or a rare, exotic melon as a luxury gift. Indulgence in Japan is not measured in calories or size but in terms of seasonality, freshness, locality, and even the sheer dedication poured into growing or producing a particular food item.

Artisanally-grown grapes from Japan in hand

Living here, I’ve come to understand that indulgence is not restricted to the realm of sinful desserts and hefty steaks. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with relishing a slice of cake or indulging in a juicy burger, it seems that in the Western world, we’ve attached a stigma to indulgent food, branding it as inherently unhealthy. We’ve fallen into the trap of believing that anything other than the calorie-dense delights we love is a form of self-deprivation.

But let me tell you, my friends, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Japanese culture teaches us that indulgence can be found in the quality and taste of the food we consume. It’s not about denying ourselves pleasure but expanding our definition of what it means to eat well. It’s about relishing the freshness of a ripe, juicy melon that melts in your mouth like a fragrant symphony of flavors. It’s about savoring the delicate sweetness of artisanally-grown grapes that transport you to a celestial realm of gourmet delight.

Indulgence should be celebrated, not shamed. By shifting our perspective, we can break free from the cycle of diets and deprivation. It’s a liberating experience, my darlings, where indulgent food and healthy choices intertwine, forming a seamless tapestry of flavors and well-being.

So next time you yearn for a treat, open your mind to the tantalizing possibilities of Japanese indulgence. Let the abundance of fresh produce, the mastery of culinary techniques, and the joy of savoring every bite guide your culinary journey. Embrace the art of balance, and live healthier, happier, and longer the Japanese way.

Kaki Okumura is the author of “Wa – The Art of Balance: Live Healthier, Happier and Longer the Japanese Way.” To sign up for her weekly newsletter Kakikata, go to:

Dear readers,

Indulgence takes on a whole new meaning when we explore the fascinating world of Japanese food culture. It’s not just about calorie-laden treats that wreak havoc on our waistlines; it’s a celebration of seasonality, freshness, and the sheer artistry of culinary craftsmanship.

Imagine the delight of receiving a gift of artisanally-grown grapes or a luscious melon that transports you to a realm of gourmet ecstasy. In Japan, indulgence is not synonymous with guilt or deprivation but a glorious union of taste and quality.

So why limit ourselves to the same old desserts and heavyweight burgers? Let’s embrace the Japanese way of indulgence and expand our culinary horizons. Fill your plate with vibrant produce, indulge in fresh seafood, and relish the mastery of Japanese cooking techniques.

Join me on this journey of self-discovery and liberation from the shackles of diets and shame. Let’s savor every bite and celebrate the art of balance, living healthier, happier, and longer.

With love,

Kaki Okumura