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A Cross-Cultural Look at Breakfast

Several years ago when I lived in Japan, I unexpectedly stopped by a friend’s house in the early morning. She was just sitting down to enjoy her breakfast of salted fish, rice and miso soup.

“Ah, ohayo gozaimasu! (Good morning)” she exclaimed, surprised to see me.

“Ohayo!” I said, nodding as I stepped through the doorway and slipped off my shoes.

I had only stopped by to gather teaching materials (she was my employer), but in her accommodating kindness, she shuffled things around the table, made a spot for me and reached for another set of chopsticks. She glanced at the morning’s offerings, looked up at me and sheepishly grinned.

“I’m sorry yo (an informal Japanese-English way of apologizing),” she said. “I don’t have any toast or cereal for you.”

She assumed I wanted an American breakfast, but what she didn’t know was that as a quarter-Japanese American, I longed for her breakfast of fish, rice and miso. It had been several months since I left the states; besides my family, it was only my mother’s cooking of traditional Japanese food that could ease the mild sorrow of enduring homesickness.

That morning, we sat down to sip our miso, eat every grain of rice and enjoy the crispy parts of salted fish. It was as if we had known each other forever—despite differences of language or the places we call home, we found connection, in our food.

20 Breakfasts From Around the World

by Lemonly.
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