Summer holidays are starting. In the month of July I have picked up 3 successful Japanese men and woman who give an advice how we can nourish our next generation and our society.
A professional this week is Mr. K. Mikuni, the owner chef of “hotel du Mikuni” who develops about 15 restaurants and cafés in Japan as well as the producer of “Kids Chef” project where he energetically educate elementary school kids in Japan to enhance their sense of taste which Mr. Mikuni emphasizes to be a key for sensitivity.
Mr. Mikuni raises an alarm that Japanese dietary culture which is based on the soybeans and fermented food products appear less and less on the dining table. As a result, many Japanese including the children now suffer from modern diseases such as hay fever, atopic dermatitis, or various kinds of allergies. Another issue is breakfast. It is said that 40% of the elementary school children today come to school without breakfast. This habit should change as they are not able to concentrate on lessons without enough energy.
Mr. Mikuni’s project focuses on letting the children to overcome their dislikeable tastes so that they can train their sensitivity. In the human body, there is an organ called taste buds on the tongue. When a taste is absorbed through the taste buds the brain gets stimulated and sensitivity becomes sharpened. The children using their sensitivity then start to be aware of things around them. They become caring and their mind grows. Mr. Mikuni believes based on your experience to overcome tastes which you are not good at, you can also overcome difficulties with your life such as a broken heart or various failures you encounter in your life. He sees that there are many adults who still like only sweet and soft food. Their sensitivity has not been developed but remained immature and they sometimes become socially misfit.
In today’s busy society, Mr. Mikuni tells us to try to let the children eat natural food whenever possible. You do not have to stoically cook healthy and natural all the time. The key is to go grocery shopping together with the children to get to know ingredients, cook together and, last but not least, eat together, whenever you have time. A good but simple ingredient can be a tomato which contains all 5 tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami). Have a try! 😉
This is JAPAN Style!