I can’t resist Japanese bookshops wherever I am, even though my ability to read Japanese is pretty limited at the moment. When I was in Seattle I found myself in Kinokuniya browsing for
filthy gay manga anything of interest. It was there that I spotted the first two issues Veggy Steady Go!, which bills itself as Japan’s first vegetarian magazine (日本初のベジタリアン・マガジン！！) and urges us to eat more vegetables (もっと野菜を食べましょう！- this is the form you always see translated as “Let’s do whatever!”). Now, cookery is one of the areas where my ability to read Japanese is a little less limited, and resistance was futile.
Issue one includes the traditional article on going vegetarian and material about different style of vegetarian eating, including macrobiotics, raw foods, something called Natural Hygiene, whose proponent looks really unhealthily skinny, and ayurveda. There’s news about products of interest to the vegetarian, and a travel guide – brief articles on Germany, Denmark, and New York and longer in-depth pieces on London (but why is that fish shop mentioned?), Paris and, unsurprisingly, Japan. There are recipes – a curry, vegan carrot muffins (I’ll be having a go at that one), risotto, a French-style macrobiotic dish etc, all of which appear to be vegan.
Issue two focusses on vegetarian people, with interviews with a couple of actresses, a woman who runs a café and an author, plus two people who talk about being vegetarian in London and New York respectively. There’s a three page item, probably advertorial, on the Maman Terrace shops and restaurants in Tokyo and Osaka — I’ve eaten at the Osaka branch, and it wasn’t bad at all. The article I most want to translate is on Shoujin Ryouri – the cuisine of Zen temples, and my favourite food in the whole world. It seems to focus on two places where you can eat the cuisine.
There are many more recipes (hooray!), and they come from all over the world. There’s an Indian-style chickpea curry, Jamaican baking, Spaghetti alla Genovese and potato salad — the latter, as is common in Japanese magazines, being to advertise a particular brand of soya mayonnaise. There’s a feature on vegan home cooking. The travel guide concerns itself with vegetarian eating in Okinawa, a part of Japan where they eat more soya and fresh vegetables than anywhere else in the world, but also tend to put pork in everything. They’ve also noted the existence of Lush cosmetics.
I notice from their website that there’s a new issue out, but I’m not sure where I’ll be able to get it in the UK as I haven’t seen it in either of the Japanese bookshops in central London.