Monday, February 22, 2010

I "heart" Brazilian Supermarkets

My friend just called and told me she was on her way to a Brazilian restaurant in Moka. And that resulted in two things:

1. me getting very hungry, and
2. this blog post.

Funny, because just yesterday I was reading on some other blog a bunch of useless, racist drivel about Brazilian Japanese (no link, because racist nonsense shouldn’t be advertised). And the day before I went shopping at a Brazilian supermarket in Moka (bought pickled beets, sausages and Inca Kola).


Takara Brazilian Supermarket in Moka

So, yes, in case you didn’t know, there are Brazilians living in Japan. Quite a few of them. And Peruvians. Also quite a few of them. And Bolivians and other South Americans, but not so many of them.

How did they get here? By plane, presumably. And yes, they are of Japanese descent, but it might be hard to realize by looking at some of them.

The story goes like this: back in prehistoric times, sometime around the beginning of the 20th century bunches of impoverished Japanese peasants were enticed to immigrate to Brazil. And so they did. Until 1941 almost 190 000 people left Japan in search of a better life in Brazil.


The immigration from Japan to Peru had started even earlier, back in the late 1890. Anyway, fast forward to the end of the 20th century – that’s when the descendants of those Japanese, in order to escape the instability of Latin America, came knocking on the door of their “motherland”.


A small mercado in Kanuma

Those “returnees” are known as “dekasegi” and while many do struggle in Japan, because even though they may look Japanese, culturally they are not, there are also many success stories. But you don't hear much about those successes, because really, like, who cares?

You just hear about those who lost their jobs due to the economic downturn and about the Japanese government’s scheme to pay them some laughable amount of cash and send them back to wherever it is they came from.


But where were we? Ah yes, Brazilian supermarkets. Yes, these people need to eat, and I for one, am very glad for this fact. Since this is not Tokyo and I can’t just hop to a local import food store, I am very grateful for our local Brazilian markets. Because they stock all sorts of stuff, and not only from Brazil. And while I am very happy in Japan, every once in a while I crave pickled beets or proper chorizo, and yes, even Inca Kola.


And now, if you excuse me, I have a lovely beet salad to consume.

1 comment:

  1. Now *that* is a fantastic post.
    I had no idea that there was such a thing as a Brazilian Japanese culture. How wonderful!