6 Japanese Foods My Mother Can No Longer Make Me Eat


Even though I am a 30-something year old woman, my mother likes to fancy that I’m still her little girl.  This can be a double edged sword.  The wonderful parts of it include her baking me a cake for my birthday every year, sending me a check before all my Japan trips with instructions to spend it on a fancy meal (and absolutely NO OMIYAGES for her), and constantly checking up on me during the winter months to make sure I’m not coming down with something.

Regarding the not-so-wonderful parts, the one that stands out the most is my mother’s habit of trying to force me to eat certain Japanese foods that I absolutely can not stand.  This usually occurs when I have dropped by her place unexpectedly during dinner hours.  My mother will ask if I’ve already eaten while simultaneously filling up a plate from various pots and pans on the stove.  Now, my mother knows exactly which foods I don’t like, but she will surreptitiously try and place them on my plate with a straight face anyways.

You can probably guess what happens next: I’ll tower over her and demand that the offensive tidbits be placed back in their original pots and pans.  My mother will get huffy and throw out phrases like, “I don’t know how I raised such a picky eater”, “Your brother never complains about my food”, and “All that junk food you eat has messed with your sense of taste”.

It’s the last phrase that bothers me the most.  While I know that some foods are an acquired taste, there are certain foods that I have never liked and unless I get a tongue transplant at some point in the future, I never will.  Read on for a list of 6 Japanese foods that I will never eat again in this lifetime….and my mother can’t make me no matter what!


mackerel sushi

The way I see it, my mother should be grateful that I’m able to eat cooked mackerel.  It’s the fishiest fish on the planet, and, in my opinion, not in a good way.  But I find it simply inedible in its raw form.  Since the fish needs to be pickled with vinegar to kill all the germs, the sushi tastes like oily, vinegary, extremely fishy mush.  Luckily for me, my mother pretty much only makes this on New Year’s Day now.


Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)

Do you know how many good meals this little mushroom ruined for me when I was growing up?  My mother would always add it to sukiyaki, tempura, chawan-mushi, and a number of other dishes that would have been just fine without it.  Oddly enough I love every other kind of mushroom on the planet, it’s just this one that tastes terrible to me.



When I was younger, many a tear was shed at the dinner table over my refusal to eat the konbu knot in my serving of oden.  Since my mother would never let me leave my chair until I finished EVERYTHING on my plate, there were times I went straight from choking down my last bite of konbu to putting on my PJs and climbing into bed.  On the rare occasions that she let me leave the table without consuming the konbu, I would find it back on my dinner plate the next night.  I’m sure I’m one of the only people on the planet to have eaten konbu covered with pot roast gravy.



It’s strange how something with so little taste could end up on my most-hated Japanese foods list.  And yet, its texture really bothers me.  Have you ever eaten rubber before?  Well, neither have I, but I’m 99.9% sure that it’s texture will be exactly like konnyaku’s.



For me, Octopus = NO.  It doesn’t matter if it’s cooked, raw, or cleverly concealed inside of a tasty looking Takoyaki ball.  Perhaps the worst was when my mother would make her baby octopus dish.  It was bad enough that I didn’t like the taste, but it’s even worse when your food is in the exact same form as when it was alive.


inari sushi

I wish someone had a taken a video of me when I was younger and trying to eat inari sushi.  I probably would have looked like I was having a seizure.  I would stuff the whole piece in mouth, chew frantically while trying not to let the food touch my tongue, and then jump up and down in my seat as I tried to swallow everything at once.  Ah, good times, good times!

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