Question about 食物

Good day to all. I have a doubt and wondered if anyone would be able to answer it.
You see, the latest story I’m reading is about two women who do シェアハウス. So, one of them is a very good cook and every chapter portrays a different topic about typical Japanese food. So, lots of food vocab and kanji.
While I enjoy a lot learning new words and kanji, I wondered if it’s worth it? I don’t really mind it, I actually love it. But I might understand it if someone told me that learning words and kanji like 餃子、椎茸、糠漬け, 天日干し aren’t the best thing to focus on.
Do Japanese people know all these? I mean, if a connoisseur of food were to talk me about Potage, for instance, I would be like what? However, French dishes get thrown around like nothing here, and that made believe the writer, just like the average Japanese, knows about them. (I learn that word from this story.)
I still will finish the story, but I would like to know nonetheless.


In my experience with English (my native language), it’s common for people to know that certain terms fall into a specific category, even if they don’t know what it is in detail. For example, you might hear rose, tulip, dandelion, willow, etc. You probably know those are plants/flowers, even if you don’t know what they look like. The same could be true for foods and food ingredients. You probably recognize many of those terms in your native language, but unless you like to cook you may not know specifically what they are. And I think that’s okay. How you want to approach this in Japanese will depend on whether food interests you and whether you want a superficial or deep understanding of food terms in Japanese.


The four examples you gave seem like things that basically all Japanese people would know of. They might not be able to write the kanji, but my impression is you’d get incredibly high success rates from asking them to read them. They know way more food vocab than non-natives.

In any case, 餃子 is a great word to know because 餃子 is awesome.


Petition to have 餃子 added to level one of WaniKani.


Then yeah! It’s worth it!

In my book at least, the boost of learning something you enjoy is the single most important thing for learners, far more so than “practicality” (which is hard if not impossible to assess for learners anyway).
You might not see those words in kanji very often… but when you do, it’ll feel awfully validating!


Yes, I also thought of this. English is my second language and cases similiar to those you mentioned happen with all kinds of words (way less often now, but at the beginning…). I think I’m not even at the superficial level of food terms yet. Just like you said, if someone says “shiitake”, I would like to be able to think “oh, that was some kind of mushroom” rather than not knowing.

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Yes, this is the kind of answer I was looking for.
I agree with 餃子. I learnt it so readily.


I think this holds true for a ton of different domains.

I was reading a picture book to my daughter the other day and it had pictures of animals and vegetables. I did the best I could to say the English, Samoan, and Japanese words but it really highlighted how much vocab and average native speaker has.

I probably got maybe 80% of them in Japanese although a few of them I got lucky on, like ビート😂

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Hi. Are you reading a book by chance. I’m always on the lookout for a good 日本語 book featuring cooking themes. :smiley:

Hello. It is not a book but a story published on syosetsu that’s called ふたりぼっちで食卓を囲む. You can read all the stories there for free, but some are clearly better written than others. Have a good look around!

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