Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Who would have thought to look in the juice aisle?

After wandering the local grocery store over three different visits, looking for lemon juice, I finally broke down and asked for help finding it from a clerk. She quickly said, "Its on aisle 5, about the center, on the top shelf."  I turned and saw the sign for aisle 5, and under it the word "Juice."

Sure enough, there it was on the top shelf (a bit higher than I usually strain to look).  I felt kind of silly--it never occurred to me that lemon juice would be on the juice aisle.

Several months ago I was wandering the store looking for  oroshi nama ninniku and couldn't remember what it was called in English. That made it really hard to ask for help... On a subsequent trip I found the minced garlic on a shelf near the Asian Food Bar in the deli section of the store.

I'm heading off on a trip soon, and have small packages of instant coffee to take with me. In Japan I could buy similar packages of powdered creamer--not that it was delicious, but it was convenient. Unless I'm looking in the wrong place, I'm not finding it at my local store. Oh, that's another food item that is placed differently in stores here. Powdered creamers are in a section near the coffee and tea ...of course...in Japan.

It seems the grocery store is the one place where I'm constantly challenged by having lived in another country for a long time. I don't understand the logic of some food placements. I can't find things I want. I might not even know what they're called here. And coming from the land of small "convenience-sized" packages to the land of supersize, how do I choose to purchase things?  And just getting from one side of the store to the other is a workout, especially when I'm a bit overwhelmed by not understanding the system.

I've been back 18 months now, and in some ways I feel like I've been more disoriented culturally the last few months than I was at first. Last weekend we went to visit a friend in Greenville who was the homestay "little sister" for Stan when he first went to Japan back in '79.  She moved to the US about 20 years ago when her husband was transferred here for work.  It was so good to be able to slip into my less than perfect conversational Japanese to chat with her and enjoy her good Japanese cooking and hospitality. I guess that's a piece of me that needs to be awakened from time to time.

I'm still not convinced that the lemon juice should be in the juice section of the market. It seems it should be near the baking supplies, or just down the aisle from the vinegar. Sigh...