Weekly Japanese Pop Culture Thread (August 11, 2021)

Welcome to The Avocado’s weekly discussion of Japanese pop culture! Today I want to talk about one my favorite things to eat: pickled plum (umeboshi). If you’ve never tried one, they have a sour, salty flavor that may be a bit of a shock at first. The first time I ate a pickled plum…I wasn’t a fan. Before you ask, yes, I tried pickled plum because of Fruits Basket. This was many years ago, but I remember very clearly going to the local H Mart after seeing Tohru share her thoughts on the pickled plum hiding on everyone’s back. We all have one. We just can’t see it! If you have no idea what I’m talking about, consider watching Fruits Basket! Seriously, I cried a little just watching the scene as I was making the gif below. I know, I’m an emotional person, but it’s just such a beautiful idea.

Anyway, back to the point. I wanted to love pickled plum, but I didn’t. A few years later, when I was getting serious about bento making, I learned that placing a pickled plum in your rice helped keep it soft and moist throughout the day. So I decided to give it another shot. And you know what? It was delicious! It’s hard for me to believe there was ever a time I didn’t love pickled plums. And it really does keep rice nice and fresh in your bento. Now I’m mildly obsessed with anything pickled plum flavored–drinks, candy, chips (I highly recommend Chip Star), etc. If it says picked plum, I’ll try it and probably love it. I almost never have a bento without one. I haven’t tried making my own yet, but I really want to! If you’re curious, here’s a recipe.

Not surprisingly, Tohru was right all along: the pickled plum is the best part of a riceball. And she was also right that we all have one. Yes, you have one. Trust me, I can see it!

And, as always…

What have you been watching/reading/playing/eating/listening to lately?

Happy Wednesday! 🙂