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Vegan Travel Suggestions Discussion Forum

I just started taking Japanese, and I know that there's going to be a trip at the end of senior year (im a junior rn). The only problem with this is I know they aren't accommodating with vegan diets, there was this one incident last year where they had to eat a meal at the school, and there was a yogurt in the meal. One of the kids then explained that he was lactose intolerant, and that he'd feel really sick the whole day if he drank it. He promptly was told he had to be respectful so he eventually chocked it down and let it reign havoc on his insides.

I'm not sure if I should just try to eat as vegan as possible and occasionally have something with animal products (only if it's given to me). I don't want to be a pain in the ass and ask the teachers for special treatment (heck they didn't even care when the guy had allergies) but I also know I'll feel [censored]ty if I eat animal products. What should I do?

Responses (5)

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    Posted by msbaker1989 at 10/02/17 03:29:07

    I think that occasionally having a few animal products would be okay, as that wouldn't hurt you. Japan has a lot of fish so some healthy fish wouldn't be too bad. It all depends on how serious you take your vegetarian diet and so I feel it is a bit of personal preference.

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    Posted by mheganp at 01/04/18 02:40:28

    Hi @poprocks! You might want to check out these articles:
    Also, you can check out https://www.vegtravelbuddies. com. Vegtravelbuddies connects vegetarian and vegan travelers. You can use their search option to find other veg travelers heading to the same destination around the same time as you or to connect with locals who can meet up with you. Hope this helps.

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    Posted by KansaiVege at 02/14/18 11:44:27

    First of all, no one can force you to eat a certain item on the plate. Out of consideration, it would be good if you notify the planners etc. that you have to follow a special diet.
    If they don't respond to that, you might have to take your own sack lunch. Yes, there may be some heavy "social pressure" on you to eat the same as everyone else. Thankfully, Japanese cuisine usually consists of many small selections, not one big main plate. You should be able to survive with leaving the unwanted items aside. the main staple is going to be boiled rice, so you won't have a problem there. I hope this helps somewhat.

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    Posted by Nanchi at 02/18/18 13:46:04

    As mentioned above, probably best to let people know beforehand. Also let them know you don't require anything special, that you're happy with just rice (which is probably going to be there anyway). If they don't care about that, then you can see how to deal with things in each individual situation.

    In school, maybe you could ask to have 'a little less' of the non-vegan foods, or give them to a friend if that's not considered too rude. If you just find it too disgusting, maybe saying you're not hungry anymore might help. (Would get the food wasted ofc, but I don't know your reasons for being vegan.)

    I'm sure you can find ways to stay vegan at least most of the time :) This might be helpful too:

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    Posted by Ricardo at 02/18/18 16:04:09

    As mentioned before, though you might feel pressured to eat whatever is given to you; no one is going to force you to eat it. You just have to stay strong and let them know that no means no. I'm very surprised they made that person ate his yogurt, as having food intolerances are very common there.
    In fact, they generally write the allergens in the food you consume, so it would be a good idea to learn the basic -kanji- characters for things you can/cannot eat (eggs, fish, seafood, dairy, wheat, nuts, etc). You should be able to find this allergen list somewhere.

    By the way, not all japanese people are the same, and despite what people think, most of them are understanding of your personal choices, even more when it comes to eating habits. So if you are able to make yourself understood, it should be alright.

    As a last resort, in addition to white rice, you can eat soba (buckwheat noodles), but be careful with the sauce as it'd probably have bonito in it (you can eat just the noodles in that case or ask for soy sauce). Vegetable tempura might be fine also, but you'd need to check for eggs in the batter. The same with konbu (kelp) onigiri, it might look vegan, but double check for bonito (鰹 or カツオ).

    The worst thing we can do as vegans is to give others the idea that a vegan person can eat fish or other animal stuff. Then they believe that it's ok for vegans to eat a little bit of animal products from time to time; and that's why they don't make any effort to understand or to provide alternatives.

    So, although it may be difficult, stay strong. :)

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