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Living In Japan With Celiac?
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5 posts in this topic

Hi,

first of i should introduce myself. I'm a 23 year old guy living from Sweden, the country with maybe the highest levels of celiac disease in the world what I've heard. I've been a celiac almost my entire life, i got my diagnose when i was 2 and have been on a gluten-free diet ever since. I'm not sure what sensitivity levels there are, but if i mistakenly eat something with gluten and it can be very small amount it take almost precisely on hour before everything thats in my stomach, well, comes back up so to speak.

To my question then, I've been thinking of going to Japan for at least one year studying the language and culture. But my celiac is holding me back (which it have my whole life), in Sweden it's a very commonly known thing and you can order food almost everywhere that is gluten-free, so i have become very comfortable with living here with my celiac. And so I'm a little afraid that it's not so common in Japan and what i have read it isn't. So my question for anyone living in Japan on a gluten-free diet on the forum, how does it work out? Can you ask for gluten-free food at restaurants? And how easy is it finding gluten-free ingredients, such as soy sauce for example?

/Nicko

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The first thing to do is research some of the older threads on  the forum as they contain a lot of good information. I've had an office in Japan for 30 years and although celiac for only 8 or so. I've not had a problem in japan once I could explain to the chefs about my allergy. They dont all get it but most of them do. Having to explain it in japanese is something you'll have to learn. In other messages on the foorum I posted the name of a few  english speaking doctors in Japan who can help with  language and celiac. There are also the popular  cards you can  download  explaining it in kanji. -- finding  gluten-free soy sauce is not always  easy  but you can get  things shioyaki  as well as go to health food stores like at Yokohama station and get the  gluten-free shoyu--  . Also you want to make sure you understand  miso. When miso is made with kome koji its not a problem but mugi -- barley miso can be.  Hacho & aka miso can go either way. I trained as a chef in Japan so I'm kind of spoiled and I have a lot of chef buddies  but finding things at  any izakaya is possible.  Finally, IF you can  find my old friend Hansg through the japan clubs in Sweden, He can help. He translates Swedish into japanese and worked for a number of years at the embassy in Tokyo. Great guy too.

Ken

 

Hi,

first of i should introduce myself. I'm a 23 year old guy living from Sweden, the country with maybe the highest levels of celiac disease in the world what I've heard. I've been a celiac almost my entire life, i got my diagnose when i was 2 and have been on a gluten-free diet ever since. I'm not sure what sensitivity levels there are, but if i mistakenly eat something with gluten and it can be very small amount it take almost precisely on hour before everything thats in my stomach, well, comes back up so to speak.

To my question then, I've been thinking of going to Japan for at least one year studying the language and culture. But my celiac is holding me back (which it have my whole life), in Sweden it's a very commonly known thing and you can order food almost everywhere that is gluten-free, so i have become very comfortable with living here with my celiac. And so I'm a little afraid that it's not so common in Japan and what i have read it isn't. So my question for anyone living in Japan on a gluten-free diet on the forum, how does it work out? Can you ask for gluten-free food at restaurants? And how easy is it finding gluten-free ingredients, such as soy sauce for example?

/Nicko

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The first thing to do is research some of the older threads on  the forum as they contain a lot of good information. I've had an office in Japan for 30 years and although celiac for only 8 or so. I've not had a problem in japan once I could explain to the chefs about my allergy. They dont all get it but most of them do. Having to explain it in japanese is something you'll have to learn. In other messages on the foorum I posted the name of a few  english speaking doctors in Japan who can help with  language and celiac. There are also the popular  cards you can  download  explaining it in kanji. -- finding  gluten-free soy sauce is not always  easy  but you can get  things shioyaki  as well as go to health food stores like at Yokohama station and get the  gluten-free shoyu--  . Also you want to make sure you understand  miso. When miso is made with kome koji its not a problem but mugi -- barley miso can be.  Hacho & aka miso can go either way. I trained as a chef in Japan so I'm kind of spoiled and I have a lot of chef buddies  but finding things at  any izakaya is possible.  Finally, IF you can  find my old friend Hansg through the japan clubs in Sweden, He can help. He translates Swedish into japanese and worked for a number of years at the embassy in Tokyo. Great guy too.

Ken

 

Thank you very much for your information, i will try and search for the older threads, forgot about that before i started this one, sorry about that. This gives my so mush hope that it wont be difficulty at all living in Japan with celiac

as I first thought.

 

/Nicko

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I'll be there in Nov. so if you would like to meet some chefs in Tokyo just  send me a message here. Do you know where you will be yet?   Bottom line is you have to be careful in Japan but its not a problem. There are   types of cuisinie like Yuba ryori which are gluten-free and amazingly good although more expensive. Good luck!

Ken

 
Thank you very much for your information, i will try and search for the older threads, forgot about that before i started this one, sorry about that. This gives my so mush hope that it wont be difficulty at all living in Japan with celiac

as I first thought.
 
/Nicko

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I have lived in Japan for 20+ years and the past year and a half of that has been gluten free. I would not say it is easy at all. There is no knowledge of "gluten free" so no packaging is labeled. Some snacks are labeled for allergies and list wheat. But then there is fine print that says "processed in a factory or on equipment that uses wheat." To me, that is not gluten free. Risk is too high. I have eaten in a restaurant once since Dec. and that was a nice sushi place where I brought my own wheat free soy sauce.

 

If you plan to live here I think it is easier than just coming to travel. You can set up your own kitchen and cook. I make sure to prepare all my meals and take my food with me if I am out. With planning it can be done, but I would not say it is by any means easy.

 

 

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    • Thankyou both! I was wondering if my high levels left much doubt on the diagnosis. I don't see the GI until the 15th Sep and I don't think I can stand to eat gluten in that time. If he tells me to I will do so after then. After 25 years of symptoms I don't think there is much chance of healing my bowel In a couple of weeks. I'm actually terrified of the damage they might find. But I think I will need the endo since there may be other things going on with me. So great they didn't put your son through the biopsy! Once I have a formal diagnosis I have my kids to worry about also. I can't even stand the thought of my daughter having a blood test. I think she would need to be sedated as she is so fearful and pain sensitive. My son is not yet 2 so I don't think they will test him. I'm feeling so off at the moment. I think I have some anxiety and reflux going on complicating things quite a bit.
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