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How to choose your favorite kind of milk in Japan

What kind of milk (牛乳) do you prefer to drink? Are you a fat-conscious drinker, choosing skim milk or low-fat milk, or do you drink whole (full-fat) milk?Milk in JapanStaying in Japan gives so many options of purchasing, but it’s like a locked casket without a key. Unless you know the necessary kanji, you will just keep on blind guessing. Lets take a more detailed look at them.

If you see the kanji 無脂肪, it may be translated as “skim, or fat-free, or non-fat”. This kind of milk is very popular in America, no wonder that the Japanese are so fond of it.Milk in Japan

Needless to say, Japanese people are afraid of many fats of foreign origin, but forget all precautions as soon as they enter tempura or soba restaurant. 低脂肪 means low-fat milk in Japan. It is also very popular with dieters.Milk in Japan

However, some scientists think it is not good to deprive our body of fats that naturally go with milk. As you may have guessed, I am an advocate of whole milk, or milk with no adjustment of components (成分無調整). Whole milk in Japan usually contains 3,5-4% of fat. Jersey (ジャージー) Milk is famous for high fat content – almost 5% (and also for its high price), and so is 特濃, or milk with higher fat content.Milk in JapanEnjoy the sweet, rich taste that will linger in your mouth after drinking whole milk in Japan! We prefer to buy ours at Costco, but there is always one or two kinds available at the local supermarket. For example, Aoi kuni Shikoku (青い国しこく) also tastes great!Milk in Japan

One important point to remember: ミルク (“milk” written in katakana) is not a real milk. It is a non-dairy coffee creamer or coffee whitener, which often contains hydrogenated vegetable-based fats. 牛乳料 is also not very good, because it is a milk-drink. It may be fortified with vitamins or minerals, but I still prefer the real milk.

Of course, if you want to find your favorite brand, you still have to buy and try. Life in a foreign country is all about that. Sometimes I feel like a kid who is new to everything. It is exciting and challenging at the same time!

Article by Olga Kaneda

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