Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cold Remedies in Japan

Over the weekend I got really ill with a bad case of tonsillitis (when is it ever a good case…?) and literally spent over two days in bed, unable to do anything but sleep. It's never a good time to get sick, but this is an especially bad timing with so much happening at work and in my life, let alone a full weekend wasted away. I did watch an awful lot of Friends though.

Thankfully I had on hand lots of home remedies, and it made me realize how different things are in Japan. Back in Canada, when I'm sick it's all about chicken noodle soup, humidifiers, Vicks and even Sprite for an upset stomach. In Japan, it's very different. Of course it varies from one family to another, but typical remedies here include udon noodles, umeboshi (pickled apricot) and okayu (rice porridge).

Kids are given those cold patches to stick on their foreheads to decrease fever, and I actually love them (and kid-sized too, as my forehead is so small), and body temperature is taken under the arm (in front of a full waiting room at the clinic, something I still cannot get used to). I ended up ingesting those small packs of grape jelly since my throat was so swollen and painful, and drinking Pocari Sweat (a sports drink with an unfortunate name) to settle my stomach.

The best part was a delicious cod soup, made with a konbu (kelp) broth, with ginger, daikon, green onion, pieces of cooked cod, noodles and tofu. It was nutritious but light enough for a weak stomach, and I highly recommend it to fight off a virus. I also love sipping on ginger-flavoured kuzuyu, a thick, honey-like sweet beverage.

I feel a lot better today and lucky I was taken care of with those amazing remedies. Do you have any local remedies, or things to recommend for colds and sore throats?

Grape jelly

Cool patch for fever

Okayu and all the umeboshi I could handle
(one is usually more than enough)

Ginger-flavoured kuzuyu

Cod soup


Johanna said...

Looks delicious! And yeah, it really differs from country to country. Hhhmm here in Sweden we "use" tea with honey, ginger, garlic, citrus fruits for colds and sore throats. Soup is always nice, but I don't think we a staple soup (like chicken noodle) or so...
Hope you're feeling better!

Christine said...

I'm sick right now, ugh, It sucks. my friend from Japan made me drink ginseng in a bottle when I thought I was getting sick there and it helped. I should have bought more. lol.

My bf and I accidentally bought Pocari sweat when we were in Tokyo. what a funny name.

and I got the patches too. Thankfully I don't have a fever so I don't need it yet.

I also have congee when I'm sick and ginger ale if I have upset stomach.

Khaleesi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Isojin, the black gargle, common in Japan works wonders.

Khaleesi said...

Tomato soup always makes me feel better. However, お茶づけ is my go-to Japanese comfort food. It literally cures everything. In fact, I'm eating it now! Also, for sore throats I swear by mint, lemon, and honey tea. Perfect.

Michelle {lovely little things} said...

Do you find that some doctors speak English or is everything mostly conducted in japanese? Feel better!

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