明けましておめでとうございます!Happy Gluten-Free New Year!

あけましておめでとう!今年もよろしくお願いします.  I wish all of you a wonderful, joyous gluten-free 2016 and hope your travels to Japan are memorable, fun and healthy.

To start 2016 off right, I’ve decided to offer up some link love.  The following links have a ton of information that may be helpful for those traveling (or in the process of moving to) Japan.

First off, there has been a ton of information collected in the Gluten-Free Expats in Japan Facebook group. If you are not already a member, please consider joining it. You can ask questions and offer insight on traveling through Japan or living there long term.

A project I had been working on with another member of the GFEJ group was to create a clearing house site that would offer lists of restaurants that had been verified as safe for those with celiac disease. After living in Japan for four years, one thing that I learned was that restaurants have a difficult time serving those of us who require strict gluten-free diets. I have a difficult time recommending restaurants that might be gluten-free or that allowed someone to eat there but didn’t really understand the importance of eating gluten-free for those of us with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.  That being said, it’s very difficult to travel without being able to pop into a restaurant or know that the city or town (or tiny island) you’re staying has somewhere you can find sustenance.  The following links may help those of you traveling.  Be aware that you will still need to convey to the chefs/waiters that you absolutely cannot eat anything with gluten due to health concerns.

Satsuki Miki-san, a savvy entrepreneur living in Tokyo, has started this clearing house site for restaurants in Japan who can serve gluten-free food to those with celiac disease/gluten sensitivity.  The site is called Gluten-free Restaurant.  Feel free to check it out and offer feedback.

Jodi Ettenberg, the former lawyer turned world traveler/food blogger at Legal Nomads, has put together a gluten-free travel card for those who are traveling through Japan. These cards are comparable to the card I used when I lived there and offer extensive and necessary information for those who do not speak any Japanese and who need to be able to convey their dietary issues to chefs and waitstaff.  She also has a list of restaurants she’s compiled in the link above.

Another blog called Yebtastic! Japan, which focuses on Ebisu, Tokyo, has just put out a list of Tokyo based gluten-free restaurants and places to find food.

The next post will be an interview with Nao Maeda, a Tokyo-based baker who runs gluten-free baking/pastry cooking lessons called グルテンフリーお菓子教室 milktart.

As for me, I’ve returned to the US and am now living in Las Vegas, Nevada where I am pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing. I plan to return to Japan to work after I’m done with graduate school and hope that by the time I do return, Japan will be gluten-free friendly in a way that is different from the way the US has gone gluten-free. I have major issues with how the gluten-free diet has become a huge fad over here and is not taken seriously by chefs or waiters.  There is so little understanding of the insidious nature of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and its affects on those who have it. I actually feel less healthy living in the US than I did living in Japan, where I followed a strict primal diet mostly because if I didn’t, I would be exposed to gluten. Here, I go out to restaurants that promise gluten-free, but really cannot make good on those promises.  These industries need to be regulated more thoroughly.  I hope that as Japan moves towards its 2020 Olympics, they will approach the gluten-free food industry carefully.

I hope 2016 is the best year yet for you all and hope that your travels through Japan offer you amazing experiences!  Feel free to leave comments and recommendations about any of the restaurants or places you’ve visited while in Japan!

Lots of love.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Bridget Phillips
    Jan 12, 2016 @ 09:15:50

    Hi there, I have sent a request to join the Gluten-Free Expats in Japan Facebook group, if you could accept it that would be amazing 🙂 I am travelling to Japan for the 6th or 7th time (lost count!) this Feb and it always is a bit of a struggle as a celiac! In the past I have been based in one location for 3 months or so, so can order gluten free foods online and cook for myself, but I am travelling all around Japan for a month this time so will be very different. Your blog has been a life saver thank you so much!

    Reply

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