The Vegan Place by Julia Gwioździk
There are 28 students in our school. About 1/5 of them are vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan or have some kind of dietary restriction. Me being part of that ⅕ allow me to state this to you, Japan is not a good place to have those restrictions. Sushi? Nope. Ramen? Nope. There is also a problem with the fact that our Japanese skills are non-existent. So we go to restaurants, trying to communicate our weird demands using body language and our broken Japanese. While others just point at the menu, we act insane, crossing our arms, shouting a series of ‘no meat, no fish, etc.’ Which isn’t exactly effective, and annoys everyone around us, we often end up ordering just rice or eating Italian. Looking for restaurants is always a nightmare when you try to satisfy both the people with dietary restrictions and the meat-lovers. Usually, both sides become frustrated with each other whenever they have to eat out together.
There is, however, one place in Hiroshima, where both groups have found food that satisfies them. We call it “the vegan place," but its real name is “Croissant Marché.” It is an organic food store that also offers healthy lunch sets. It has one item on the menu and just five seats. No one there speaks English, but it doesn’t matter because the only thing you have to do is show the number of people who want a meal and smile. The meal changes weekly, but it usually consists of a few types of vegetables, tofu, tea, and rice. Instead of salt or soy sauce, you are given sesame seeds to put on the rice, which is something you immediately fall in love with.
During our time in Hiroshima, I went there almost every day. With time, more and more people started coming, either to buy organic food or to get lunch. It became one of those places like Sequel in India, where you know you will run into someone from TGS if you go there. The vegan place is perfect for anyone who wants good healthy food and some peace and quiet in the middle of the day. The atmosphere created by the Japanese couple who owns it makes everyone feel welcome, no matter if you're from Japan or abroad. No matter if you eat meat or not. Everyone that eats lunch there enjoys it.