Your Eggs Are Gross


Sunday and Monday I boiled 60 large eggs. Monday night a group of friends came over for tacos and egg coloring (’cause that’s what Saint Patrick’s Day is all about). I expected that the eggs would be well received as I taught people about Easter traditions. Unfortunately there have been a few surprises.

On Tuesday night I showed some eggs to a class of ladies. They listened carefully to my explanation about how to make the eggs and games we play with them. After that, I offered them the chance to take some home. One student said, “Yada!”; which I will just translate as, “No Way!” or, “Yuck!” for today’s write up. I was quite surprised, so I explained that the eggs were boiled and the coloring is just on the outside. Once more I got a quick, “Yada!”, so I followed up by reiterating that we used the same dye that would go in cakes or frostings, so it is completely edible. A third time, “Yada!”, came forth and I gave up.

I asked the other students and they all declined, too. Nobody else would explain clearly. It is possible that some of them wanted to take eggs, but polite Japanese people will refrain unless everyone is getting the same amount. Equally likely is that they also found the colored eggs freakish.

Keven always says, “Japanese people will eat anything!” Here is proof that they won’t. Steamed fish pasted can be dyed pink, pickled radish can be bright yellow, but pastels on egg shell is right out.

Today, I hid 20 eggs in the garden at “The Tea House” before our class. After an explanation about egg-related games, we went hunting. Everyone was properly childlike as we rooted out all the treasure. We returned to the table and finished class. At the end of class someone asked when the eggs were colored. Upon hearing that they had been in my fridge for five days a long discussion ensued. Apparently, conventional wisdom in Japan is that a boiled egg can be stored for about one day before it is dangerous to eat.

I tried to explain that their way of thinking was probably because Japanese people love the half-cooked yoke, but I try to properly hard boil the eggs. I’m sure we regularly stored eggs for a few weeks after Easter when I was young and never had anyone get sick. I’m afraid most of the eggs won’t be eaten.

On the semi-cooked egg side of things, we had another issue. I cooked the first ten or so eggs for a shorter time than the following batches. Those eggs are a little too soft. Well, one of those got passed on to a teacher who was a little surprised. I tried to warn everyone ahead of time that one in six eggs will be a bit soft, but some eggs are getting “re-gifted”.

So, I learned a lot about: cooking eggs without cracking them, under-cooking eggs, cultural reactions to colors, and so on. Hopefully, everyone remembers the enjoyment and forgets the funny bits.


9 Responses to “Your Eggs Are Gross”

  1. Sylvia Says:

    Ah, tradition. Where would cultural misunderstanding be if we didn’t all have such crazy traditions? Did you try to explain what bunnies have to do with Jesus? 😉

  2. びっくり Says:

    I skipped the bunnies and Jesus. This time I was just talking about games. Some people asked about the reason for the holiday. In those cases I took the Jesus route over the bunny. 🙂

  3. verbivore Says:

    I love what anecdotes like this reveal about subtle cultural differences. The joys of being an expat!

  4. Stefanie Says:

    How fascinating! I’m pretty sure we had Easter eggs in our fridge for a week to week and a half when I was a kid. After that everyone was tired of eating them. Next time you have tell them about the Easter Bunny and why the bunny hides the eggs and leaves baskets of candy for the kids 🙂

  5. びっくり Says:

    Verbivore – Good point! I am daily struck by cultural differences. I often get told that I am more Japanese than Japanese people, but that is just the superficial level. While I enjoy Japanese arts and culture, and know pedantic tedium about them, I often find my heart clashing with certain things. (Although, I am getting better about not voicing those clashes.)

    Stefanie – Yeah. I don’t think I could explain exactly why a big rabbit brings candy to the kids. On the expiration date bit, I noticed that the persimmon jam I served today had a Feb. 22nd pull date and everyone kept looking right at it. I think I will make the label go away. 😉 Of course, if anyone gets sick from my eggs or bread and jam, I’ll certainly be writing about it.

  6. Keven Says:

    Odd how they will eat the most “challenging” shall we say food and yet founder on the consumption of a simple egg!

    Perhaps next time you will simply have to get the plastic eggs and fill them with some dried squid or something. I’m sure they’ll be happier to get the eggs then! 🙂

  7. びっくり Says:

    Oh yes, “squid jerky” as I like to call it, would have been very popular. But, the egg dying party was too much fun to pass up. I could make just enough for the foreigners to take home, but we enjoyed the dying so much. Perhaps next year we can have the party, and then I can make egg salad from the extras to give away: no one will be the wiser. 😛

  8. hayden Says:

    Well look at the eggs that they boil from the sulphur springs, they are pitch black and said to give you 7 extra years of life, many japanese didn’t have a problem with those…

  9. びっくり Says:

    I’ve had a few of those… I guess I’ll be living an extra 21 years.

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