I got this in a Japanese supermarket:
How to make soup curry:
1 packet of soup mix
1 packet of flavorful oil
1 packet of spicy flavoring
80g (3 oz.) of chicken thigh meat cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 medium sized carrot
1/2 medium sized potato (cut in half)
1. Boil water in a small pan. Â Add chicken, potato, and carrot, cook until vegetables become soft, about 20 minutes on med-low heat.
2. Turn off the heat, add the soup mix and mix thoroughly, turn the heat back on and cook a little longer until the flavor penetrates the meat and vegetables.
3. Pour the flavorful oil onto a plate and pour the finished curry on top.
4. Add a desired amount of the spice flavoring.
–the spice flavoring is fairly spicy, so please use caution when adding
–please cook the chicken thoroughly before adding the soup mix
-to make a double portion, double the meat and vegetables, and increase water to 700ml.
-the black things in the soup are basil
To make a dish like the picture on the box: Add sauteed japanese eggplant, shimeji mushrooms, green peppers, and hard boiled egg to the dish. Use boned chicken meat.
How to eat: Using a spoon, scoop rice and add a small amount of curry to the spoon. Â Please keep the curry and rice in separate dishes to prevent the rice from getting soggy.
Caution: Please use the entire contents of the packets after opening. Â Cannot be preserved for later use.
I have bolded the interesting parts: 1. The use of please. 2. The explanation (“the spice flavoring is fairly spicy”). You won’t find them in the instructions on most American products. I became aware of this aspect of Japanese life when I read T. R. Reid’s wonderful book Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Teaches Us about Living in the West, which was based on six years Reid spent in Japan as a correspondent for the Washington Post. At one point Reid quoted from a sign in a park. The sign had a list of prohibitions: No littering, no music, and so on. But instead of saying, as an American sign would, “no littering”, the sign said something like: “So that others can enjoy the beauty of the park, please put your litter in the proper receptacle.”
A few years ago I taught a class called Psychology and the Real World in which students did some sort of off-campus work of their choosing. (An example of my teaching philosophy.) One student volunteered in a hospital. One day he told a story about being treated rudely by a nurse. I said, yeah, we live in a pretty rude culture. Japan is different, I said, and told the class about Reid’s Japanese park signs.
My student was impressed. He had a part-time job monitoring parking in front of a San Francisco hotel. People would often try to park in an area that needed to be kept clear and it was his job to get them to move. His method — pre-Reid — had been to go over to the offending car and say “sorry, you can’t park here.” Post-Reid, he was elaborately polite: “Please forgive me for disturbing you, but we need to keep this area clear so that taxis can pick up and drop off passengers. I’m sorry for inconveniencing you, but would you be kind enough to move your car?” Something like that. Pre-Reid, about half the time the driver would argue or cause some sort of difficulty. Post-Reid, there were no problems.
Thanks to Pearl Alexander.