How about a kimchi summit?

Home > National >

print dictionary print

How about a kimchi summit?

The author is a Tokyo correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.

“Well, I made kimchi at home yesterday too. I should have brought some. As my family likes freshly-made kimchi, I make it little by little. Fried rice with kimchi cannot get any better, right?”

I didn’t expect to talk about kimchi with a middle-aged lady for over an hour in the middle of Tokyo. On September 30, I met Tomomi Honda, 55, in front of the Sejong Institute of the Korean Cultural Center in Japan. The culinary researcher, who also teaches Korean at the institute, started enthusiastically talking about how she made kimchi.

On August 20, Honda published a book about kimchi, which can be found at local supermarkets and convenience stores in Japan now. As Japanese people stayed home more due to Covid-19, they fell for Korean dramas and became more interested in Korean cuisine, including making kimchi on their own. As more Japanese prefer kimchi over Japan’s pickled vegetables, she decided to publish a book on kimchi.

Her repertoire of kimchi-making was endless — from cucumber kimchi, gat-kimchi, mul-kimchi and bossam-kimchi. Her interest in Korea began when she was 23. She was working for a trading company in Japan and went on a trip to Gwangju. She stopped by at a restaurant specializing in gukbap, and the tour guide presented a container with homemade kimchi. The guide brought it to share and she was completely amazed as the taste was so deep. Honda said it was “shocking.” Wherever she visited in Korea, she tasted local kimchi. What she liked the most about kimchi was the change in taste from fermentation over time.

When the first Korean wave began in the early 2000s with the popular Korean drama “Winter Sonata,” Honda began to learn the Korean language. She started a Korea-Japan exchange group, and it led to a cooking exchange group. Until now, she has been pursuing a path as a culinary researcher for more than a decade. It started with kimchi and moved on to Korean dramas.

Now she has another dream. Beyond just teaching about Korean food in Japan, she wants to help Korea-Japan exchange through food. “When Koreans and Japanese sit together and eat, the relationship cannot but improve,” she exclaimed.

The leaders of Korea and Japan engaged in a war of nerves last month over a 30-minute meeting in New York: “Was that really a "summit" or just a "short conversation” between them?”

On October 6, the two leaders had the first phone call. After countless exchanges to “improve relations,” the talk was made possible as North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan. As they took a first step toward improving bilateral relations, how about having a meal with kimchi together and untying the Gordian knot from then on?
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)