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Wait, Seriously, You Can Eat That?!


In case you were wondering if there is such a thing as too much information, take a look-see at this handy chart I spotted recently, hanging outside a “Don’t Waste Anything!” restaurant in Tokyo.

Although at first glance it looks like a biology quiz, when you discover it’s a diagram of where all the meats on the restaurant’s menu come from, you may wish it had stayed safely within the pages of your 10th grade textbook. This restaurant serves fifteen (count ’em, fifteen!) different types of pork bits for the bargain price of ¥90 (less than a dollar) a skewer. For your dining consideration:

1: Pig head (Don’t ask. And don’t exercise your imagination too vigorously either.)

2: Tongue

3: Cartilage (esophagus, to be precise)

4: Heart

5: Liver

6: Intestines

7: More and different intestines

8: Diaphragm

9: Stomach

10: More stomach

11: Stuff around the intestines that isn’t intestines

12: Large intestine

13: Uterus (okay, I can no longer stifle the inner screaming)

14: Rectum (inner screaming X2)

15: Pigs feet

On second thought, perhaps a nice hind haunch of tofu…

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Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

14 thoughts on “Wait, Seriously, You Can Eat That?! Leave a comment

    • I eat pork all the time, and it had ME shuddering! To be fair, I’ve actually eaten some of the things on that list, prepared in Japanese ways, and they were not un-tasty. It’s the texture that kills me.

      • A doctor told me not to eat pork after having a horrid gall bladder attack. Texture of meats, like calamari were some that got left on plates or fed to my dog. So I understand how that can be a turn off. Seeing that sign, though, as a spoiled American, would send me running.

  1. My bravery with pig parts goes in direct proportion to the amount of alcohol I’ve consumed, but there isn’t enough booze in the world to make me eat pig rectum.

  2. re: #14, check out the segment of This American Life in which they discuss pig rectum sold under the guise of calamari. The episode is called Doppelgangers, iirc.

  3. There is a saying in Spain that could be translated roughly as “You can use even the walking from the pig.” (Del cerdo hasta los andares).

    Here you can eat the ears, brains, testicles, etc. But I have to say the Japs and their rectum/uterus seems pretty disgusting.

    • “You can even use the walking from the pig”! I love that!

      And it’s weird – when I didn’t KNOW I was eating things like intestines and cartilage and testicles, they weren’t too bad. It’s KNOWING that’s awful. I’m sure the rectums and uteruses are carefully cleaned, just like the intestines, but…!

  4. 100 years ago everyone ate like this! Before all this is over we shall all dine on pigs rectum and be happy about it (progressive type might want to watch the famous Four Yorkshiremen sketch by Monty Python to cool down). Great find Jonelle, I have to go visit there sometime soon! It will be my first non-polish stomach soup!

    • And your Japanese is so good, you can probably understand the difference between the many types of intestines on offer! I have to admit, the times I’ve had Japanese food made from scary animal parts, it has been very tasty. Sometimes the texture is a little challenging, though. I admire your ability to appreciate, even knowing what it is!

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