Foreign food is relatively accessible in Japan, certainly more so than in Seoul (although that was five years ago now, and we've even seen Fukuoka become more international in that time, so who knows what you can get in Seoul these days?) What you can't get can often be mailed by collaborators back home, which is the source of my precious brownie mix, still unavailable here. (I saw reduced fat brownie mix at the Kaldi Coffee Farm at the mall... so close, and yet, so far.)
Meat, however, remains difficult. Most is too perishable to ship, and stores here typically don't stock "foreign" meats like turkey. Even non-perishables are severely restricted by international shipping and quarantine laws. I once had a care package from my mother impounded after customs discovered jerky inside. This being Japan, they were happy to remove the jerky and send the rest along, which was nice for the brownie mix but did nothing to assuage my jerky craving.
We love jerky, Justin and I. When we go home, we drive back and forth to visit relatives and usually keep a bag of jerky in the car for snacks. You can find beef jerky here, but not the holy grail of jerky. the mighty bison jerky. Or buffalo jerky, if you aren't really fussy about terminology.
My brilliant mother contacted the post office and some shipping folks and found out that jerky would be exportable to Japan provided that it was shipped directly from a licensed manufacturer, as opposed to from a consumer who bought it in the store. Which led her to the good people at Climax Jerky, a specialty jerky producer in Colorado. They have everything from beef to buffalo to salmon, in flavors like hickory, lemon pepper, and teriyaki. (Contrary to what you might think, bringing teriyaki bison jerky to Japan is not like bringing coals to Newcastle. It's more like bringing Tex-Mex to Mexico).
Mom called. Brooke said, "I think we can do it." They did.
|I am too lazy to rotate this. Please note hand-signed thank you note.|
The other downside is that the arrival date is not predictable. Based on package stamps, I can tell that Climax sent it out within 24 hours of my mother's order, so the delay is on the post office and customs side. I don't hold Climax responsible. The first time my mom sent it, it took about 6 weeks to arrive. However, this time, it came in just over 2 weeks. Maybe that's the result of the Fukuoka customs office being familiar with it the second time around. Still, it did get here both times, and it's not like jerky spoils.
Overall, ordering from Climax Jerky gets two big expat thumbs up!