Here are the contents of my dirty, empty fridge. This report gave me the excuse to throw out several items including some really stinky fish and really old blue cheese. Notice, first and foremost, how SMALL Japanese fridges are (especially for people living in Tokyo, there is literally no space in our tiny apartments) compared to previous reports in Spain and the US. All lists go clockwise from top left item (unless otherwise noted).

OK, let's start with the bottom of my fridge, the "produce." Apples, bananas, an onion and I think there's a potato in there somewhere. They wrap everything. They seem to like to pack things in bunches, so if you want one carrot, tough luck, if that day the carrots are bagged in pairs. In the front of the produce bin are a 3-pack of natto and a block of Hokkaido butter.

Here's the door. Kewpie mayonnaise (small size 200 grams), moromiso in a ziplock bag, nama-wasabi, packs of seaweed I buy from Tsukiji, tare (general term in Japanese cuisine for dipping sauces), Mexican hot sauce (this is how you know I am from California), toubanjyan (Chinese chili bean paste), goma-shiso (sesame seed-perrila) salad dressing.

Here's the bottom of the door: Brita water pitcher, gomadare (creamy sesame seed) dressing, soba tsuyu (for cold soba noodles), iwanori (seaweed rice condiment), umeboshi (sour plum condiment) and fukujinzuke (curry rice pickle condiment).

OK, we'll go from left to right here, in the back with an orange label is OLD soba tsuyu (thrown out after I wrote this, the newer stuff is in the photo above this one), milk to make my yogurt, yogurt cultures in the tupperware, to the right of the milk is udon tsuyu, my dear mama sent me Parmesan cheese from Trader Joe's (notice how colossal it looks in a Japanese fridge), goma (sesame seeds) I transferred into a Nescafe instant coffee glass container, and the tin thing has cut-up seaweed (from the door) in it for sprinkling on soba.

Again, clockwise from top left: yogurt in another Nescafe glass container (I eat my homemade yogurt everyday, can't ever go back to store bought), kiwis, nukazuke (fermented vegetables in rice bran), left over sesame seeds that didn't fit in the Nescafe glass container in the photo above), some root rice condiment my aunt gave me last week (dark brown stuff in tupperware, I don't know the name of the vegetable) and some REALLY known-to-be stinky fish in a zip-lock bag in a tupperware called kusaya (so happy there's actually a Wikipedia entry on it!) - it smells like horse shit, seriously).

Top two items on the left were shown in the photo above, so I will go from the silver packet containing ochazuke furikake. Again moving clockwise are two open tupperwares containing tsukudani from Tsukiji and above that is some really OLD blue cheese (promptly thrown away).

Here's the rest of the top of the fridge. The second row was shot above when I moved it out all onto the floor, so let's concern ourselves with the top row only. Left to right: pesto sauce, behind in the plastic bag is katsuobushi I buy in bulk from Tsukiji, Philidelphia cream cheese, under it are shibazuke pickles (tsukemono) in a tupperware, between the pesto and shibazuke is a kannten azuku bean dessert from my grandma that probably needs to be thrown out, the red can contains Wonda coffee, next to that is a glass bottle containing sundried tomatoes and to the very right is some Kewpie brand dijon mustard.

So there you go, there's my janky life EXPOSED. Kayoko told me not to dare clean or throw out anything for this report.

*What's in your fridge? Send pics to Check out all the Fridgin' Out posts here. Come back every Friday to see all the scary shit we find in these dungeons of moldy condiments.

Column: Fridgin Out


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