Well the time has come! Finally after three years of on again off again plans to go back to Japan, I'm flying out to Tokyo on Friday! Very excited.
I've been to Japan twice before, on tour with my old band. I really love it there, the people are so nice, everything looks amazing, the packaging for everything is super cute, the streets feel safe even at night...
My biggest and basically only worry when I'm there is finding vegetarian food. Most people, in Tokyo at least have a fairly good understanding of English, so you don't run in to too many problems. "Vegetarian" however is not really understood, nor is the concept of not eating any animal parts. Something may be a vegetable dish, but cooked in fish or pork stock, a Japanese person might tell you this is a "vegetarian" dish without understanding that the stock matters.
A few days ago I received a parcel from a Japanese friend, it was a great book with lots of pictures and diagrams with Japanese and English captions. Cute cartoons obviously, and all the necessary info you might need to get yourself out of any jam... you can always point at the pictures!
My friend also included a hand written note that I can carry with me, it has three essential questions/statements in English and Japanese that I can show at a restaurant, should any confusion arrise. Having this sheet has totally put my mind at ease and I'm sure it will be very helpful!
I've put a high-res printable version below so that if you happen to find yourself a veggie in Japan, you can use it too! I hope this blog post reaches people searching for help finding vegetarian food over there! Please let me know if you find it helpful.