By thomas | September 25, 2007
I love cheese. I’d eat it everyday if I could. Back home, cheese was something I ate often. Not only did I eat it often, but the local grocery stores had a huge selection of different cheeses for me to devour. When I came to Japan, I found the situation to be quite different. Full of optimism, I charged into the neighborhood grocery store, hungry for cheese. Moments later I stumbled out, bewildered, my mind wrestling with the big question…
Where’s the cheese?
The average Japanese grocery store has about four kinds of cheese available: parmesan cheese, cream cheese, Camembert cheese and “processed” cheese. Some of the bigger stores like Jusco have a slightly larger selection, where you might find cheddar, mozzerella or pepperjack. Import food stores are also a solution. If you live in an urban area, chances are you will have a large import food store that offers a wide selection of foreign cheeses (and beer!).
If you don’t have a good import food store near you, or you want a still larger selection of cheese, or you simply don’t want to take the trouble to get up and go to the store, don’t panic. Why not have cheese delivered directly to your door?
Order-cheese.com is a service that does just that. They have a large selection to choose from and they deliver quickly to your home. The price is a little high, but this is Japan. We just have to accept the fact that cheese won’t be cheap here.
The site is in Japanese, but fortunately the cheese categories have English headings. Couple this with your knowledge of katakana and you should be able to find what you’re looking for in no time. To save time, you can use the search box at the top to manually search for a specific cheese. If you don’t know how to write your favorite cheese in katakana, try googling it:
On the left-hand side of order-cheese.com, under the category names, you will find some items labeled “tokubai”. “Tokubai” (特売 [とくばい]) means “sale”. These cheeses are available at a discount price. Just click on the link and you will be taken to a description of the promotion (skip to the bottom for prices). Also, if you are extremely addicted to cheese, you can sign up for their newsletter and they will periodically send you discounts, two-for-one deals and such. To sign up, type your email address into the form at the bottom of the page labeled Mail Magazine (メイルマガジン [a term which incidentally came up in an interesting poll on WhatJapanThinks recently]).
I found out about order-cheese.com a few months ago and I’ve purchased cheese from them on four separate occasions. They deliver fast and fresh, and they have an enormous selection. Payment is flexible – you can pay by credit card, COD or convenience store ticket (my personal choice). Moreover, by using order-cheese.com, you can earn mileage with your Northwest Airlines WorldPerks or JAL Mileage Bank. I recommend trying out their “Variety Sets” in order to sample some cheeses you may not ordinarily buy yourself.
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