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"Flavours Without Borders" - Japan Association for Refugees


© Japan Association for Refugees

© Japan Association for Refugees

Home cooking that invokes somebody to recall where they were born and raised. Recipes that, in the instant they are tasted, flow forth memories of the mothers who cooked them, and induce recollections of meals enjoyed while surrounded by family. This month's One Point introduces "Flavours Without Borders," a home recipe cookbook in which refugees taking refuge in Japan convey the flavours of their hometowns.

Refugees are individuals whom, when confronted with religious, nationalist, racist or political persecution, etc., are forced to flee their countries of origin in order to protect their own lives. Some readers might feel that such topics represent a world very distant from their own, however, in recent years in this country as well; more than 2,000 refugees have arrived annually in Japan. Then again, what awaits these arrivals is a harsh reality… They are confronted by a long uphill struggle, while not understanding the Japanese language and with nobody else to rely on, they must obtain refugee status, and it takes a long time until they can lead independent lives.

"Cucumber and Yogurt Salad" (P15) This recipe was submitted by a woman currently applying for refugee status, she feels preparing Kurdish cuisine always lifts her spirits. © Japan Association for Refugees

"Cucumber and Yogurt Salad" (P15)
This recipe was submitted by a woman currently applying for refugee status,
she feels preparing Kurdish cuisine always
lifts her spirits.
© Japan Association for Refugees

There are more than 10,000 refugees currently living in Japan. In the hope that more people grasp this situation, the Japan Association for Refugees, an authorized non-profit organization (NPO) which supports refugees who have fled to Japan, published this recipe cookbook in February of 2013. This cookbook collects together some 45 recipes from 15 refugees whose countries and regions of origin encompass Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It also includes episodes related to the cuisine, etc., and introduces the voices of those refugees who cooperated in preparing the recipes.

The proceeds of cookbook sales will be used for activities that support refugees living in Japan. Furthermore, in that the cookbook is written in both Japanese and English, it can be recommended to foreign friends as well. While reading or preparing the recipes the cookbook contains, why not spare a thought for those refugees who have come to Japan? Also please fully enjoy the flavours of the recipes in the cookbook, such being filled with the aspirations of the refugees.