An Oven? Oh, you mean a Toaster Oven!

I just want to bake home-made croissants, what's a boy to do?
July 3, 2016, written by The Captain

Woe is me.

Basically, the closest thing you’ll get to a proper oven in Japan is souped up toaster oven.

For those of you who are just visiting Japan on a tourism adventure, this needn’t’ concern you. Enjoy your street food and restaurants.

But for those who are in Japan for a longer period of time and end up getting your own apartment you will have a rude awakening.

Let’s start with what Japan DOES have:

  1. Microwaves
  2. Toaster ovens
  3. Larger toaster ovens… the kind you can fit a single small turkey in

That is it.

There are no full-sized convection ovens (or ‘range ovens’ if you wish), like you would find in the US of A.
Believe me, I looked.

It was Thanksgiving, and I wanted to make a full-on PROPER Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings. Of course you need a proper oven for that kind of task. But all there was available was a toaster oven… so I used that toaster oven, to bake the pie, the turkey, the sides, all one at a time… it was endless. But I digress.

Why don’t they have them?

A good question indeed! Why don’t they have full-sized ovens? Not even the home appliances stores had them! Apparently they just don’t use those.
Or maybe it’s something deeper, maybe they don’t WANT them!

Why the hell would you NOT want an oven range?

Ah!!!! If you are at all familiar with the ‘Japanese Way’ I bet you can figure out why they would not want such an appliance. Go ahead, take a guess, I’ll wait.

Did you guess?

Ok, well, I’m going to tell you my guess. It must be because of the classic Japanese principal of ‘do not waste’ AND ‘only use what you need’ AND, the fact that baking is a minority of a minority of activities. Here is why:

  1. No Baking: The majority of cooking in Japan is done on the stove top, or on a burner.  It is not often that something needs to be ‘baked’. If something did, say the size of a pie, then it would fit perfectly into a souped-up toaster oven.
  2. Use what you need: Since they rarely bake, and if they do, they would only need something of that size, there is no reason to have anything larger than what they need. Therefore a souped-up toaster oven is perfect.
  3. Do not waste: Imagine a Japanese person using a full-sized range oven to heat up his one-plate dinner or left overs. Impossible, never happening. The Japanese hate to waste energy. Additionally, they wouldn’t be able to make enough food to even fit in an oven, to require being heated.

The preferred method of heating food in Japan is to use the microwave, or the toaster oven. And the preferred method of cooking is a gas burner or IR burner.

Interesting Tidbit

An apartment in the US comes with its own fridge and oven range & stove. But in Japan… the apartment is empty. You must go buy your own fridge, and your own little gas/electric/IR burners.

Conclusion

The Japanese don’t want or need it.

So, just accept that all of your baking in Japan will be done in a toaster oven, order pizza on Thanksgiving, curl up in a ball and let the tears roll.

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