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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:02 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Northern California, USA
If you have traveled to Japan, I NEED YOUR HELP!!!

My daughters, ages 11 and 13, are begging us to take them to Japan over next Spring break. They are totally fascinated with Japanese culture and very much want to go to Tokyo. We would love to comply, but...

They are both allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and most legumes, including soy. (They can eat soy sauce and teriyaki sauce, but nothing that contains large amounts of soy protein -- so no tofu, no miso, or anything containing actual soy beans). Of course they both carry Epi-pens.

Neither of them has ever had a life-threatening reaction. My older daughter has "merely" vomited from peanuts (she hasn't had them since age 3). Her sister has never had a reaction, but accidently got exposed to peanuts at age 5, and when tested later, was found to be just as allergic as her older sister.

Soy "merely" makes their throats itch. We avoid it as often as possible. But for whatever reason, soy sauces, soy lecithin, and soybean oil don't bother them at all. I think that it's because these products don't contain the protein -- or not enough protein to cause a reaction...Thankfully!

We eat Japanese food here at home (Northern California) all the time. My kids love sushi, tempura, etc.. The restaurants we frequent understand about their allergies and it has never been a problem.

OK, now that you know the background... even though neither of them has ever had a life-threatening reaction, I am still terrified to take them there for the following reasons:


1. Even if we get a card translated into Japanese stating their food allergies, I'm afraid that people won't fully understand. In a country rife with soy products, how can we make them understand that they can eat absolutely no tofu, soybeans, or anything marinated or cooked with miso?

2. In their culture, I think they are very concerned about "saving face". I'm concerned that they might say that the food is OK even if it isn't -- so that they don't look bad.

3. I know that peanuts are not used very much in Japan, but here in the US, they sometimes put them on salads. Do they do that in Japan? Do they ever cook with peanut oil?

4. Are teriyaki sauce and other sauces made differently in Japan? I know, it's a stupid question but I'm not sure if the "authentic" sauce would be different than the imported stuff we get here.

5. My husband has been to Tokyo on vacation and assures me that it will be OK. There are lots of western restaurants in Tokyo. The thing is, my kids hate fast food and wouldn't want to go to Mc D's or Burger King. And even if they did, how could I be assured that they don't put tofu or soy seasoning in their versions of the burgers or etc?

I would really appreciate help from people at this message board. My kids and husband are pressuring me about this trip. I personally would love to go to Tokyo (I have been all over the world and love to travel). But I'm terrified for my kids. My husband thinks I'm over-reacting.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 3:05 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:21 pm
Posts: 78
Location: Connecticut, USA
Hi!

In case you didn't see this other thread...

http://www.allergicliving.com/forum/vie ... php?t=2095


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 3:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:02 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Northern California, USA
Yes, I did see that post thank you.

My situation is a little different because of my kids' additional soy allergy. That's why I started a new thread. But I do would like to hear from anyone with a peanut or nut allergy who has traveled in Japan, especially to Tokyo.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 4:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:37 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Ottawa
I have been to Japan and have a daughter with multiple food allergies, but she was not with me. Although she has traveled with me to Europe, the Caribbean and Morocco.

It may be hard, but I suggest trying to find a hotel with a kitchen in Tokyo so you can cook your own food for at least some meals and reduce the number of times you have to eat out.

I think it is important to get an allergy card with the allergies written on it and ensure it stresses that they are life-threatening. If you have Japanese speaking friends that would be a big help to have with you at the restaurants. I find it easier to eat at smaller restaurants where you can speak directly to the person preparing your food rather than through a waiter. Stick to plain meat or rice and bring your own soy sauce if you need a special brand. I suspect some restaurants do cook with peanut oil so ask.

Bring any special foods you need from home for the plane ride and for the trip, we pack a suitcase of dry goods for every trip including cereal, pasta, bread, etc. If you are going more than 1 week, freeze some bread when you get there so it will last. Remember, you can't carry on liquids more than 100 ml so you need to check them if you bring them.

Take at least 4 epipens with you.

Find out where the hospitals are in Japan and the emergency number (i believe its 119). Take or rent a GSM cellphone so you can call in the case of an emergency.

If you have access to Allergic Living magazine, check out my article in the new winter issue on travelling with anaphylaxis.

Scott

_________________
9 yr old daughter - no allergies
7 yr old daughter - allergic to peanuts, nuts, sesame, kiwi, soy


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