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Study Abroad - From WASEDA to the world -

From Waseda to Greece

Ms. Tomoko Fukasawa
Master Program (completed March, 2008) of the Graduate School of Sports Sciences

Questionnaire in Greece

Writer of this article (2nd from left) with the staff of Elounda Beach

I visited Greece for the 8th time in September of 2007. My relationship with Greece began in 1999, when I received an invitation from the government to study Greek cuisine. Since then, the number of my acquaintances in Greece has increased, including friends as well as government officials. I was given the opportunity to assist in "Culinary Events" held by the Greek government in Japan. The purpose of my most recent trip was to conduct a questionnaire to assess the condition of the "Mediterranean Diet", which was the theme of my Master's thesis.

What is "Mediterranean Diet"?

Horiatiki (Greek for "country salad"), a staple cuisine in Greece

In the traditional, simple lifestyle of southern Italy, Greece, and especially the island of Crete, olive oil, grains, bean, vegetable, fruits, nuts, cheese, and yogurt are eaten every day. Eggs, fish, poultry, and sweets are eaten a few times a week, red meat a few times a month, and the equivalent of two glasses of wine is drunk with every meal. In these regions, it is said that physical activity relating to everyday lifestyle is very important. In 1960, these regions had an occurrence rate of cardiac disease and cancer that was lower than the rates of Europe and America, and the average life expectancy was the highest in the world. As a result, epidemiological research was implemented and proposed by Dr. Ansel Keys (a physiologist and expert in communal health/hygiene).

Questionnaire at a Resort Hotel!

The areas which I visited on the island of Crete were the eastern town of Sitia, Elounda Beach, in the mid-eastern town of Elounda, and the western town of Chania. Elounda Beach is a wonderful resort where the world's VIPs and wealthy persons from oil-rich Arab countries and Russia visit for 1 or 2 month vacations. This year, dining at the resort hotel wants to try a summer menu featuring Japanese cuisine, and I was invited to provide instructions to the chefs. Thanks to cooperation from hotel management, I was able to obtain answers to my questionnaire from hotel employees. Sitia and Chania produce the finest olive oil. The oldest olive tree in the world, said to be 3,000 years old, exists in Chania. This tree seems to be a living fossil. I also visited the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania, which develops new products using grapes and olives which are grown on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. I stayed in a dormitory at the institute, and the research staff answered my questionnaire. The people of Greece are friendly and openhearted. During my stay on the island of Crete, I met many wonderful people, enjoyed the outstanding, traditional cuisine of Crete, and made a success of my questionnaire thanks to the cooperation of many people.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)