don’t we eat bent cucumbers?” (Sept. 17) is a fantastic article. Many years ago, when I lived in Japan, I was always buying the “cheap” baskets of fruit and veggies sitting on the ground and not the vendor’s table. I spoke pretty good Japanese, but despite repeated questioning, I never got a straight answer about why such perfectly lovely produce was selling for sometimes less than half the price. Thousands of miles away and many years later, I have finally learned the reason.

Thankfully, I was brought up to smell and taste food and not to judge it or shop for it with my eyes. While I understand the cultural roots of perfection and sameness in Japan, what about the concepts of wabi/sabi (elegant beauty in simplicity)? I know that no one wants old or spoiled produce, but something uniquely formed, tanned or mottled by the soil should be considered a thing of precious beauty, no?!

I know this article will be ignored by the majority of Japanese readers, but maybe all those expats living in Japan will buy the funny-looking veggies without all the polluting plastic wrap and foam trays, and little by little the trend will be toward less waste.

karen keane