I came across an article on (you guessed it) Japanese food pairings today at the Japan Today website, which also linked it to Rocketnews24.com where it's called "Why you should eat wasabi with your sushi-- the secrets behind 10 Japanese food pairings." This is something I've never thought about, but Casey Baseel has the scoop and it's interesting and informative reading.
Now I don't eat all of these things, but I do eat most of them. Right at the top of the list is one of my favorite Japanese dishes. Wasabi has been the bane of my sushi eating life for approximately most of it, but over the past three or four years I've come to appreciate and enjoy the feeling of lit matches being shoved into my nostrils from the inside via my nasal cavities deep within my skull. I never considered there might be a practical reason for linking pleasure and pain, but apparently there is.
The tip on seaweed in miso soup is helpful, because I love miso soup and eat it as often as I can, which, in Japan, is very often. It's nice to know the role radish paste plays in its match with saury, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that's also why it's attached to other kinds of fish and meat as well. We eat a lot of unagi in Hamamatsu, but ours tends to have some kind of sweet barbecue-type sauce on it, so I'm not sure if the info in this article applies in my locality. Maybe.
Finally, and most importantly, the link between cabbage and pork cutlets. When I eat a certain chicken dish at a certain family restaurant (it will probably be my lunch today), it comes on a bed of grilled cabbage. And when we go to Kushitomo, the restaurant downtown where you can order a non-stop meal of various fried meats and vegetables on thin wooden sticks (in other words, heaven on earth), the main event comes with a bowl of raw cabbage leaves as an opener. I always thought this was so you could say you had at least a little roughage with your mound of fried animal flesh, but now I understand the true reason.
Vitamin U, huh?
You might want to avoid the comments on the Japan Today version, or else pair your reading of them with a reading of Calvin and Hobbes or something similarly soothing.