40. Octopus Ice Cream

June 11, 2008

It is on this melancholic note that Culinary Abortions from Japan must come to a sudden, dire end.

Readers will be saddened, or perhaps relieved, but they will not be surprised–for there is no greater offense than to sully the palatial easel of ice cream with octopus ejecta.

The fact that there is a market for this pure abortion is more depressing than CROCS brand shoes, Japan’s immigration policy, or an afternoon of watching synchronized swimming.

But these comparisons aside, the writer, although not abandoning the pen, must for obvious reasons pictured above, pursue voluntary deportation.

As a final note, thank you for your continued support and interest in Culinary Abortions. Such a fine readership as you has given me hope for the kitchens of tomorrow and the betterment of today. Together, we can stop these gustatory injustices from invading our homes and communities. May you now take guard against these very insults in your day-to-day life.

And please do not let these posts deter you from visiting Japan; it is a country filled with honest people and with something amusing (as you can see) for almost everyone. Just remember– if you do visit, brown-bag your lunches and vehemently avoid any store called

  • Lawson’s
  • Family Mart
  • 7-11



39. The Miso Soup Bomb

June 11, 2008

We’ve already discussed how some treasures in life cannot be captured.

But this is a new level of debauchery. Miso Soup, one of Japan’s greatest culinary merits, is now reduced to a conglomeration of dehydrated chunks trapped within a cave of thinly-walled wafer. The wafer quickly (i.e. one minute) “explodes” in hot water, realeasing its contents into what then becomes an approximation of miso soup. However, by the time the tofu is rehydrated the broth has turned luke-warm, leading to an overall abortion of timing…

…this is beginning to sound like the time you slept with that co-worker two cubicles down.

It isn’t hard to make good Miso Soup. If you have a pot, miso, and a millimetre of tofu, you can do it. Oh, you’ll also have to stir for the duration of one TV commercial, which may be too much for some. Enter the bomb.


38. The Marshmallow Parfait

June 9, 2008

This is just one example of how the Japanese gourmandize ball-park favourites and convert them into something slightly more honourable than Big League Chew.

Yet, this particular recipe is rather byzantine and requires a lot of prep time. Luckily, an incubus imparted it to me last night at 3am. Please follow it, as it will quickly increase your circle of friends.


The Marshmallow Parfait


1. 4 feminine-coloured marshmallows

2. 1 cup butter or I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter! Spread.

3. One glass imprinted with vogue yet meaningless French sentences. (preferably written in Monotype Corsiva, font size 16).


1. Eject butter into 8oz. glass until nearly full. Wipe grease smears evenly from rim of glass.

2. Dump on four feminine-coloured marshmallows, preferably of the cuboid variety (the cylindrical “barrel-shaped” marshmallows of The West may work in an emergency).

3. Garnish your forehead with 4oz. fake tears as if to portray the illusion of sweat and/or labour. Emerge from the kitchen in with an elliptical, debonair smile.

4. Serve with an insulin shot and/or Melba Toast.


37. The Convenience Store Hamburger

June 7, 2008

“HYOGO — Police on Tuesday said that a 19-year-old man was taken to hospital on Sunday night after he swallowed a 1-cm fish hook inside a hamburger that his mother bought for him at a FamilyMart convenience store in Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture.

According to police, the man’s mother bought the “tartar burger” around 4 p.m. and heated it up for her son that night. He complained of a severe stomach ache around 8 p.m. and was taken to hospital. An X-ray revealed the hook inside his stomach.

Police said a second hook was found inside the burger’s wrapping paper and believe they may have been deliberately placed in the burger.”

Thanks to Japan Today for this important newsflash. There are no words left unsaid.


36. The Bifurcated Octopus

June 5, 2008

In addition to buying vending machine takoyaki, you can now buy a fully bifurcated octopus for roughly $20 US.

The benefits of purchasing a mid-sagittal plane cut of octopus are myriad: this option gives you a good amount of tentacles and promotes a feeling of conviviality, as if you are buying a pet or a friend.

The Bifurcated Octopus is also superior to pre-packaged tentacles sold in vending machines; it has not been cross-contaminated with other vending machine favourites, such as magnum-free condoms or used underwear.

The only caveat is this. Despite the simulacrum of life you are seeing here, this product is dead. You cannot go home and put it in a tank or name it Joe. Your only option is to eat it with a palliative mayonnaise or five pounds of pancake batter.

Sadly, the transverse-plane cut was not available. We must wait in silence for the day that octopus is sold as an intact head or a sequence of arms.


35. Packet Pasta

June 3, 2008

This is not a feminine hygiene product. This is an individually-wrapped single serving of pasta.

We can only guess that this product was designed with the bachelor in mind. Were it never invented, think of all the daily mishaps and/or awkward conversations that would ensue.

Take, for example, the case of the 34 year-old Manhattan tax attorney who must wake his mother for cooking advice at 4am.


Mr. Tax: Mother. I have a question.

Mom: Who?

Mr. Tax: I have company for dinner tonight and I need some solid advice on pasta serving sizes.

Mom: What?

Mr. Tax: This is serious, Mother. I’m trying to attract a mate, uh a client.

Mom: Where?

Mr. Tax: Mom! Just tell me how much goddamn pasta I need to boil for two individuals.

Mom: Aww, hun. Didn’t you get those serving stencils I put in your Santa’s sock last x-mas? You know, the ones tha…

Mr. Tax: No! Those were for spaghetti! I am making shells tonight! To accompany a nice tinned cheese sauce I found on sale at Rexall’s.

Mom: Who?

Mr. Tax: Listen! Must you fail to instruct your oldest son on the cornerstones of daily living?!

Mom: When?

Mr. Tax: Fuck it. I’ll get Delissio.


Some may have a soft spot for Mr. Tax and his efforts. Nonetheless, we can only imagine the failed nuptials resulting from this tragedy of knowledge. If only Mr. Tax lived in Japan and not America, Packet Pasta could have saved the day.

But with our continual support and fidelity toward this product, it may one day reach into the heart of America, Europe, and other fine destinations.


34. Ice Cream Ramen

June 2, 2008

What you are seeing here is not a mirage. These are actually two full-fledged ice cream cones dumped in a sewer of pork clippings and noodle detritus.

Only two egg halves swell from the shadows of the sludge as sole lifeboats for the otherwise listless and vulnerable cones. But it appears the cones have surrendered; they cling not to the oval vessels of hope but lie prostrate within the wreckage.

As a final salute to life, each cone heeds toward the other, exchanging one last kiss before it is lost, indefinitely, in a pool of tepid broth. To see each other deliquescing in the unnatural heat of soup is perhaps the cruelest farewell, but one tinged with an ironic romance. However, the last tenderness is lost when the cones grow unrecognizable: swept by a wave of seaweed and other ramen offal, the light seizes– the connection fades.

And now the reader must dry his or her eye, realizing the sadness herewithin, the scorched flames of love and life. But most of all the sadness of Japanese cuisine, which is finally approaching the zenith of absurd.

We can only thank Japan it Up! another JAPAN blog, for drawing our attention to this tragedy. For unknown reasons, this restaurant has either gone out of business or shrunk its sign to an illegible size almost as if to deter customers. Japan it Up’s careful documentary of this culinary gunshot wound to the head may be the only one left remaining.


33. Dog Pocky

May 31, 2008

The astute reader will immediately notice something wrong with this picture.

While the juxtaposition of these two boxes seems like little to meet the eye, a closer, more incisive view, reveals the truth: pocky for dogs.

We are already are familiar with the ubiquitous pocky of Japan: an over-rated cylinder of pretzel lightly veiled in cocoa-flavoured wax.

But few are aware of Dog Pocky–an imitation of mediocrity catered to the canine population. One noticeable exception is that Dog Pocky is coated in carob instead of cocoa-flavoured wax. This cuts down on calories and contributes to the overall misery of the dog. Unfortunately, the “rosemary” flavoured pretzel compliments “carob” like a fish compliments a bicycle.

And though I cannot speak for the canine population (yet, anyway) I can sense their alarm at this putrefaction. I had to sample a bite for posterity and the result was unconscionable. No dog, not even the toy poodle, should be subjected to this incongruous, plagiaristic misfortune.


32. Melon Crunky

May 27, 2008

Melon Crunky is an interesting study in etymology.

Who named this dereliction, and what self-destructive outcome did he or she have in mind?

Such a name could only be derived from the following word combinations (in order of probability):

a) Crunky = Crappy + Junk

b) Crunky = Junky + Crap

c) Crunky = Crappy + Yuck

d) Crunky = Cooky + Crunch (the most harrowing of all, considering this “chocolate bar” is as crunchy as an emollient for severely dry skin.)

Yet even if we unwravel the twisted philology behind Melon Crunky, we still must ask how melon chocolate evolved as desired taste or even a preconceived thought. Melon has always been the Ford Excursion of fruit, but it has now creeped into an otherwise endurable chocolate, staining it a colour not unlike robin’s-egg blue and making it unfit for even the most provincial palate.


31. Vegetable Granola

May 26, 2008

To Westerners, finding a box (or even a ziplock bag) of cereal in Japan is equivalent to winning the lottery, celebrating the birth of a first child, or paying off that third mortgage.

But the joy quickly deflates when vegetables enter the picture.

Vegetables are not a morning food. This is why they are never included in a buffet-style breakfast, unless you count the odd cubed potato or some emaciated green meant to accompany to some fried egg.

Vegetables are hardly even a brunch food, for the earliest time one can eat salad is–unarguably–noon.

It is almost as if the human body is designed to keep out vegetables from 12:01am-11:59am daily. This is because it needs time to hose down the darkened streets of the jejunum, where the previous night’s veggies loiter aimlessly, unwanted.

Ingestion of vegetables during proscribed times is likely attributable to chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia or adult-onset diabetes.

And even if it were wise to eat dessicated peas at 9:34am, it would not be for nutrition. As the student of elementary-school chemistry knows, vitamin C is water-soluble and therefore is rendered inutile in a dried tomato flake. This is especially true if the flake is drowned within a volatile sea of sweetened coconut and oats.

There is no further comment.