Archive for April, 2008

h1

15. Doritos “Pizza”

April 28, 2008

This concept is rich: three bags of chips in a uni-wrapper so large it conveys the sense of a hot Italian meal. What you do receive is a mélange of unpopular dorito flavours acting as an unconvincing surrogate for pizza.

The pen pictured here is for size reference. One really does get a bag (or box?) the size of a pizza. This makes for a transportation hassle–not to mention embarrassment–as all the world will see you going home with a tray of chips lying prostrate in your outstretched arms.

Your best bet to avoid humiliation is to wear shades and take a cab home.

And when you arrive, you will realize that what you are eating tastes nothing like pizza. That is if you make it through all three flavours; most will stop at Tomato Basil. The “Seafood” and much revered “Potato Mayonnaise” will be left uneaten. Any appeal “Potato Mayonnaise” ever had as a pizza topping is rendered fully impotent by a dorito crust.

At least the creators succeeded in naming their product. Oh, wait. Pizza La. Shouldn’t it be La Pizza? Is this an abortion of Italian as well? Of course, there is also the motto Pizza-La Made! to ponder. The Pizza made? By La? from Italy?

Too many questions remain unanswered.

h1

14. Sekushii Maguro

April 27, 2008

At least once while living in Japan, you will order tuna, a.k.a maguro.

And when you do, your appetite for it (or for any food) will hit a large brick wall, never to be revived.

But rest assured that it is not just your imagination declamating the wasabi with an association unfit to mention here.

It is the Japanese way. And it is especially common in small towns, where locals use cucumbers to channel their repressed sexuality.

I will not attempt a detailed deconstruction of this meal, as it still invokes emesis. It is only important to consider its entire aesthetic appeal, from the carefully peeled cucumber cutis to the artless placement of the seaweed “bedding.”

h1

13. Creap

April 25, 2008

This image is just depressing: a can of Creap perched on a Commodore 64 in a hospital-green room bleached by a cast of afternoon clouds.

But that aside, let’s focus on the Creap. Most of us already have one too many Creaps in our lives; the last thing we need is another one sidling in via our coffee.

We must say “coffee” under the assumption that Creap is a coffee whitener. This remains debatable, and no one has actually verified its purpose or whether it is safe for human consumption.

All we know is that it is labelled as a “creamy powder,” a contradictory and overzealous claim given that powder connotes “dry” and therefore cannot be “creamy,” which connotes “wet.”

But elementary-school chemistry aside, we must hand it to Japan for creating villainous additions to otherwise benign coffees.

Please refer to post #4 for more evidence.

h1

12. Almond and Fish

April 24, 2008

Has there ever been a sweeter marriage than that of Almond and Fish?

The answer is no–and this is why Japan, with all its scrupulosity, has brought them together at last.

This isn’t such a bad idea. Think of the age-old adage “opposites attract”. This product likely pulls in more sales than “Almond and Almond,” or “Fish and Fish.” We appreciate diversity in our snacks as in our relationships: nothing is more depressing than a small-town nephrologist married to a small-town urologist, or alternatively, a red-haired librarian courting a red-haired information scientist.

Yet, there must be a valley of compromise between the hills of trite homogeneity and the hills of radical incongruity.

The slivered almond and emaciated sardine is not this compromise: one is a gilled ocean weed originating from the misfit Island of Sardinia; the other, a crenullated seed native to the Middle East. We don’t need a marriage counsellor to realize this union has four to six months at best.

Until then, Almond and Fish continues to be available in stores. While their marriage remains controversial, they may rally for the rights to a civil union or domestic partnership. Only time will tell.

h1

11. The Individually Wrapped Cashew

April 21, 2008

This is an abortion of sustainability, to say the least.

One would hope that the pearl within the wrapper would somehow trump its cashew colleagues–but rest assured this is an ordinary nut: prosaic, unadorned, banal.

Aside from a light gown of salt, it rests naked within its deplorable womb of plastic.

A saving grace is that the single portion offers calorie control. Although, if your cashew problems are such that you can only allow yourself one at a time, you may need more than a plastic sheath to control your will.

Please stay tuned for Japan’s next debut, the cashew embedded in a block of solid iron.

h1

10. Calpis

April 20, 2008

The problems with Calpis are myriad. To begin, it makes a hypocrite out of an otherwise decent individual.

It is not vogue to say you like Calpis–yet, you will secretly like this drink; you will covet it like a squirrel covets a nut. The fact that it combines the taste of 7-Up with the consistency of buttermilk and is named after bovine urine will do nothing to change this.

So while shunning it in public, you will return to your apartment to drink it in subterfuge–fully aware of your culinary indiscretion.

Made arguably of fermented milk, chalk, glucose, and technetium 99m, there is nothing appreciable in this drink. Whether it be Calpis peach, Calpis grape, or the most formidable–Calpis water (pictured here) the results are the same.

As one consumer puts it

“It’s like the inventor of that little number had unauthorized access to my wildest nightmares.”1

Nonetheless, you will drink it. Especially on a dark, still evening, while writing a blog about its failures. Then you will beat yourself up over it for weeks, if not years, to follow.

1. R. Wong. Calpis: Your Bubble Tea is Not Benign. 2008. Facebook Press. Ontario, Canada: v 6, 55-98

h1

9. No Time

April 17, 2008

North America already has cavity-fighting gum, but now Japan has gone a step further by advocating gum as a post-modern toothbrush.

And while everyone has made an occational oral faux pas (i.e. substituting toothpaste for carcinogenic breath strips or a discounted pear), No Time encourages this as a weekly regime: each pack contains seven “chunks.” Over time, once glistening enamel learns to hide its fuzzy face behind the sordid shield of gum.

The only way out is to realize that time is money

  • If you have time to earn the 100 yen that it costs for No Time, you have time to brush your teeth.

Tangentially…

  • If you have time to buy No Time, you have time to brush your teeth.
  • If you have time for an internal monolouge that leads to the conclusion that No Time is not oral rigamarole, you have time to brush your teeth.

*Hygiene is not a stick (or chunk) that you can chew*