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.


30. The Convenience Store Pancake

May 24, 2008

There is nothing “convenient” about The Convenience Store Pancake.

We’ve already seen how Western breakfasts are besmirched by the hands of Japan, but this…

This is equivalent to eating a memory foam pillow but with half the taste. Any flavour this once had is eliminated by a state of anoxia and a Strongman’s helping of sulphur dioxide. Also important–there is no syrup or butter enclosed in this “snack.” You are supposed to eat it in its Paleocene-era form, feigning satisfaction or at least low-level tolerance.

Only your imagination can serve as a palliative agent while eating this Misinterpretation of The West. Think back to more sanguine pancake times–family breakfasts, post-bar brunches, or even that backdoor kegger where a drunk and pimpled nineteen-year-old boy in a legionella-filled kitchen made pancakes for the first time and forgot such ingredients as flour and/or water.

Just do not buy this alimentary betrayal more than once. The depression may never lift.


29. Organized Fruit

May 23, 2008

This is really unfortunate. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is now a fully treatable disease.

But part of the problem is that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), America’s “bible” of psychiatry, still does not view organizing fruit as a part of a larger illness.

Let us read from the DSM’s current definiton of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Compulsions as defined by (1) and (2):

(1) repetitive behaviors (e.g., hand washing, ordering, checking, [organizing fruit]) or mental acts (e.g., praying, counting, [organizing fruit], repeating words silently) that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession [to draw attention away from otherwise unripe cherries], or according to rules that must be applied rigidly [each cherry must form a mere bead in the grand vision of an abacus]

(2) the behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing distress [i.e. consumers realize pulchritude is not a substitution for taste] or preventing some dreaded event [a wanton bunch of berries left recklessly astir]; however, these behaviors or mental acts either are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize [a sour perversity] or prevent [i.e. people of reasonable intelligence realize that they paid $40 US for symmetry] or are clearly excessive [how much labour was squandered through this aimless enterprise?]

Most insensitively, organizing fruit is not listed here. But I have added my own scientific notes in red to justify (rather seamlessly) its inclusion.

It also appears that this blog classifies as a compulsion. Therefore, the cherry farmers of Japan and I will report back to you after a ten month rest cure and an ambitious trial of paxil.


28. The Canadian

May 21, 2008

This is Japan at its most perceptive. It has now perfectly compressed Canada’s national identity into a 4cm sandwich cookie.

Yet despite its polite and inoffensive taste, The Canadian it is not about to be the next major player on the world stage.

It could, however, be the next player on the world rink, as The Canadian has a texture uncannily reminiscent of a hockey puck. Alternatively, some may notice a ligneous consistency to this cookie, which is likely a tribute to Canada’s vast woodlands.

Even cleverer is the maple leaf adorned to the packaging, despite the fact that this is a 100% chocolate cookie and there are zero cocoa trees in Canada. This alludes to Canada’s “confused” ideology whereby citizens aren’t really sure what they stand for but will wittingly dress in a clear plastic sock resembling the national flag. It also speaks to Canada’s “cultural mosaic,” where diversity is concentrated within designated pouches of the nation.

But where The Canadian parallel fails is with price. A single bag of The Canadian[s] is available at the local 100 yen shop. This is a tad unfair given the recent success of the Canadian dollar. One bag should now rest at about 101 yen.

A final failure is the omission of a bear or an American from this careful exhibit. If there are two things Canada is known for internationally, it is these.


27. The Pre-Packaged Soft Serve Cone

May 20, 2008

Japan loves to preserve things. This is why locals add cherry blossoms to everything from ramen (post coming soon) to rice balls in the spring. This is also why, if you move to Japan, you will find yourself living in an uninsullated hospital green apartment from 1821.

But there are some treasures in life that cannot be preserved

  • You cannot pour sunshine into a vial
  • You cannot lock health into a cabinet
  • You cannot buy a one night stand in a box
  • You cannot seal your friends into a tube

And most importantly

  • You cannot desecrate the soft serve cone, Japan’s lynch pin of hope, by trapping it under an hermetic dome of reconstituted plastic

There, it will suffer under a bitter miasma of re-circulated air. It will respond by sprouting a coat of ice crystals and atrophying its cone base until it is actually softer than the alleged “soft” ice cream itself.

For now, stick with the original, freshly dispensed version. You won’t have a problem finding one in Japan. They are more common in this country than are gas stations, garbage cans, or even people.