But. Some. Insane. People. Love these things.
November 19, 2005 8:35 PM   Subscribe

Yongfook: The Japanese food blog (monjayaki, umeboshi, Carrot au Lait)
posted by moonbird (14 comments total)
I've tried a lot of asian foods now that I live in Hawaii and they are available. Some, just.. no. But others, like li hing plums (no translation), spicy iki legs (squid), smoked tako (octopus), and unagi sushi (eel on vinegared rice wrapped in wasabi nori, or seaweed).... mmm!
posted by bairey at 9:53 PM on November 19, 2005

Well written, amusing. Thanks!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:01 PM on November 19, 2005

But I have just realized that the weblog is not exclusively about food, and am now disappointed and wish to beat you desultorily about the neck and shoulders with a cow tongue.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:04 PM on November 19, 2005

Empty verbiage from someone who obviously thinks he's much better than anyone else. And that should make his comments on food what? Authoritative maybe? And he's not afraid to use clichés either.

Go away, loser.
posted by NewBornHippy at 11:46 PM on November 19, 2005

heh, I got into a big JET Programme (Japanese government's language exchange program to import diversity into the schools -- reasonably sharp college grads are given a 3yr contract to "teach", usu. somewhere out in the sticks) partipants' blog habit back in 2003, and Yong Fook in his Kyushu days was always a good read.

Good to see him make it up to the big leagues in Tokyo. Tokyo is a much-recommended experience; like any place, one or two weeks just isn't enough.

Other great blogs of the day were sabine.ca's "Sensei and Sensibility" and The Jet Files. Pretty competent folks showing how it's done.

I believe azrael's Outpost Nine online journal has already been posted here this year. Good reading if you're interested in Japan.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:48 PM on November 19, 2005

Empty verbiage from someone who obviously thinks he's much better than anyone else. And that should make his comments on food what? Authoritative maybe? And he's not afraid to use clichés either.

Go away, loser.

That comment is either a magnificent, ironic piece of self-referential art, or an obnoxious and witless turd-squirt. Either way, NewBornHippy might just make the world a better place by taking his own advice.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:09 AM on November 20, 2005

I want nothing more than to receive a one way ticket to Japan, as their modern culture is just so... stimulating, while their traditional culture is so rich and idyllic. We've got a very traditional Japanese restaurant here in town, and I s'pose that my only problem with the one way ticket fantasy would be what I could possibly eat there. There are only a few menu items that are a sure thing (udon! miso! tempura! anything with tonkatsu sauce!) and I'd need some strong encouragement to go off into deeper, unknown territory.
posted by moonbird at 4:54 AM on November 20, 2005

I'd just about kill for some okonomiyaki right now.

That said, it's been my experience that those who think of Japanese culture as uniformly stimulating, rich, and idyllic can usually be cured of that by going there.

Not that Japan is not a great place--it's just that it has all these associations attached to it so that it picks up an unwarranted amount of emotional significance.

Uh. Yum, udon.
posted by Jeanne at 6:55 AM on November 20, 2005

The reality of living in Tokyo, when I was there in the 1990s, was ... mixed. After the first 4 months I went to Guam to change my visa from tourist to working, and my first visit to a Safeway in 4 months was a religious experience, since back then Japanese stores didn't have any comfort foods or any staples I wanted.

Over the years tho I learned what was the good stuff of Japanese food, Japanese retail has modernized (Walmart and even Costco are making inroads), and I've grown up and appreciate richer tastes.

Onigiri, yakitori, udon, yakisoba, beef/chicken donburi (eg. teriyaki chicken over rice, surprisingly hard to find in find in Tokyo), Japanese cuisine has some good stuff to discover. Plus Japan is so westernized that one can find enough hamburger, pizza, and KFC crap to survive if necessary, except for the breakfast area... I was SO bummed to find that Denny's had NOTHING similar to a Grand Slam when I really really needed it (just god-awful simulacrums of european breakfast fare), and the cold cereal selection in Japan is a sick joke.

But Japan is crowded.... 3x the population of California on ~1/2 the livable land. Building standards generally sucked 1915-1980 (surviving stuff built prior to ~1915 has 'character' at least) so the modern asphalt jungle is often dirty, dingy, seedy, drafty, moldy, and piss-stained.

But the Japanese have been investing shedloads of capital in redevelopment, Tokyo has changed a LOT since 1992, and, while the population as a whole no longer growing and will soon decine, the major cities are still a youth magnet and growing dynamically.

Socially, I thought the kids/young adults were generally 5-10 years behind in social development than US kids are these days. There is still a remnant male-domination old-fart-hierarchy that can be rigidly enforced on people, especially in companies.

One thing the Japanese have DOWN is the modern convenience store. Ironically they bought 7/11 not too long ago, makes sense since they've taken the 7/11 concept to the next level and then some, while our convenience stores are still a dumping ground for foreign capital and rip-off artists.

Japanese convenience stores can thrive in the generally awesome cleanliness, selection, and service since on the whole the entire national retail-sector is a rip-off to begin with...
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:34 AM on November 20, 2005

I started off liking it, but I was put off very quickly by the ethnocentrism (almost racism). Apparantly, compared to Japanese folk, non-Japs are devastatingly sensical. Meh.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:36 AM on November 20, 2005

Japanese retail has modernized (Walmart and even Costco are making inroads)

At this point I'd like to raise an eyebrow, quizzically. Just that. Just the eyebrow.
posted by Grangousier at 9:44 AM on November 20, 2005

That was a fun link. I'm disturbed by the tongue onigiri.

My favorite Japanese food blog is Obachan's Kitchen & Balcony Garden. Her post about her quasi-kaiseki got me hooked.
posted by missmerrymack at 10:38 AM on November 20, 2005

Grangousler: the retail sector in Japan functions as a social security framework for many people. It is horribly inefficient, but these jobs are better than being unemployed I guess, plus minding a store is something most anyone can do in old age, since the delivery folks do all the heavy lifting.

So from the social side, yeah, it sucks, but paying $20 for a bottle of Tide sucks in its own way, too.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:43 AM on November 20, 2005

Japan blogging is incredibly overdone, much to do with that fact that the internet is in love with 'crazy japan'. On closer inspection though (I have been living in Japan now for about 18 months) the Japanese are the least off-the-wall people one could come across. Their crazy-cultural image seems to arise from two main factors:

1. The Japanese know very little about the world beyond Japan. Communal illusions mutate and spread amongst the population like a virus until they has become 'fact' at which point they are never questioned again. Utterly benign small-talk thus ensues at the moment Japanese people meet Gaijins (literally means 'outsider', their word for foreigner). Their lack of any real knowledge about the outside world is often terrifying.

2. Japanese entertainment is insanely over manufactured. The TV channels are polluted with identical looking variety shows starring any handful of the 12 famous people Japan are interested in at the time. This is Japanese entertainment, to the rest of the world it looks crazy and unique, to anyone living in Japan its just drivel.

Don't get me wrong, there are things about Japan I adore, love, will treasure forever, but the world image of this country, especially projected through the internet, is vastly removed from the gray, mass-produced reality of day-to-day life on these unique isles...
posted by 0bvious at 10:25 PM on November 20, 2005

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