…from Mike Marklew

Pretty packs

Japanese people have the most amazing ability to produce unbelievably revolting tasting things, wrapped exquisitely. At coffee break time today. I was given a delicately thin wafer which looked just like a tea biscuit. It was made from compressed, dried shrimp.

Yesterday we got tiny puff pastry cakes filled with some stuff which resembled pink ice cream. The pained look on my face as I chewed made Yamaguchi remark. “Sweet, red soy bean paste.”

Having lived here for a number of years. I know which Japanese dishes I like and don’t like and I don’t experiment any more. However, when one of our OL’s just hands me a dainty little package — I can’t choose.

Our staff travels all over the country and in traditional style, bring back presents of the region­al specialty.

Ever chomped your molars into a chocolate to discover it was stuffed with a sour plum?

Anything wrapped in dried seaweed is sus­pect. Also, if the pack bears the slightest whiff of Tsukiji fish market, I’ll pop it into my pocket. These are given to my wife and kids.

I’ll beat our OL’s to it tomorrow and give them a boxful of those dreadful chocolate bunnies. They always taste like soap.

Wonder if I could fill an Easter egg with sake!

Maybe I can start a new industry: Disgusting Foods Inc. We’d offer buns stuffed with fungus, chocolate coaled kelp, earthworms in wine, etc.

Knowing the Japanese, however, these are all probably already available.

Craving something sweet last Sunday, I picked up a pack of green, mint-like candy. Being a nitwit, I tossed one in my mouth and bit it.

Wasabi mustard lollies, i.e. Balls of fire.

It was so hot. I could have bitten off and consumed my tongue, without noticing.

I’ve sent some to my assorted mates around the world—without instruction.

Regarding packaging, take a look at some of those Ginza mama-san ladies in their beautiful kimono—in sunlight. I rest my case, y’r honor!