Monday, June 18, 2007
Re-inventing the wheel?
The sights and sounds of Japan are unlike anywhere else. The paradox of high-tech and tradition leaves a lot of free space for just about anything to be possible. Since the beginning of time, it also seems that the J-folk have been extremely good at adapting things and ideas from other culture to suit themselves in a better way. It isn't unlike cultural borrowing, but let me tell you, I doubt the country of origin wants these ideas returned to them, at least they might not be able to appreciate the added quirkiness which has been spun into the goods.
Take something as tasty as Pringles. The new J-version is of the so-called "Mexican" variety, but someone interpretted Mexican food to include lots and lots of bacon. I am definitely a huge fan of bacon, but I can't even bring myself to try these.
Another favorite was hosting a kind of Oktoberfest - in May! I love a good Oktoberfest, but this was a little sureal. Complete with typical oompah musicians and an occassional "prosit" from the band, bratwurst and beer (mind you the most expensive pils or hefeweizen of all time, nearly $12.00 per!), and even a random J-dude wanting to practice his English conversation. Life in the park with a beer is almost always... good.
Last weekend, I was strolling along the Ginza, which is closed from traffic on Sundays, and I came across a troup of street performers of a sort. It is difficult to hear the strong drum beat and the flute melody in the background, but these guys definitely perfected the pelvic thrust.