Friday, June 18, 2010

Japan does it bigger!

You don't know what it means to be a minority til you've lived in Japan. Admittedly, Barbados is 94% black, so I didn't grow up a minority. But, I did get a taste of it when I lived in Connecticut for two years. Still, it's nothing compared to Japan. Japan is over 99% Japanese. Of the 1% who weren't born here, .6 combine for the Chinese and South Korean immigrants. There are about 5000 people on my program (JET). I'd guess there are another 5000 who are employed as English teachers in private contracts or by private companies. Let's imagine there are 20,000 non-Asian foreigners here (outside the US Military). In a population of 128 million, hat would make us 0.0156%. If that's not a minority, I don't know what is!

As a black female, I'm an even bigger minority. I think I'm the only one in my prefecture, 15,278 sq km (5898 sq m), an area the size of Connecticut! From time to time, I'll experience some outright discrimination, but not often. Most of the time, people react in pure shock. As .0156% of the population and the only black female for miles and miles, I am undoubtedly the strangest thing most people will see in a day. (I can't decide if I'm stranger than Naked Guy or Pantsless Guy- I have to give you those stories sometime. lol)

A lot of the time, it's not fun being such a minority. But there's always a perk in being an undesired superlative. If you're the worst at something, you can take comfort in knowing you can't go any further down. By the same token, I can't be any stranger. You have no idea what a comfort that is to someone who loves to skip down the main road singing Disney songs and dancing. When I do that here, I'm just the foreigner. If I did that in the West, I'd be the crazy girl!

In completely unrelated matters, America is legendary for fast food. That, however, does not mean that the rest of the world does not know how to pack a ridiculous amount of calories and grease into a meal. Especially Japan. Japan is never to be outdone.

When I first came, Macdonalds was selling the Mega Mac. Are you familiar with the Big Mac? From top to bottom: Bread, burger, bread, burger, bread, some lettuce and tomato tossed in for posterity. The Mega Mac is the same thing. Except, everywhere you have a burger in the Big Mac, the Mega Mac has two! I have a really bad habit of HAVING to try all the ridiculous foods (Strawberry Melon Chocolate Chip Bread for example), so of course I had to have a Mega Mac.

The thing was ridiculous to the point of being impossible to eat. I practically had to unhinge my jaw. And I can fit a whole orange in my mouth. Plus, no one seemed to have thought about the feasibility of two burgers seperated only by ketchup. Imagine four burgers all going in different directions, ketchup squirting everywhere.

But the Mega Mac is apparently not as ridiculous as it can get. Introducing the Tower Cheese Burger from Loteria (fast food chain). It starts out as a regular cheese burger for 160 yen (about $1.60 USD). You can add burgers to it for 100 yen. Up to a 10 burger max! 10 burgers seperated by cheese. And yes, I have proof!

Also, here's Iwate Swan, instalment 15. Today Roger goes to a bunkasai, School Culture Festival. At bunkasai, the kids exhibit things they've made/done and usual there's a stage show at some point.


Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Unbelievable! The thought of 10 burgers with cheese makes me want to never eat meat again (not that I do eat much, I confess). I am fascinated with the cultural glimpses you post.

ElbieNy25 said...

Wow. That's like 3 meals in one. Clearly you have to disemble the monsters before even attempting to eat them.

Is Japan perhaps overcompensating? LOL

Stephanie Perkins said...

0.0156%?? My mind is BOGGLING.

And oh my word. I had no idea that Japan was into the crazy big greasy American fast food thing, too. Those burgers are insane!!

(I would totally try the Strawberry Melon Chocolate Chip Bread, though!)

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