Apr 6, 2009

Two Pressing Japan Questions: ANSWERED!

People frequently ask, what (American Product) do you need that you can't get there?
Actually, between the BX and the Commissary, we're pretty well covered.  We have all of the staples.  The only thing is, there is no VARIETY!

For example: at the Commissary right now, I can get chocolate chips and baking chocolate.  But can I get the brands I want?  The good kinds that came in on top in the Cook's Illustrated Taste Tests?!  
I cannot.  
I can get Tollhouse Chocolate Chips and Baker's Baking Chocolate.  Passable, but definitely not extraordinary.

I can get Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil which earned a "Not Recommended"  (*See below for the review.)  But not Columela which came in on top at "Highly Recommended".

I can get facial moisturizer, but I canNOT get Clean and Clear Oil Free Dual Action Moisturizer. (I've been using it since 9th grade!  I can't switch now!!!) 

Today we went to the BX to look for new Crocs for the boys.  And what did we find?  Well, Crocs.  For boys.  Name brand.  The problem is, I can't buy name brand.  In fact, my head might explode if I tried.  They cost something crazy like $24 a pair!  WHY would I pay that much when I can get them at Target or Wal-mart for $4 a pair?**  They're going to get trashed on asphalt either way.  It just ain't happenin'!

So there you go.  I don't actually NEED any emergency care packages.  (Unless you feel you must.  Then who am I to stand in the way of your better judgement.)

Next question:
What are some of the more obvious cultural differences?
Off the top of my head?  Cleanliness and Happiness!
"What's that you say?  We American's are clean and happy, aren't we!?!?"  
Well, maybe a little, I suppose, but let's look at the competition:

When is the last time you saw a CHEERY construction zone in America?

When is the last time you were greeted in a restaurant by no fewer than 6 smiling (GENUINELY HAPPY!) employees?  (Admit it.  Never.  You can't fool me.  I used to live there.)

And when is the last time you saw a Road Crew sweeping up after themselves?  (I never see a road crew NOT sweeping up after themselves here.)

And in what other country do you remove your shoes so frequently AND get your bum cleaned for you, by your toilet,  with soothing warm water?!?  (Besides probably a bunch of other Asian countries of which I know nothing.)

All of these things are common occurances here.  So you see!  Like I said:  Clean and Happy!  Happy and Clean!  Don't you wish you were here?

That's all for today.  Any OTHER questions???

*Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Cooks Illustrated taste test results:
 “Nothing remarkable here—just greasy, no flavor,” summarized one taster. “Where did the olive go?” said another. This oil was judged to have a “kind of rancid” aftertaste that was reminiscent of not only “soil,” “tree resin,” and “ammonia and grass,” but even “kitty litter smells” and “a set of sweaty hockey pads.”

**Oh right.  Because there is no Target or Wal-mart here.  Guess we'll have to go without.  I can't risk losing my head.


Topsy said...

My brother loved his bedee (sp?) so much he brought one home and installed it in his toilet. The quick burst of water scared the crap outta me! Which in the end, ended up working just fine considering where I was sitting.

Linz said...

I love the cheerful construction zone! That is happy! Sorry about the olive oil and stuff...

Beeswax said...

Hey, don't bag on the Tollhouse morsels. my Dad was Senior VP for Nestle USA for like ten years. The chocolates we got sent from Switzerland at Christmas did not resemble Nestle Crunch bars. THat's just what they sell here because that's what the Americans want.

I did just just get 5$ crocs at Wal-Mart, though. Neener.

See. I don't think I'm nice enought to live in Japan.

Kristin said...

I love Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen and appreciate their product reviews too! Even though you live in Japan, find solace in the fact that even though I live in America's Heartland, the Midwest, I also have a hard time finding some of the top rated products at the grocery store and find myself settling for the sale price Nestle items. Take heart, the average palate of those that eat my cooking and probably yours aren't able to tell the difference.

mountainmama said...

You are living in my dream world of cleanliness. Can I move in with you? You won't have to clean anymore I'll do it, just like back in college.

Bartimaeus said...

-insert witty comment and chuckle-

Beeswax said...

Haha. I was just being snobby, too. My dad started out working for Carnation, before Nestle bought them. And he was in charge of making Mighty Dog and other assorted pet foods. (Altho we got lots of ice cream and instant breakfast)

Since reading the book, I am re-thinking my motto: 'butter is always better.' I mean, sometimes it is better, but maybe not always.