Friday, September 16, 2005

Rice for the picking

I swear, these titles are getting worse. Maybe I should go the whole
hog and start writing pun-filled alliterative tabloid-style headlines,
a la The Sun... Right, from next week it's tabloid headlines all the
way, I promise.

Anyway, back to the point. Actually, I haven't made a point yet have
I? Well, anyway, the point is rice. Got that? Right.

Last Sunday I went rice harvesting. Well, I mean I tried to go rice
harvesting, but the skies were feeling particularly mischievous that
day and decided to stick two fingers up at the weather forecast of
"sunny all morning", and treat us all to torrential downpours instead.
But, on the plus side, I got to meet the Mayor of Fukui. Which was
nice. He turned up in some wellies and told us all about how rice is
very important in Fukui, we bowed a lot, and then he was driven away,
safe in the knowledge that his five minutes of weekly
internationalisation had been completed satisfactorily. He seemed like
a nice man.

It was far too wet to actually go into the fields and pick the rice,
but we did get to see how the rice is processed after it's been
harvested. I was particularly jealous of the giant machine that sucks
the water out of the rice before it gets processed. I could do with
one of those to suck the humidity out of my house - then perhaps my
T-shirts would stop going mouldy all the time. Thank God the cooler
weather of autumn is on the way, cause frankly I'm running out of

Anyway, back to rice. One of the most distressing aspects of the day
was watching all that lovely, healthy, wholegrain rice being stripped
of all its goodness and emerging as pallid, bland white rice. It seems
such a waste of resources to make something less tasty and more
unhealthy at the same time. It's almost impossible to get hold of
wholegrain rice in Japan, since only one or two specialist shops stock
it, and even then it's much more expensive than white rice, which
seems criminal really since it actually requires less processing.

Does anyone have any ideas as to why white rice is so popular in
Japan? Is it because it's easier to make sushi out of? Is it because
white is a lucky colour? Answers on a postcard please.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rice is popular in Japan because it is hard to build a mcdonalds in a paddy field.

9:58 pm  
Blogger emergen-c-man said...

i can see how that happens, you should start a business and just do whole grain rice. :)

11:11 am  
Blogger Leah said...

nazekato iuto:
white rice looks pure (you know the japanese' preoccupation with white and purity)
it was what the landlords and samurais ate
people just don't know better
... can't think up of any more reasons!

10:29 pm  
Blogger Leah said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:29 pm  
Blogger Jasoni said...

so lazy, didn't read the other comments - but... yeah, so odd to strip rice of goodness, then the good stuff (easier to make and more natural) is more rare and expensive. It's the same with bread. Madness.

12:43 am  
Blogger quaisi said...

I think it`s because it`s tastier. Exactly the same as with bread. More people buy white bread than brown becuase it tastes better.

This means that although it costs more to get rid of all the good stuff, it`s worth it as it will far outsell the brow stuff and make the money back.

1:26 pm  
Blogger emily said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:38 pm  

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