Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ichiro and Ben-to

Tuesday July 24, 12:05 p.m.

Saw the NHK Evening News at 9 at 8 a.m. this morning as I always do. The first 15 minutes of the broadcast were totally devoted to the former No. 51 of the Seattle Mariners, Ichiro Suzuki. His press conference before last night's game had him misting up a fair bit....otokonaki as we would say in Japanese. Cry like a Man! In any case, NHK gave a list of his accomplishments and they were many. It'll be an interesting remainder to the New York Yankees' season.

On a totally wacky other side to competition, I've started watching the latest anime that The Anime King had lent me. Called "Ben-To", just imagine "Fight Club" mixed with the nightly ritual in Japanese cities of buying that bento at the neighbourhood supermarket. The King suggested that I watch this wackiness as a counterpoint to the deadly serious "Madoka Magica".

Yup, each episode is 23 minutes of brawling-for-box lunches insanity. But the Tyler Durden in this anime just happens to be a cool-as-spring water high school girl called Sen Yarizui who operates the school's "Half-Priced Food Lovers' Club". The Ed Norton is an initially hapless schoolboy named Yo Sato and I guess the Meat Loaf role would be covered by the shy but gabby girl named Hana Oshiroi. Like "Fight Club", there are rules to be learned about the nightly battle for bento although none of them refer to NOT talking about the bento battles, and everyone's got a seemingly cool nickname like "The Wizard" or "The Ice Witch". Plus there's more sexual innuendo in one episode than in a very special episode of "Three's Company".

Ach, I was such a huge devourer of bento back in Japan. My personal favourite was karaage bento (Japanese-style deep-fried chicken). About as healthy as a Big Mac set (I got plenty of those, too), I was downing those about 3-4 times a week for lunch or dinner.

This was the Breaded Chicken with Tartar Sauce bento that I often got at the supermarket near my old school. It isn't karaage, though, because the chicken is breaded not battered. You might think that having tartar sauce on chicken is pretty weird, but in Japan, it's actually quite common. It cost 398 yen. Never bothered reading the caloric amount.

And this behemoth is the tonkatsu bento that I got from my neighbourhood supermarket. I always got the hire tonkatsu since hire pork is a bit leaner than the rosu....not that it would matter all that much. The one that I got here came with the thick tonkatsu sauce and mustard, but there was another one I liked which came with a tangy onion sauce. The stuff on the lower righthand corner which my chopsticks are lying on is konnyaku jelly. And up in the upper lefthand corner are sweetened soybeans. Good eatin'!