Tonsillitis and the Marathons: The Japanese Take on Western Portions

Tonsillitis and the Marathons… sounds like a terrible band name, right?  But if you saw it on a t-shirt in a Chinese department store, it would be the least of your worries.  Tonsillitis, after all is an inflammation of the tonsils.  What are those?  Were you about to say, the things that, when removed, allow you to have a no-holds-barred ice cream feast?  That may be an urban legend, although even more fascinating is that even after tonsils are removed, it doesn’t necessarily increase your chances of getting an infection.
What does this have to do with Japan?  Are the Japanese the only group of people born without tonsils?   Heh, you’re off to a bad start.  As a matter of fact, as a kid, I used to think about other adolescents in hospitals country-wide, propped up in their beds, diving into endless bowls of アイス クリーム (aisu kuriimu).  (Look how simple it is for to become overweight in Japan– ice cream sounds the same, クッキー kukkii is cookie,
アメリカンドッグ amerikan doggu is corn dog, and tako is octopus, kite or callus, so 3 out of 4 isn’t bad)  Years passed, and I thought golly, that’s ignorant, wouldn’t they much rather be out of the hospital eating ice cream, oranything for that matter?  For instance, a wave of high school students/taste testers/fatalists is on holiday in Tokyo.  They stroll by the innumerable food displays in restaurant windows- tonkatsu, ramen, jelly and hip hop– but settle on ice cream.  That’s boring, no?  Sure Japan has its own take on the dessert, with black sesame, red bean and matcha flavors among the more well-known varieties, but if the display wasn’t just a lie to reel you into the restaurant…

Shinjuku, Tokyo-ビッグパフェ (Big Parfait/biggu pafei)

Fukuoka- The leftmost blender says Choco World

Not really sure what the pile of french fries are doing in the second photo, though considering Japanese ketchup is mostly sugar, it’s likely sweeter than the cone-infested roughage that predominate the rest of the picture.  In Japan, I’ll eat anything (I guess that could include funazushi), yet these pantheons of pancreatic pugilism lead me to think it’s best done in a group of fifty or less.


All of a sudden, you pass out.  Too much ice cream, all the while neglecting basic biological functions:  Blinking, breathing, depth perception, a round of pachinko.  Somehow you wake up, and somehow it’s time for breakfast.  What’s for breakfast in Japan?  Salmon, a bowl of rice, natto, seaweed, miso soup, and pickled ginger at a Matsuya fast food outlet?  Tomorrow, when you remember what salt is.  How about an apple, a danish and Activia® from a 7-11 (the good, Japanese kind; thanks Danone for the yoghurt)?  Only if you don’t feel like walking long distances.  What about toast with bananas, chocolate syrup, and something that looks like an egg but probably is whipped cream?  Did you forget about last night already?  Who cares, this toast is taller than half of Indochina!

Tokyo- Tower of Toast; Best Eaten Whole, Before a Marathon

Have you noticed similarly over-sized food on your travels?  How did it look once it got to your table?

About LearningFeelsGood

Bread, olive oil Waking up in Nakagin Sure does sound like me
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5 Responses to Tonsillitis and the Marathons: The Japanese Take on Western Portions

  1. SlugginY2K says:

    We need more “Bort” license plates in the gift shop. I repeat, we are sold out of “Bort” license plates.

  2. expatlingo says:

    Spotted a particularly nasty plastic food display at a restaurant called “Toi Hokkaido rice pizza” the other day and thought of your blog. Why not make a pizza base out of rice (real pieces of rice, not rice flour) and top it with 1000 island dressing and strawberries? Apparently popular enough to be a chain…

    • Any restaurant with any Japanese in the title seems to fit best in Causeway Bay. Upon looking at the deal with Toi:, it seems they browned the edges of the rice to create a “crust” (which Korea does best, IMO), but really? The textures once you get to any other part of the rice pizza, let alone steaming into the melted cheese and sauce…and they’re “blaming” Hokkaido for this?? That island isn’t even known for rice, but it would be known for skiing, bucolic settings and oh, superlative dairy products and seafood. I’d try it, but only if they don’t offer deep dish too… have you located decent pizza in HK?

  3. Pingback: Tremulous Transliterations: Why You Don’t Get Dessert in Koreatown « buildingmybento

  4. Pingback: Poke and Haupia (Hawaii, US) | Collateral Lettuce


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