Please Mr IA Try Not to Lose Your Temper: ずくなしの冷や水


Please Mr IA Try Not to Lose Your Temper

August 15th, 2014

The following is a comment that was posted by a reader called Mr IA on August 15th. I think that it describes very well how difficult life becomes if one is working, has to eat out and wants to avoid having contaminated food at the same time.


Good evening Mr Zukunashi.

For some reason I seem to be a little irritable these days. (Perhaps because of the frustrating social situation concerning damage caused by radiation and the government clique behaving so impertinently?)

Like the other day when I went to one of the stores of a major low cost supermarket chain in Nerima (Tokyo). All the American beef was cheap and in a big quantity but I know it is tough and not so palatable (they are all chewy steaks that make my teeth go wobbly). Sitting next to them were tons of packages of meat labelled just as “domestically raised” which were fairly cheap and also looked quite tasty indeed. As there happened to be a male staff member filling the shelf I asked where the meat was from without having much in mind when asking this. He seemed to be about 5 to 10 years older than me and to be a part time employee. ”From Japan” was his answer. “No, no, what I want to know is which prefecture exactly they are from. You know how everybody is talking about cesium and so on.” … “Please could you hang on for a moment, I will phone the head office and ask”. Upon which I had to wait 10-20 minutes. “They say they are blends from various places in Japan. The head office thinks that there is no problem at all with that”. “Isn’t it up to the consumer to judge if there is a problem with that?”…I got so angry that I had to empty myself to this poor staff member over 60 for about 5 minutes. The poor guy was listening sincerely to my speech but I don’t think that it would have had an impact to the supermarket’s policy whatsoever.

Actually, while I was waiting for the guy to return, I had a chat with two middle-aged ladies working there part time. They came to do some work at the meat department while I was waiting and as they seemed friendly I asked them “Do you ladies actually give this meat to your children?”. They gave a discreet burst of laughter and said “No no no no. No way, we don’t, we don’t”. There you go.

After this I went into a supermarket nearby that is a bit more up-market. Here they don’t have imported beef. They had brand beef from Kyushu or Matsuzaka that cost a fortune. The meat was all neatly labelled with the prefecture of origin but: “Beef: from Tochigi, Miyagi. Pork: from Tochigi, Miyagi, Chiba. Chicken: from Tsukuba, Iwate, etc”. I asked the lady staff in her 60s who happened to be there “Why do you only sell meat from areas that are contaminated with radiation?” (I know I am cruel in asking this) which made the lady answer “I don’t know these kinds of things” and disappear quickly from me. So that day again I ended up with just tofu from Hokkaido.

I am a single guy with my own business which means that I am often obliged to eat out. “Where is the rice from that you use here?” (in a major Chinese food restaurant chain) “From Tochigi and other places, blended”. I ended up eating a fried noodle. In a restaurant chain famous for Chinese dumplings: “From Tochigi, Gunma and other places, blended”. I ended up eating a fried noodle. In a curry chain: “ Tochigi etc”. I left without eating. In a chain of Chinese food and noodles: “Tochigi (maybe not Tochigi, I’m not so sure any more, but a prefecture close to Fukushima anyway) etc”. I ended up eating cold noodles with black vinegar. Also, when I asked the same question at the deli section in the Seibu and Tobu department stores inside the Ikebukuro station, at all 4 stands I was proudly told “Only Koshihikari rice from Uonuma, 100%!” Goodness, Uonuma must be vast.

The people in power and their insider friends are too demonic. But I wonder if it isn’t more the egoistic behavior of the weak, “common” people that is leading us people of Kanto to extinction.

・・・end of quotation・・・

As someone who hasn’t got many opportunities to eat out it is not so difficult for me to have meals only with ingredients that suit me. If I can’t find what seems safe I can just have a simple meal and make do with it. However I can imagine how difficult it must be for someone who works and who has to have his meals out to choose non-contaminated food.

The comment above will certainly arouse sympathy among the working people who are trying hard to avoid contamination.

As long as there are inexpensive ingredients available from the contaminated areas the restaurant chains will most certainly use them. Rice from Hokkaido has reached the price of the Uonuma made brand rice now and as more households buy rice from non-contaminated areas causing the price to rise further, there’s little chance that the situation of rice in restaurants will improve.

For the single working men I can only recommend that they cook for themselves more and prepare their own lunch boxes even if it means more work. So far I haven’t been posting articles on how to choose ingredients and to cook them but perhaps I should change my mind and start asking readers to provide me with their wisdom on that matter.

I have the feeling that the poster of the comment is using both lower and upper market shops. But as far as my experience goes it is the small scale mid range supermarkets who need to differentiate themselves that tend to have ingredients from the west of Japan.

Mr IA, I understand so well your feelings of irritability but please do not give up there. Avoiding irradiation is going to be a long fight. There may not be much that you could do in your busy everyday life, but let’s overcome this fight with wisdom.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 06:12| Comment(0) | 福島原発事故
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