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Dancing sushi balls

It looks like 'Discrimination Against Riceballs' and 'Sushi Vending Machines' ended up tying with two votes apiece in the poll. I waited an extra day seeing if there was actually another person who wanted to chip in and potentially break the tie but it appears only 4 people give a damn and all of you have an obsession with food. Let me pause here to say once again that LJ sucks balls and I can't believe I'm still on this site writing ridiculous entries. Curse you permanent account and my innate cheapness that won't let me leave something if I've already paid for it.

So, both riceballs and sushi vending machines obviously deal with Japan. That's not really a surprise considering my recent fixation on the country and its quirks. If you read the commentary in the poll thread you'll have discovered that I've never seen a real riceball in my life. Since many of you might similarly be unfamiliar with riceballs, I figured I'd start with a short description taken from wiki:

Onigiri, also known as omusubi or rice ball, is a Japanese food made from white rice formed into triangular or oval shape and often wrapped in nori (seaweed). Traditionally, an onigiri is filled with pickled ume (umeboshi), salted salmon, katsuobushi, kombu, tarako, or any other salty or sour ingredient as a preservative. Because of the popularity of onigiri in Japan, most convenience stores there stock onigiri with various fillings and flavors. There are even specialized shops whose only products are onigiri for take out.

While not all onigiri need to have faces on them, it's my personal belief that it's always better when your food has a face.

My interest in Onigiri started with a series named Fruits Basket where they used it as an interesting metaphor for people. Each of us goes through life thinking we're just 'plain rice', and looking at all the other onigiri with their flavorful stuffings or umeboshi (sour plums) stuck on them. The reason we're all envious and sad is because we can't see our own umeboshi because it's stuck to our backs. A nice Aesop which tries to tell us we're all special, even if it's full of lies.

Anyway, on to the part about discrimination. Onigiri are very iconic in Japan and, as the wiki points out, can be found sold in the equivalent of 7/11's. The entire idea of a riceball is sort of hard for most Americans to wrap their heads around I'd imagine. When Americans do consume rice, it's usually not shaped into anything and ends up as bunches of individual grains in bowls or on plates. It's a clear case of a cultural clash and instead of running headlong into the questions of 'WTF is that?', some companies which import anime for kids avoid the problem altogether. This leads to some hilarity.

I just love the idea that they actually paid animators to go back through the show and turn riceballs into sandwiches and crackers. It's just funny they would go through such an effort to avoid the culture clash. It's one thing if they had to go edit out blood or poon or something of that sort but all that effort for some riceballs.

That's when they had the funds/time/animators. This is what happens when they either couldn't or just chose not to go back and excise out the riceballs.


Mmmm, donuts.

Personally, I'm not offended or outraged that 4-kids changed the riceballs like some morons. I do, however, find it pretty funny. The problem is that some people are just whiny jerkoffs and will complain about anything. The people in charge obviously didn't want to go through the trouble and effort of explaining wtf a riceball is to a bunch of 8-10 year olds and who can blame them? I wonder if these same idiots would be offended if some Japanese company ported over Scooby-Doo and turned Scooby Snacks into onigiri.

So that's basically it for riceball discrimination. Ya, I know it wasn't all that interesting and you probably want your money back but I never promised it'd be entertaining. I guess it might be odd but after all of this rambling on about riceballs, I still have absolutely no desire to actually eat one. Frankly, it just doesn't sound all that good to me and I don't see the thrill. If we're talking snackfoods, I think I'll go for a back of chips or a twinkie each time.

I'll tackle sushi vending machines next time around.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 17th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
'can be found sold in the equivalent of 7/11's'

You can actually get them in 7/11's in Japan.....I doubt you could find a convenience store that doesn't sell them in Japan to be honest.

You know most westerners do not like rice balls as the fillings are often bitter.
Feb. 24th, 2010 05:24 am (UTC)
Bitter? That sounds like an odd flavor combination.

I guess in the end it's just what you're used to and what you grow up with. I always figured rice balls would be sorta bland.
Feb. 24th, 2010 09:44 am (UTC)
Apparently (my ex boyfriend who is Japanese told me) rice balls are generally either bitter or sour.

I would imagine they are pretty bland also.
Feb. 23rd, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
I wish they would have left them as riceballs. That's a kid's show right? If so, I think that makes it really important that they leave the culturally appropriate food in the series. It makes kids more likely to step outside their comfort zones and eat food of a different culture. I am a foodie through and through, I think that food can teach people lessons in diversity and many other things.
Feb. 24th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC)
Eh. I dunno that I see a real benefit to having kids eat food of a different culture. I know that sort of thing is all the rage nowadays but it sounds like useless fluff to me. The point of food is so you're no longer hungry. Not so you can have an existential cultural experience.

I can see where the animators for the show were coming from though. How do you explain a riceball to a 5 year old in the context of the show? If it was geared toward an older audience, they'd probably just add some subtitled text but they try to avoid that for kids shows.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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