If you thought the BSE scare in the US was a domestic issue, you'd be right, except that it is a serious domestic issue for the Japanese.
Japan is the biggest export market for US beef in the world. Lots of millions of tons of the stuff comes here every year, a lot of it to top off a bowl of gyudon from Yoshinoiya (not one bowl, obviously, as that wuld have to be a very big bowl. Lots of small ones seems much more likely). Gyudon is a mixture of very thinly sliced beef, fried with onions and a special sauce served on top of rice (the suffix ~don means 'over rice, such as Tempura-don, Katsu-don and Maguro-don, but not Udon, strangely, which are noodles - different kanji I expect). Anyway, the point is that as soon as BSE was found in an american cow, all imports were stopped immediately, with little chance of a swift return.
So why not use Japanese beef? Oh no, far too good to be wasted on gyudon, which is the equivalent of student food. And to be fair, it would seem a bit of a waste to use Kobe beef in such a way, seeing as it can cost 50 quid per 100g. But this is also another example of the Japanese government basically screwing their own people, as the govt. here is really into protectionism for agriculture, so the price of Japanese beef (and rice, and veg, and everything else) is kept artificially high, ostensibly to keep up the quality, but, as everyone knows, to keep the votes for the LDP rolling in from the countryside - can't have votes being los...sorry, farmers going out of business now can we...?
So what about Aussie beef, also very popular in Japan (and dirt cheap and shit (i.e. non Japanese) quality like US beef)? Well now squire, you see, your Aussie beef, right, well, it doesn't really taste the same, does it...? Not like the crap we usually mix with an overpowering sauce and so can't tell the difference and eat with our rice. Or words to that effect. So poor old Yoshinoiya, the biggest chain of gyudon restaurants in the land, has had to change all its menus and come up with some alternatives to its biggest seller. Poor them I say.
Last Friday's Angst
Strange thing angst. As reported last week, I had issues on the way home. This week, even though I got drunk, I didn't. Strange thing was that the night of angst came after a good week at work and a pleasant evening out, drinking and laughing. Friday just gone, I had a shitty week at work, went out in the evening, watched a bit of a boring game of cricket which Australia won and then carried on drinking and discussing the unpleasant things about the company before heading home (though to be fair we did chat about pleasant things as well and the evening was enjoyable). This time I wandered along the riverbank - being careful not to sit down - but everything was right with the world and I was in a much happier frame of mind. Must be the modern novel.
And talking of novels...
Actually not talking about novels at all, that was just a clunking segue into talking about navels (or belly buttons, if you prefer). This is a bit of research into belly buttons and their fluff (or lint, as some may call it). Now I get belly button fluff, and it is of a certain colour, no matter what colour clothes I wear. Minako, bless her heart, thinks this to be odd and doesn't believe me when I saw that not only do most males get it, but it is usually the same colour as mine. Heaven only knows how she could doubt me, but she does.
So, dear readers, I would be most grateful if, as a male, you could use the comments section to state whether firstly you do, or don't, collect fluff in your navel and, if you do, what hue it may be. Anonymity may well be respected