Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Larger Than Life Items in Japan

Japan is full of strange stuff. One of the most amusing categories in the weird and unusual is the larger than life items that appear on buildings.

Here are those I know about:

This giant chef ...

and the tea cups with saucers mark the entrance to the "plastic food" and restaurant supply street in Tokyo.

This larger than life wasabi plant hangs above a store in Matsumoto that exclusively sells products, including cookies, made of wasabi.

Wasabi is a relative of the mustard family that grows in cool, wet mountain valleys along rivers in Japan. It is often served with sushi and sashimi which makes a lot of sense since many spicy herbs are used for their antimicrobial properties. If you make a habit of eating raw fish, you'd be wise to always have wasabi with it!

It is possible to get genuine wasabi in the U.S.
Pacific Farms, a company based in Florence, OR, grows and makes genuine wasabi. They say that wasabi grows well in that part of coastal Oregon because the climate matches the best growing areas in Japan. Beware that many imitation wasabi products are sold. They are typically horseradish colored with food dye - it's cheaper.

Another large vegetable:

Larger than life sea life is easy to find...

Sumo anyone?

What is the gold thing supposed to be?

And last but not least, the giant gorillas of Japan!


Alasdair said...

I think the big gold thing is a giant parsnip! I love the oversized items in Japan, too. Hey, you know, that wasabi place is a great place to get rice crackers seasoned with wasabi and sugar... yum!

Holly said...

Didn't I say you could get cookies there?! ;-)