I try to resist “Orientalism” in my enthusiasm for Japanese food and culture. I try to avoid that “Oh those Japanese, they so crazy!” attitude. I mean, really, everything looks crazy if you don’t understand it. It's not always easy (above - it's a butter grater) but I do what I can to understand.
Take those Japanese restaurant where the food circulates on a conveyor bet (sometimes called a revolving restaurant, but that’s a horse of a very different color if you ask me). Really, there’s nothing odd about it at all, it’s just a high tech, and labor-saving version of a Chinese dim sum cart.
This however is a really great example, having a revolving conveyor belt that resembles a bullet train:
In fact the idea is so good that some people want to recreate the experience at home: (admittedly this set apparently features a boat on railroad tracks, which slightly misses the point):
Actually I’m not sure the above is going to work out so well. The thrill of the conveyor belt restaurant is that new things keep appearing, whereas if it’s just circulating around your own table you can see everything that’s on it, and the chances are you’re the one who put it on, which severely reduces the surprise element.
Also, just in case you think there’s anything uniquely Japanese about this, keep in mind that Buster Keaton devised something very similar in in his 1922 movie, The Electric House.
And if you think it’s only the Japanese who have a wacky attitude towards food, I’ve recently been become aware of the all-American “cheese bra.” This is wacky certainly, but actually much less fun than it sounds, chiefly because the “cheese” is plastic and therefore inedible. Where’s the sport in that?
The bacon bra (worn here by Nicky Stein-Grohs of bacontits.com - I kid you not) looks like way more fun.
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