Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Random Picture #136

One of the stores near my home that I liked to take a look at each time I walked by, but rarely went into was Tsurukame. I'll admit that the prospect of going into it was a little intimidating to me, silly as that may sound. One of the reasons was that it was such a small place with extremely narrow aisles that I felt that I could get trapped in there by bargain-hunting grannies who would refuse to budge for the errant gaijin (foreigner) who decided to invade their territory. The other was that the place was so grubby-looking and seemed to be a dumping ground for food that couldn't be sold elsewhere. 

All of that being said, I found the selection of food outside fascinating because it wasn't your typical fare. It was also a reflection of what didn't tend to work in the greater marketplace because you'd see food that was relegated to the bargain bin because it didn't sell well enough. Eventually, I lost my inhibitions and went inside to find that much of what was inside wasn't any cheaper than what was at other stores. All of the interesting and super cheap stuff was piled outside in boxes and bins. Walking buy was an education in the market, as well as a certain demographic.

The picture above was one of the huge piles of cast off foodstuffs that was on display. These are "fluffy" tuna sandwiches. They are like the Smuckers "Uncrustables" that are marketed in the U.S. That is, they are pressed together and sealed at the edges with a smattering of filling and designed to be relatively shelf-stable. They are also pretty disgusting and appeal to lazy people. Since these were being sold for 73 yen (about 92 cents), they clearly didn't light fires. These are called "raku (luck) fuwa (fluffy) packs" and the company that makes them is Kobeya. Kobeya makes a broad range of products, including these sandwiches in tuna mayonnaise (on sale above), ham and mayo, egg salad, and beef curry. Personally, I would not trust anything made with mayonnaise that was not kept refrigerated, but this is not uncommon to see in convenience stores in Japan. Perhaps they know better about food bacteria than me, or they have some uber-preservative, but I'm guessing no one ever got botulism from one of these so they must be safe... if only they were also tasty.

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