Hello! Well, we had a rather interesting Sunday this past week with our friends Ali, Kevin, and Andi at the Tagata Fertility Festival near Nagoya. Yes, you read that right---a fertility festival. We went with a base tour group, with no one under the age of 18 allowed. Why the age restriction? Well, let's just say that I don't dare put up photos for fear that Blogger will kick me off. Wait, it wasn't THAT bad. I mean, don't let your imagination take off too far on this one. It just wasn't what many Americans would consider appropriate for the younger crowd. That said, it was kind of refreshing to see a different culture's view on this topic and relative easygoing attitude. I think I've given you enough information that you can do some googling on this topic if you are so inclined. But you have been warned, and the photos out there are pretty crazy, so I wouldn't recommend doing "research" on a work computer unless you really don't like your job anymore. I spent a lot of the day laughing and absolutely amazed at what was being sold by food vendors. You would never, ever, ever see anything like this in the U.S., and I think that's the main reason why this festival is so popular with the American crowd over here. Apparently Kawasaki has it's own version that is even more entertaining, but I think one fertility festival is enough for me.
I only had one rather embarrassing incident during the day, when a funny Kodak moment next to a wooden statue of a male body part (you can figure it out) went seriously wrong. Some old Japanese man decided it would be a better photo if my head were closer to this statue, and I didn't agree. He came right up to me and started pushing my head closer to the statue!!! All of this was recorded on camera by our friend Kevin, along with a large group of Japanese photography nuts who saw what was going on and thought they should also take part. I laughed it off, but I felt kind of grossed out after the fact. Yuck. May you all learn a lesson from my experience. :-) And no, Ali, you can't have a copy. No one can. :-)
Japan is just filled with so many different things to experience. This was one that we won't forget---ever!
Mt. Rainier. The Mountain. It's as familiar to me as the back of my hand, and I spent my whole life living in its shadow. I consider it one of my favorite destinations on Earth, and I have even talked about climbing it one day. (We'll see if that really comes true, but it's a nice thought in the meantime.) Whenever I see it, I know I am home. So imagine how surprised and perplexed I was when I first came across Mt. Rainier Coffee in the refrigerator section at a convenience store here in Japan. This is not a new find; I've known about it for a while but just didn't get around to sharing it with you. So am I the only one who thinks it is weird that this coffee exists in Japan but not Washington State, or at least not that I am aware of? And notice the strong resemblance to another Washington institution---ahem, can anyone say "Starbucks"? I did a bit of googling, and apparently there have been some discussions about logo copyright infringements (big surprise!), but I don't think anything has come of it yet.
I can't end this post without also offering links to a few Mt. Rainier Coffee commercials. The first is a catchy little musical number that was fun the first couple of times I saw it, but now it is REALLY getting on my nerves: http://www.mt-rainier-cl.com/index.html#/Top/0 I never knew that coffee made so many people want to dance!
The second is one from YouTube with Scarlett Johansson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mHWYKKFuzo&feature=related She also has a winter one where she's sitting in front of a fireplace drinking the coffee, but you'll have to find that on your own. It's not unusual to see American celebrities occasionally doing advertising spots over here. Tommy Lee Jones is often see on ads for Boss Coffee (another Japanese coffee brand), and I recently saw Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking Japanese in an ad promoting California tourism. Go Arnold.
So, go enjoy a latte! I will enjoy my Mt. Rainier one. And yes, they taste pretty darn good.
Posted by Ellen at 2:13 PM