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Sunday, Dec. 17, 2000


All I want for Christmas is some cud to chew

Since Japan has finally started to perform organ transplants, I can finally ask Santa for what I've always wanted -- an organ. And no, I don't mean a sex change. The organ I want happens to belong to a cow. And no, I don't mean the udder. What I'd like from a cow is something that would make my life a lot easier. So for Christmas, I'd like to ask Santa for a cow-stomach transplant. I want four stomachs, just like a cow, so I can chew my cud. Wouldn't it be lovely!

If I could chew my cud, I could have second servings of all those holiday desserts without the extra calories. If I could chew my cud, I wouldn't have to bake a turkey for Christmas -- I could just cough up the last one from Thanksgiving. And if everyone else would get a cow-stomach transplant too, Christmas dinner would consist of everyone sitting together around the dinner table chewing the fat. I wouldn't even need to set the table.

If I could chew my cud, the next time I went to a Japanese restaurant and was served sea slugs or natto, I could just sit back and discreetly eat my own meal. If I could chew my cud, I'd always have something to bring to a potluck party. And hostesses wouldn't send me home with the leftovers -- I'd already have them.

If I could chew my cud, I'd never be hungry again because I could eat leftovers every day. If it's anything like Italian food, they'll taste better the next day anyway. If I could chew my cud, I'd never have to eat cold rice again.

If I had a cow-stomach transplant, I'd save time too because I wouldn't have to cook -- I could just graze. Who has time to cook in anyway? In addition to an eight-hour work day, I aim to get in an hour of Japanese study, a half hour of harmonica practice and a gym workout.

Now that the holiday season is here, I have to find time to pound "mochi," attend "bonenkai" parties and write New Year's cards too. It's enough to make me want to hunker down in the next roadside clover patch. And grazing looks so peaceful, almost therapeutic. But I do pity the cow with a pollen allergy.

The truth is, I would have taken up grazing a long time ago except that I've seen what it does to my cat, who tries it every now and then and throws up the results. Or maybe she's trying to chew her cud but needs to practice more.

Perhaps cows do the same thing when they're first learning, and, you know, overzealously heave the contents onto the ground. Stop wrinkling up your nose! ABC food (already been chewed) is a very practical form of recycling.

The cud is truly a cow's charm point. If all the people in the world were ruminants, there wouldn't be a food shortage. On the other hand, it would be quite an insult if your dinner guests didn't eat your food and instead chewed their cud. We also might be subject to weight gain from being able to fill four stomachs -- the average Jersey cow weighs 450 kg!

But I'm still hoping Santa will bring me an organ transplant. You're probably wondering, if they could transplant cow stomachs, what would be next?

Hopefully, skin grafting. I've always wondered what it would be like to be black and white and from Jersey. And it just makes sense to grow furry in winter. I suppose it will be a long time before we can get cow-skin grafts. In the meantime, how about those cow eyelashes? Wouldn't they be lovely!

Visit the Japan Lite home page at www.amychavez.com or e-mail comments to: amychavez@mailexcite.com

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