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Saturday, March 20, 2004
Real fast food is downed while you run
By AMY CHAVEZ
Japan is definitely losing its traditions. Take for example, the dying tradition of standing next to the vending machine while drinking a canned drink. It used to be that you wouldn't dream of drinking while walking down the street. You could see whole families standing next to the vending machine gulping down drinks. And gulp they did, so as not to have to stand there too long. Same goes for eating. You could often see a lone ice cream cone licker standing outside the ice cream store. People would never attempt to walk and lick ice cream at the same time. Why has this tradition of standing while eating or drinking gone by the wayside? Perhaps the Japanese have finally learned how to do two things at once.
Unlike other trends, however, walking while eating is not something only the youngsters are doing. The oldsters too are embracing this new trend. The other day I witnessed an old man weaving down the road on his bicycle while eating a banana!
What the heck, at the very least walking and eating should be good for digestion. Why take a walk after dinner if you can walk during dinner? Just attach that dinner plate to a harness in front of you like stadium vendors have. Walking while eating could even cancel the calories before your body absorbs them!
The next time you go to a convenience store in Japan, the clerk just might ask you, "Would you like a sling with that 'o-bento'?" Secure the bento in the sling around your neck, and you'll have real "takeout" food. If walking while eating proves healthy, we might try next running while eating -- and later add some degrees of difficulty, such as skiing while eating or surfing while eating.
Exercising while eating could be the next big trend in Japan to get slim. You see, Japanese used to keep their weight down by controlling what they put into their bodies. And if you remember, everyone was thin then too. But Japan is always copying America, even our mistakes, so it's not surprising that the new method of weight control is all-American: Eat what you want, and worry about how to take it off later. After all, how is anyone in the Japanese health industry going to make money off the Japanese if they keep eating the traditional diet of rice and fish? Japan is the only country I know of where people eat a certain food even if it tastes bad, just because it's nutritious. Get those people walking while eating a bag of potato chips!
Soon, I expect the Japanese will not only prefer potato chips to unpalatable but healthy food, but they'll also take on the American style of eating potato chips by gorging them. I admit that even I enjoy stuffing large handfuls of potato chips into my mouth in the most unladylike manner. This goes for popcorn, nuts or any other food that comes in large quantities of small pieces.
The biggest problem with the Japanese copying America's bad eating habits, however, is that we fear they will find out one of our darkest secrets -- the one about why we haven't converted to the metric system. Metric measurements are, quite simply, too small for our tastes. How could we live without being able to buy a gallon of buttered popcorn at the movie theater?
Imagine a McDonald's Quarter Pounder with cheese being, instead, a 0.1 Kilogrammer with cheese. That's microscopic!
And of course, more fundamentally, the metric system doesn't include handfuls, shots of tequila or pitchers of beer.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: www.amychavez.com