not nice rice
Rice for the Japanese is like fish and chips for the Brits. Without the grease.
But just recently the rice industry in Japan has gone tits up.
In a bid to boost profits, several companies have been buying cheap imported rice meant for industrial use, such as glue-making, and selling it on as high quality rice to distributors who have in turn sold it to makers of rice crackers, sweets and alcoholic beverages.
This cheap rice is contaminated with pesticides such as methamidophos and aflatoxin.
Two salarymen enjoy a stiffer-than-usual drink with some uncontaminated tandoori chicken.
The scandal has even forced the resignation of Japan's Rice Minister, Seiichi Ota. At a recent press conference he attempted to confuse the Japanese public by speaking in English and using a double negative. It didn't wash.
The outgoing (meaning he's leaving, not that he's an extrovert, though he may well be) Rice Minister, Seiichi Ota.
In an if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em spirit, cooking magazines across the nation have been making the best of it:
Recipe for Contaminated Rice Cakes:
2 cups of rice
Half a cup of water
2 tsp aflatoxin
1 tsp methamidophos
A pinch of salt
Directions: Mix together to make a pliable dough. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. Make small balls. Eat and phone ambulance.
Japanese housewives are up in arms about the situation. Here one lady gives her opinion on the scandal....