Sumo and squid

This video suggests we might try something new for Thanksgiving dinners: instead of the traditional turkey, why not eel?

It’s kind of tongue-in-cheek, but maybe the point is to rethink our stubborn adherence to certain traditions. My family in the U.S. laughed when I told them that on Thanksgiving, I was watching sumo and eating dried squid jerky (するめ).

Here in Japan, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, though we do have a holiday with a similar name at around the same time. What I suggest is moving away from the “traditional” chicken I see EVERYWHERE on December 24th and 25th here, and try some eel. Or tempura. Or oysters. Or curry. Or anything except that ubiquitous chicken.

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Machines should work and people should think.

There’s so much to notice and comment on in this short video, made by Jim Henson for IBM back in 1967. Yes, the same Jim Henson who created the Muppets. This video was made two years before Sesame Street debuted on TV.

A few things I thought while watching this:

  • I wonder if Henson intended to make the people seem robotic in their delivery.
  • When the types of professions are listed, why is it that the only profession represented by a woman is teacher?
  • Did IBM not think that this video seemed a bit insidious?

Read a little more about this video: “Jim Henson Wanted to Free Us From Paperwork” (from Atlas Obscura)

And the video has an IMDb page.

Beyond our differences

This is the story of a man trying to overcome his prejudices. My favorite part of the advice: “Turn off the news and open a book.” Not that it’s not important to be aware of current events, but becoming aware of history and the larger contexts is equally important.

A time capsule

This is the story of the oldest tofu shop in the US (in Portland, Oregon). It was started by a Japanese family in 1911. The article describes the family and the shop, and how both changed over the years. The war-time part of the story is particularly moving and an important history lesson.

“The Secret History of America’s Oldest Tofu Shop” (from Roads and Kingdoms)

I chose the title of today’s post from these line, towards the end of the article:

“As Ota’s new Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese customers acclimate to American foodways, they tend to come in less frequently. But for immigrants, language and food are like time capsules; by maintaining traditional recipes and techniques as the city rapidly changes around them, Ota Tofu honors this.