Category : Food
If you live in Japan, it pays to be prepared for a disaster. Earthquakes happen on a regular basis, although thankfully a full scale catastrophe like the Great Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami is a very rare event. Still, every child has earthquake training at school, and every household is supposed to have an ‘earthquake kit’ with emergency food and supplies in case disaster strikes.
You can buy these ready prepared, but also put together your own bag of essentials. On my most recent trip to Japan I was fascinated to see that Tokyu Hands, probably my favourite store in the world, has a big new department for emergency supplies at their Shinjuku branch.
I was fairly blasé about getting my own earthquake bag when I first lived in Japan, but changed my mind pretty quickly after a major earthquake nearly knocked me out of bed at 4 o-clock one morning. A carefully packed rucksack lived near the front door for the rest of that posting and all of the next, and I still keep a handy selection of bits and pieces ‘just in case’.
So I spent a happy half hour perusing all the things on sale, from hard hats to portable water purifiers and surprisingly extensive medical kits. The food was especially fascinating, and I could not resist the opportunity to buy and try something new.
The ¥350 tins of Ever Fresh bread were particularly appealing, and the orange flavoured version appeared to be the most appetising, although I was also tempted by the raisin. Ideal in a disaster situation, the tins are very light, and have a ring pull just in case you forgot to pack a tin opener. The bread inside is carefully wrapped in greaseproof paper, and looks just like a cylindrical muffin.
The taste? Hmm… well, it isn’t half as bad as you might imagine, although the texture is strangely fibrous, like some kind of edible sponge. The orange flavour is almost certainly there to distract you from the feeling that this might not technically be an actual food item, and it would definitely have gone down more easily with a mug of hot tea. That said, it wasn’t unpleasant, and if I had just been through a real disaster I would be very glad to have one of these in my bag.