Tuesday, July 29, 2014
The shtick behind this stuff is they get it from Lake Yamanaka, one of the Fuji Five Lakes. It's supposedly sluiced up from 100 meters below the lake's surface. This reminds me of old WWII movies where crack allied troops try to stop Nazi shipments of "heavy water," from alpine lakes used to make top secret weapons. We had to stop them before they developed their own bomb.
PUWATER's supposed to be soft and mellow, suiting the Japanese taste - whatever that is. And also it includes vanandium.
Vanandium - Number 23 on the periodic table of elements is a metal. Its main application is as a strengthening agent added to steel and titanium. And it's also used medically for treating diabetes, low blood sugar, high cholesterol, heart disease, tuberculosis, syphilis, a form of “tired blood” (anemia), and water retention (edema). It's apparently wormed its way into the athletic world as an aid to weight training. Oh, and it's used in homeopathy.
Vanadium is LIKELY SAFE in adults, if less than 1.8 mg per day is taken. At higher doses, such as those used to treat diabetes, vanadium frequently causes unwanted side effects including abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, nausea, and gas. It can also cause a greenish tongue, loss of energy, and problems with the nervous system.
Vanadium is UNSAFE when used in large amounts and for a long time. This increases the risk of serious side effects including kidney damage. Vanadium might lower blood sugar. People with diabetes should check their blood sugar carefully and watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
Vanadium is LIKELY SAFE in children when taken in amounts found in foods. Don’t give children supplements. Not enough is known about the safety of these larger doses in children.
Warnings: Pregnancy and breast-feeding: If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, limit your intake of vanadium to the amount found in food. Not enough is known about the safety of taking larger doses.
Diabetes: The vanadyl sulfate form of vanadium might lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar carefully.
PUUWATER seems to only contain trace elements of Vandium, as do some of the foods we eat. I'm not one to go overboard on things that naturally happen. However, I generally don't like shit in my water. And I am alway suspect when a product speciously promotes something that probably shouldn't be promoted without some serious research as to the effects it may have. About half a century before the krauts were on to the potentially world-destroying effects of heavy water, radium water was a bit of rage in the U.S. Where's it now?
So, I come to Japan and here are these things - and man, some of them are better than plain old piroshky. Here they got this specifically Japanese variation of curry (カレー) that's got this fruitiness and a dark roux to thicken the whole thing up. Deep fried, often studded with crispy panko (my mom occasionally would roll her piroshky in corn flakes), they can be a beautiful thing.
And they can be shite. Case in point, the Beef Tasty Karepan from Kobeya. Kobeya is actually a fairly trustworthy bakery chain that can be found all over Kanto. Buying stuff from their bakery outlets can be just fine. However, I found this one at nearby convenience store. Apart from the general lack of freshness, which is not unexpected in these packaged products, the beef, the curry and the complete pretentiousness of the whole package left much to be desired.
I mean, what the hell is European Beef Curry, proudly emblazoned on the package, supposed to mean anyway? I know that there's still a bit of a throwback thought in Japan that things "European" hold a bit more class than the lowly "Japanese" brand. But it's the 21st century ferchrisakes! And when you think of curry or kare do your thoughts immediately go to the canals of Venice, the streets of Paris, Rome? I think not. You're forgiven if you've got some fond memories of currywurst or the vindaloos of London.
The package shows an image of a silver gravy boat streaming lovely brown curry into a beautiful bun. And old fashioned image of service à la russe, which nobody, I mean nobody does anymore. An image of some sort of nostalgia that rings hollower and hollower. Garçon, je voudrais un petit karepan pour commencer, et puis ... et puis... forget it! Get some real karepan at a creditable outlet where they make in on the premises. You'll be glad you did.