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WSJ: Made Better in Japan

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Tristam

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Apr 16, 2007
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I will wait for the almost as good Korean version to come out. Find that it is inferior, but rabid defend it until in 10 years down the road, I can be vindicated.

Korea has better pizza and burgers, but I'd imagine that is from having a higher number of US forces in country.

WAT. I admit to never having tried any pizza when I traveled to Japan, but Korean pizza is astoundingly bad. First, let's acknowledge that they put no more than a teaspoon of tomato sauce for the whole damn pie. Second, let's acknowledge that mayo, ketchup, sweet potatoes, and corn make for an unholy combination of pizza toppings, and that the typical Korean pizza consists of these things.

Koreans do a great job with pasta and have the best fried chicken in the world, but most types of Western food there should be avoided. And since Korean food is mostly awesome anyway, that's not a tough thing to do.
 

ChiTownBuffalo

Either I made up lies about the Boston Bomber or I fell for someone else's crap. Either way, I have absolutely no credibility and you should never pay any attention to anything I say, no matter what the context. Perm me if I claim to be an insider
Jan 26, 2009
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WAT. I admit to never having tried any pizza when I traveled to Japan, but Korean pizza is astoundingly bad. First, let's acknowledge that they put no more than a teaspoon of tomato sauce for the whole damn pie. Second, let's acknowledge that mayo, ketchup, sweet potatoes, and corn make for an unholy combination of pizza toppings, and that the typical Korean pizza consists of these things.

Koreans do a great job with pasta and have the best fried chicken in the world, but most types of Western food there should be avoided. And since Korean food is mostly awesome anyway, that's not a tough thing to do.

Dude. You ate Korean pizza for Koreans. That was your first mistake.

Go near the bases.
 

Steelrain

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Dec 29, 2009
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What country is this author talking about? I've lived in Japan for 4 years and still have yet to find a foreign style restaurant that serves better than mediocre food. I've never had good Mexican food in Japan (even in Tokyo). Which is a crime in itself!

Theres a place in Nakameguro named Junkadelic. Do yourself a favor and go get some amazing Mexican food
 

Steelrain

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Also, NYC is still ground zero for decent pizza but you can get very good brick-fired pizza near Shinjuku-sanchome on the Marunouchi line for only ¥500 - a steal! A great place to bring a date. Also Freshness Burger totally outshines any US burger chain.

Not only do I know the place you are talking about.....my girlfriend lives 2 minutes from that place. We always do take out though. The pizza is OK.
 

Steelrain

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Speaking of nakameguro, da Issa has the best pizza in the world (world pizza champion 2 years) and I can attest its fucking amazing.

Oh really? You're the second person to tell me about that place. I walked by one day looking for lunch but it was already closed. I might try it this weekend.
 

Seraphinianus

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Sep 2, 2010
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no thanks, I'll get the foodie culture, arts and music culture, and nightlife all for a fraction of the price in chicago and in English too. Maybe I won't get the Japanese denim, but I'll find a way to carry on with my life.
 

Alucrid

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May 30, 2009
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Oddly enough I'm wearing a loopwheel sweatshirt right now that was made in Japan and it's quality is astounding. The same goes for denim. I mean, their fashion magazines are insane in that they're hundreds of Page yet cater to a very specific demographic.
 
May 16, 2011
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Oddly enough I'm wearing a loopwheel sweatshirt right now that was made in Japan and it's quality is astounding. The same goes for denim. I mean, their fashion magazines are insane in that they're hundreds of Page yet cater to a very specific demographic.
Yeah, the MIJ items I have seen are usually of extremely high quality; and it's been this way for several years now. Not to say they are universally better than American/Italian/etc manufacturing but clearly, the capability is there.
 

lunarworks

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Oddly enough I'm wearing a loopwheel sweatshirt right now that was made in Japan and it's quality is astounding. The same goes for denim. I mean, their fashion magazines are insane in that they're hundreds of Page yet cater to a very specific demographic.

"Otaku" culture spreads waaaaay beyond the geek realm that we understand. You could call these people well-heeled, fashionable otaku. (Although they would never accept that label.)
 

Stinkles

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Sep 5, 2004
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White bread was transformed into shokupan, a Platonic ideal of fluffiness, aerated and feather-light in a way that made Wonder Bread seem dense

You cannot even understand how good this shit is as toast. It is the highlight of hotel breakfasts.
 
Apr 19, 2011
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Second, let's acknowledge that mayo, ketchup, sweet potatoes, and corn make for an unholy combination of pizza toppings, and that the typical Korean pizza consists of these things.

Koreans do a great job with pasta and have the best fried chicken in the world.

mayo/ketchup/potatoes/corn/etc regularly defile Japanese pizza as well.

KFC in Japan is incredibly delicious. I usually don't touch the stuff back in America (Church's Chicken fo lyfe).

I never struggled to find a good burger in Japan but the cost of eating at Mos/Freshness gets prohibitive over time.

You cannot even understand how good this shit is as toast. It is the highlight of hotel breakfasts.

The Japanese learned to bake bread from the French, so yeah, they really know what they're doing there.
 

Tiktaalik

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Aug 6, 2004
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Japanese traditional american sportswear is fascinating as they now produce more and better traditional American sportswear then America. Part of the reason is that when many American factories were closing down the factory hardware was purchased and brought over to Japan. Now if a company wants to make high quality clothing Japan is one of their only options for producing it. It's unreal to see that they have multiple magazines devoted to this area, and tons of brands and tons of stores. This stuff is filtering back to North America now. You can buy some of these brands at Inventory Stockroom online or if you're in Vancouver.

Another thing that I think a lot of people don't recognize is that many sleepy local American brands produce special high quality product and ship it to Japan. Only now that NA interest is picking up are some of these companies letting these higher quality, higher priced products be available in NA. I've been in the odd position where here in Vancouver I've bought a shirt produced locally a few blocks away from my house that was labeled a "Large" even though I'm a medium because it was a "Japanese Large" and until just recently they only sent their products to Japan.
 

Steelrain

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Dec 29, 2009
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mayo/ketchup/potatoes/corn/etc regularly defile Japanese pizza as well.

KFC in Japan is incredibly delicious. I usually don't touch the stuff back in America (Church's Chicken fo lyfe).

I never struggled to find a good burger in Japan but the cost of eating at Mos/Freshness gets prohibitive over time.

Eww, fuck no. KFC is Japan is waaaaay too fucking greasy. I almost threw up the first time I ate there. Mos/Freshness is a step up from McD's but its not much of a step.

I'm gonna open a Zaxby's out here.
 

Davidion

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Jul 13, 2007
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Don't travel much, but Japan is on the short list of places that I actually have an inkling of an urge to visit, along with Belgium, UK, motherland china.

Whether the article is hyperbolic or not, what makes everyone dismiss their culture as weird is precisely why there will always be some pointers and perspectives to learn from them.
 

andycapps

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Dec 20, 2006
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Indeed. Pretending to care about coffee and selling something called an Americano? Rubbish cup of brew. Long blacks are the superior standard cup of coffee.

Americano's are great. Red Eye's are better.

I don't know whether to take this article seriously or not. I'm going to guess there are elements of truth in it, but that for westerners that live in Japan, they may find it a little hyperbolic.
 
May 16, 2011
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Another thing that I think a lot of people don't recognize is that many sleepy local American brands produce special high quality product and ship it to Japan.
Yeah, it was kind of surprising to me that, growing up in the small area of Centralia, Washington, that the varsity jackets Centralia Knitting Mills (tiny hole in the wall company) makes for local teams/schools has a bit of a following in Japan, and are usually sold for a substantial markup.
 

pj

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Jun 8, 2004
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Guys we need to get our shit straight. Japan is stomping our asses in $250 sweatshirts and $750 jeans
 

Alucrid

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"Otaku" culture spreads waaaaay beyond the geek realm that we understand. You could call these people well-heeled, fashionable otaku. (Although they would never accept that label.)
If we like what the Japanese make, but the Japanese make repro items of classic American styles, does that make us otakus? :p
 

MC Safety

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Usually the Wall Street Journal is a bit more ... discerning about its reporting.

The poster who claimed the story read like a promotional pamphlet is absolutely right.
 

SRG01

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Jan 29, 2007
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I will wait for the almost as good Korean version to come out. Find that it is inferior, but rabid defend it until in 10 years down the road, I can be vindicated.

Korea has better pizza and burgers, but I'd imagine that is from having a higher number of US forces in country.

Oh my god, I laughed a little too hard at this :(

Personally, I think the article is a little over the top. I was watching a documentary a while back of a Japanese factory worker, and he was similar to most working-class Americans. No obsessive fixation over quality or anything like that.
 

GhaleonQ

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Aug 24, 2006
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The individual content is interesting, even if some of the claims are a bit sensational, but what I find particularly intriguing is the generation of a thriving cultural vitality despite the financial malaise. It seems reasonable to expect culture to follow a trajectory parallel to the health of the economy yet here we have an example of a financially and demographically imperiled state that's actually gaining cultural mind-share at the higher end.

I caught the article. He's not a bad writer http://www.lastmenout.com/author.html but, geez.

I'm a traditionalist conservative, but "elite goods" in a handful of urban environments provide no basis for his claims. Uniqlo's a way more interesting case that the Wall Street Journal has covered before. (Uniqlo really is phenomenal.)


I mean, Bentley and Burberry have been totally reinvigorated, but the United Kingdom is still wheezing.

Usually the Wall Street Journal is a bit more ... discerning about its reporting.

It's from the monthly magazine.
 

Pastry

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May 31, 2006
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I can attest to the fact that Spanish napkins are the most unabsorbant thing on this planet.
 

vas_a_morir

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Jul 4, 2006
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Japan is the ultimate "look, but don't touch" country. So much stuff is there, but it ain't there for you.

There was this quaint little Spanish restaurant I found. I saw the menu, and we are talking about 120 dollars a PLATE. I said goddam.
 

Of All Trades

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Oct 14, 2004
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Americano's are great. Red Eye's are better.

I don't know whether to take this article seriously or not. I'm going to guess there are elements of truth in it, but that for westerners that live in Japan, they may find it a little hyperbolic.
I can't speak to the fashion bits but the food part came across more as a positive effect of extreme population density than anything else. If I crammed all of Yountville, CA into a couple high-rises in SF then it would probably seem like some sort of magic block but land isn't at that much of a premium (not to say high-end Napa is cheap but still) so things get spread out.
 

Zyzyxxz

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It's very respectable how Japanese cooks can dedicate years to perfect a single task but I've always wondered if it's worth it.

I mean the marginal rate of return spending an extra 2-3 years overs 1 to master a single task can become minimal depending on what they are doing. I remember sushi cooks start at rice washing and cooking for 5 years before the master might think they are considered "good".

At that point with labor costs being so high in Japan the costs are passed onto you. I think as a foodie I wouldn't touch Tokyo's high end unless I was part of the 1%, I would love to because there are so many great restaurants and I do believe that Japanese cooks work harder and put more effort into it based on my own personal experiences but they aren't going to work at Mexican immigrant rates and thus the problem of $100 per person price of eating.
 

Hcoregamer00

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Feb 9, 2007
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Board of Tourism Japan, pays Rupert Murdoch's jerkrag how much to fellate them by promoting their new 'focus on quality' statement? /cynicism

Aside from the editorial section WSJ is probably one of the most liberal papers in the United States. With that said, even a person who disagrees with them politically can't argue that their writing and reporting is top notch.

(Loyal Wall Street Journal subscriber for the last 8 years)
 
D

Deleted member 17706

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Even in the low-end, the quality of service and dish preparation tends to be far better than anything I've seen in the U.S. This isn't really news, though.
 
Apr 10, 2007
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But they still won't shave...:/

Seriously though, sounds like so much waste for perfection, which you can never truly achieve.
 

TheChaos

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Sep 27, 2006
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I wish they would spend less time focusing on making themselves look good for other countries and focus on the social justice problems of their own country. /debbiedowner
 

Dude Abides

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Aside from the editorial section WSJ is probably one of the most liberal papers in the United States. With that said, even a person who disagrees with them politically can't argue that their writing and reporting is top notch.

(Loyal Wall Street Journal subscriber for the last 8 years)

You haven't noticed the increased sensationalism and politicization in the news pages since Murdoch took over?
 
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