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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Where's the Kobe Beef?

I have a beef with Kobe.

Like... where's the Kobe beef in Canada?

According to an article written by my buddy Tony Wong of the Toronto Star, what consumers in Canada have been purchasing as Kobe beef is not real Kobe beef - it's an Australian knock-off.

Oh gods! Canadian's are eating knock-off food? Next thing you'll tell me that the Gucci watch I bought on the corner for $10 isn't a real Gucci watch and that is is a knock-of, too.

Canadians have long been trusting of what we are told. It's because we are too bloody polite to even question things that we are easy to take advantage of. It's like Canadians want to trust people, so we do.

Sad but true.

Kobe beef comes from a herd of about 3,000 cattle. It's why if you want to eat it in Japan you need to mortgage your home and your kid's home. It's expensive. In fact, all beef is expensive in Japan as there just doesn't seem to be enough beef to satisfy demand.

But Kobe beef - oh man... being a stupid gaijin - that means I'm a foreigner who isn't afraid to spend his money to ensure he does as much as possible in Japan to be as much like the Japanese, without, of course, actually fitting in. I have tried Kobe beef when I was in Kobe. When in Rome etcetera.

First off... Kobe beef is fatty. That's what gives it its unique flavor. It is so fatty that it literally melts in your mouth. It's not just a fatty chunk of flesh... no... the meat is marbled with fat. So much so that, like in the photo above, there is as much fat as there is actual meat.

Anyhow... read Tony's Toronto Star article. He is indeed a good guy. He actually called me from Toronto while I was living in Ohtawara, Japan  hoping he could stay at my place when it seemed like he was coming to Tokyo to cover a story. He knew how far away it was from Tokyo, and still wanted to get together. A pity the opportunity for him to travel to Japan fell through.

I like that. He thought enough of me to want to hang out. Tony was already a full-blown newspaper reporter for Canada's best paper, and I was a hot-shot summer intern reporter for the paper when I quit so that I could go to Japan.

Let me tell you... no one ever quit the internship before - for any reason. The fact that I was already the first Canadian community college journalism student to get accepted into the illustrious Toronto Star internship program already mean that I was as rare as sashimi, and that all eyes were on me to see how a mere college student could do on a program that was dominated by university students. Stupid, really considering I was already a university grad... but it was an indication as to how far the college journalism program had risen...

I think Tony was impressed by my work ethic and enthusiasm for writing back then, so for him to have even stayed in touch - well... that was impressive to me. Knowing that a professional was cool enough to want to hang out with me - wow.

I had forgotten about all of that until I saw his name on this article... and I just want to say thanks to Tony, and hope he one days knows how much he and his friendship meant to me 22 years ago when there were only three visible minorities working as reporters for the newspaper. Tony, by the way, is of Chinese ancestry born in Jamaica. I am of Indian ancestry, born in England. He and are are both proud to be Canadian, I am sure.   

Read Tony's article on where the real beef is HERE.

Andrew Joseph


  1. You do know that Australia was set up, originally, as a colony that the Brits sent prisoners to.... Seems the criminal element is in-bred! Damn! Dirty fakes!

  2. I know all about those damn Australian criminals! I count many of them as my friend. even though I do not understand half of what they say! Now... the New Zealanders - them I can understand - though I have no idea why they call themselves Kiwis. Are they are people, a bird, a fruit or a shoe polish? That whole upside down part of the world confuses me, like they are all part of some Bizarro world. Maybe to them being wrong about the beef is them thinking it's right? Or... I'm just having fun here, like you are Mike.