Last week on Japanify, I proposed the idea of marrying two of my favorite things in life: Japanese food and Twin Peaks. A few hours after my post went up, Kayoko emailed me this post from Mental Floss, on a series of videos from 1993 that came very close to this vision. These videos were even directed by Mr. David Lynch himself and the humor proves that they are 100% authentic.
I was giddy with excitement as I watched the videos for the first time. In this series, Agent Cooper and his entourage try to solve a case of a missing woman, uncovering the mystery clue by clue in each episode.
These Georgia commercials made me nostalgic for kan-kouhi (canned-coffee). Coincidentally, one of my favorites was Georgia's "Emerald Mountain Blend." It's probably the most hideous of all the kan-kouhi in terms of design, but I loved that it was quite strong. It was my chain-smoking grandma who turned me onto this brand. Instead of giving me anything of nutritional substance, she would give me several cans of this stuff plus some packaged ham from the combini Lawson (convenient store) whenever I would visit her house. Here is a commercial for Georgia's Emerald Mountain Blend from January of this year titled "Excuse us for being men."
The copy describes the weaknesses of males (i.e. not communicative, powerless to the charms of women) but in the end... men are awesome... thanks to Emerald Mountain Blend. 日本の男. The Men of Japan. Talking about all this kan-kouhi piqued my thirst and I snooped around my local Japanese market to taste test several canned coffee brands available in the U.S. I probably should have gone to a larger Japanese supermarket because my independently owned Japanese market only had two types of canned coffee: UCC and Pokka.
The UCC milk coffee was lighter in color and less robust in taste. Although it gave off a roasted smell it wasn't so rich. The milk they use must be low in fat because there was hardly any milky aftertaste. This can is wide for canned coffee standards since it's the same width as standard soda cans here in the states.
Pokka had a richer, darker caramel color. The taste reflected that as well, it was really sweet and the coffee taste was strong. I found this one to have a great coffee flavor, it was well-rounded and creamy. However, I was not so crazy about the fact that it was so sweet and I found it to be perfect after pouring it in a cup full of ice. I also love the packaging of this classic Pokka can that I rarely see anymore in Japan. The winner here is Pokka with its rich taste and creamier texture. Although the larger size of the UCC can is attractive for people who want to share, it loses points since it tastes a bit too watery.
All the great directors seem to be getting in on the kan-kouhi action. Here's Akira Kurosawa on a subway platform, directing with plenty of energy, thanks to his Morning Shot.
My brother-in-law Chris fell in love with the Morning Shot when he came to visit Tokyo. Here's what he remembers about it:
Well the name is fantastic for starters--Morning Shot--is it a wrestling move? A Good Morning America-like TV show? Taste-wise I preferred Wonda because they were right in the middle of UCC (too sweet) and Boss (more bitter). I also like food that has a woman's name. Gives it more personality, and you can create a private story around the name--like how Little Debbie is the cute neighborhood girl you had a crush on when you were growing up. I imagine that Wonda is full of attitude and sass, she is the reliable Les-Bro that you can gossip with, AND who serves you a mean cup of Joe. It was also all over Shimokotazawa, so super easy to find. And I always got the hot-can, gotta love the hot-can.
I'd still like to pitch several ideas to Lynch about a Japanese cooking show, for example: "Hamachi in the percolator with your host Pete Martell" or "Brewing the perfect Hario pot of coffee with your host Norma Jennings."
But for now, I'm totally satisfied with these Georgia commercials.