IRON CHEF JAPAN
Ryori no tetsujin" was the original Iron Chef television show which first aired in Japan in 1993. I remember they would play episodes every Saturday night on the Japanese television station here in the U.S. and I was immediately addicted. I mainly watched because of the food, but do have to admit that I was a bit awestruck by the brightly colored satin outfits the Iron Chefs were clad in. It looked almost like the Power Ranger cooking show. Not to my surprise, I found out that a lot of my friends in the U.S. were also tuning in to the Japanese network on Saturdays just to watch the show. Although there was the obvious language barrier, the excitement of the show, the colorful (literally see above) cast of characters, and the complexity of the ingredients spoke fluently to everyone who tuned in. This was before reality television was so prevalent in this culture. No surprise that there is now an American version of the Iron Chef which airs on the Food Network.
The Japanese people are a food obsessed culture and they definitely take great pride in their cuisine. I am not surprised that Japan currently has the more Michelin stars of any country, including France. Everywhere you go, from the basements of the department stores to the train stations, there is food, food, everywhere! From French pastry shops, noodle stations, yakitori, sushi bars, and even vending machines that offer a vast selection of hot or cold options, you will find it here in Japan. I will be sharing some of my culinary adventures with you this week while I eat my way through Japan.