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I love Japan. I lived there for five years, I speak Japanese, my wife is Japanese, I even walked a 900 mile Japanese pilgrimage twice. And yet, every time I think that I have nothing more to learn, that Japanese culture cannot shock me any further I am pleasantly surprised. Actually there is nothing pleasant about this.

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Japanese Blended Pig Placenta Drink

Yum! The cartoon doctor in the background has convinced me.

While I was shopping I came across the wonderfully named drink Placenta! It is no secret that the Japanese love English, not speaking it fluently, but pasting it on anything and everything to make it seem cooler. Most items make no sense and are just random words strung together. Others are more unfortunate, like the  5 year old girl in my elementary school English class who showed up wearing a t-shirt that said “Smack the Bitch and Pump the Hoes.” I’m still trying to figure out if this was supposed to be a gangster tag line or that of an enraged farmer. In her parent’s defense, it was pink and had cute little flowers on it.

So my natural reaction at seeing the drink Placenta, was that some poor office worker was asked to come up with an English word that conveyed health and vitality for their new line of vitamin supplement drinks. Unable to speak English he turned to his ever present electronic dictionary and the rest is marketing history. To my surprise they new exactly what they were doing! It is blended pig placenta, bottled and distributed all across Japan for your pleasure.

Placenta Facial MaskYes, you read that correctly. Blended Pig Placenta. For about $8.50 you can drink a 30 milliliter bottle of Blended Pig Placenta. In fact more Japanese drink it than I could possibly imagine. So many people that a new, popular product line was developed of beverages of various placental concentrations (tastes like peaches!), capsules, an organic skin cream and a wearable facial mask filled with placental extract. Sexy, I can’t wait to see my wife with a little placenta on her face (no she does not use it…nor will there be ANY placenta related projects in our house!).

I know what you’re thinking: Japan is such a crazy place. Well they might have been ahead of the curve on this one as Placentophagy – the storied, age-old tradition of placenta eating – is on the rise again. Yup, that’s right. There seems to be a growing movement- conspiracy?- in the US and other places to get placenta onto our plates. They have even gone so far as to try to slip it onto our pizzas!

So you may be wondering what the lesson is here. Other than making you think about and decide if you want to drink or eat Placenta there is no lesson. Oh, wait, maybe it’s that what we find strange in other cultures is just a result of our own ignorance. And that usually we can find the same practices right back at home; we are just not trained to see them as clearly as when we are in a foreign society and everything looks new and different. That is, if you want to get philosophical about Blended Pig Placenta.

Have you eaten or tried to drink Placenta? Would you? What other crazy foods have you come across in your travels or even in your local market? Leave your comments below.

Blogsherpa Travel CarnivalThis post is part of the Lonely Planet BlogSherpa Travel Blog Carnival hosted this time by Jennifer over at Orange Polka Dot. The Carnival is hosted every two weeks by a BlogSherpa member. The topic this time is Foreign Food Finds. I hosted the last one here on Todd’s Wanderings about Travel Safety.

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21 Responses to “Crazy Japanese Food Find: Placenta!”

  1. an attractive post dished out with ingredients that are not so attractive…you must be a great chef!
    Indian Bazaars´s recent [type] ..Weights -amp Measures

  2. LexiNo Gravatar says:

    Why do people think this is so weird? Do you even know what parts of pigs and cows go into sausage and hot dogs and hamburgers? Placenta is a weird as cow testes and feces, and those are in every ground meat ever produced.

  3. RyanNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: only in Japan!
    .-= Ryan´s recent blog ..Project: 東京 =-.

  4. SuzyNo Gravatar says:

    I shouldn’t have read this after eating breakfast huh? Sounds pretty awful. I don’t think I could be that adventurous and try it.
    .-= Suzy´s recent blog ..Budapest Wishes You Were Here =-.

  5. LarryNo Gravatar says:

    While not in the same league as the Placenta drink, I became a big fan while visiting Japan of the vitamin goop in the squeeze foil packets. Taste of lemon and the consistency of mucus. Great for hangovers and the morning after the evening dojo drinking parties!

    Cheers Larry

  6. EarlNo Gravatar says:

    That’s quite incredible. Although ten years from now we’ll probably all be drinking it!

    I once ordered lamb brain at an Ethiopian restaurant and sure enough, out came a dish with a cold, freshly removed, completely intact lamb brain, with blood still dripping out of the vessels. I tried it but sent it back after pieces of mushy brain became lodged in my teeth.
    .-= Earl´s recent blog ..How Religion Can Help Keep Your Backpack Safe =-.

  7. OMG You win for the most gross foreign food. My nopalitos were tame compared to some of the stuff. I have never had the urge to visit Japan but am now growing interested – not because of placenta drinks, but because of all the other wonderful thngs I’ve read about it on your blog.
    .-= Barbara Weibel´s recent blog ..Speed is the Enemy of Cultural Travel =-.

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks Barbara! Maybe I should start getting paid for all the new tourists I send to Japan :) I’ll buy you some Placenta next time I am there, even if just for a conversation piece.

  8. YUCK………….no I am not going to get philosophical on this one. I’m staying away!
    .-= Nancie (Ladyexpat)´s recent blog ..Rolling the Omelet =-.

  9. Todd – I definitely think you win the prize for most bizarre foreign food find!

  10. cikiNo Gravatar says:

    scary stuff but very common in asia! it’s actually the purified hormones that ppl are seeking.. ah.. the illusive elixir of eternal youth huh? me, i won’t touch the stuff. some can cause allergic reactions due to the proteins! i know all about it.. i’m a pharmacist;)

  11. AmandaNo Gravatar says:

    Umm, gross. I don’t think you could pay me to drink that. Then again, I’m not very adventurous when it comes to strange food. But I’d wager that, even if I was, I still wouldn’t be that brave.
    .-= Amanda´s recent blog ..When Irish memories are swirling. =-.

  12. CandiceNo Gravatar says:

    Put a little salt on it, and it’s delicious!

    Barf.
    .-= Candice´s recent blog ..Sometimes Growing Up in a Bilingual Country Sucks =-.

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