Ugh, ease up on the teriyaki!
Around the world, wherever there are Japanese restaurants, they've been put on notice: The inspectors are coming. Oh, OK, from the local board of health, right? No, from the government's Agriculture Ministry in Tokyo. And they'll be on a mission to scrutinize the sashimi and test the tonkatsu to determine whether the establishments serving them are what a Japanese back home would find "traditional." Said a statement issued by the ministry: "There are many restaurants overseas that call themselves Japanese, yet use culinary techniques and ingredients far removed from those of authentic Japanese foods." Such as? Well, whether the chefs are slicing raw tuna at the proper angle and thickness . Or whether the rice is sticky enough. To that end, the ministry has appointed a panel of experts to come up with a certification system aimed at weeding out the fakes or those that have become, say, too Americanized. No word yet on specifics, such as when the inspectors will start fanning out across the globe or what happens when an eatery flunks . But you probably won't be surprised to learn that the new program has a companion goal: the promotion of Japanese agricultural exports and how to market them more effectively overseas.