Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Land of Little Milk and Honey


I have to admit, it is damn disorienting to go to the refrigerated section of the supermarket and see, instead of a shelf of boxed rectangles of butter, a humble and miniscule sign explaining that butter is unavailable at this time.

And to have imported cheddar lined up right next to the empty butter shelf which is twice as expensive as it was just a few months ago.

After 15 years of deflation and a surfeit of damn near everything, twice over, it is stunning to see scarcity again.

I know that in the broader scope of price changes sweeping this planet, such as those for rice that are threatening hundreds of millions with a tumble back into abject poverty or even starvation, the loss of access to butter and cheese are trivial events.

But it is still troubling to see the devolution take place over just a matter of weeks.

Upon such thin threads have we woven our world...

Dairy Farm atop Onoyama
Ashigarakami County, Kanagawa Prefecture
April 29, 2007

3 comments:

Janne Morén said...

One think that hit me reading about this is industry representatives talking about grave shortages, with the reason being the lack of demand for milk so farmers aren't raising cows. I may be naive in these matters, but I vaguely suspect that "shortage" and "lack of demand" are as contradictory in the agricultural industry as in the rest of the world.

Also, I sincerely hope I do not make too many implacable enemies saying this - but if Japanese cheese would disappear without a trace, to be replaced by European imports, I would shed tears - tears of quiet, contented joy, that is.

If the Japanese dairy industry will take this crisis as an opportunity to rethink their operations from the ground up and start producing cheese with actual flavour then I will happily withdraw the above statement of course.

Brendan said...

Fantasizing about real cheese...

Is that "on such thin threads..." sentence a quote from somewhere?

MTC said...

brendan -

Probably, somewhere.

T'is not an intentional quote, however.