Japanese are aghast to learn that the 2012 Olympics has banned sushi sellers from providing soy sauce as there are no makers sponsoring the event, making the dish practically inedible to Japanese and further drawing attention to the increasingly farcical nature of the event.
According to the Japanese reporters swarming the event to give blanket coverage of their team’s humiliatingly tearful judo losses and the anticipated crushing victory of their women’s football team, all sushi on sale at the games has been banned from including wasabi or shouyu.
Diligent investigations lead to the discovery that all this was due the hyper-draconian sponsorship rules in force at the games – sushi suppliers say that as the condiments are supplied in sachets bearing the logo of non-Olympic sponsors, the event’s “logo police” have warned them they face a £20,000 fine if they use them.
Similar restrictions have affected the sale of lesser foodstuffs, with hawkers being forced into under the counter sales if they wish to provide branded snacks which have not paid up millions in advertising fees to the organisers.
Whilst mere foreigners and certainly the British may not know any better, the exclusion of rotten soy bean juice from raw fish bits on rice has prompted some unusually critical reporting from the Japanese media, not generally known for its willingness to confront marketing excesses.
With the likes of McDonald’s and Coca Cola proudly dominating sponsorship of the world’s biggest sporting event with their notoriously healthy produce, it is however perhaps understandable why organisers feel the need to exclude inferior foodstuffs.
The consequences of obsessive corporate sponsorship, crazed flag-buffing, media saturation and of course the drug-addled athletes, corrupt mafia organisers and pork barrel contracts for the host city have become increasingly controversial with the latest games.
Aside from the expected draconian restrictions on what can be sold in or around the games and the sudden interest in otherwise utterly obscure sports solely for their medal yields, a new spectacle for the games is teams of athletes deliberately competing to lose against one another.
Female badminton teams from China, South Korea and Indonesia outraged audiences and organisers by attempting to throw their matches (apparently due to the tournament’s structure, which would allow them easier opponents and less chance of being knocked out if they deliberately threw certain crucial games), causing a minor scandal.
The Badminton World Federation was in any case so disgusted with them competing to lose against one another that it banned the lot of them from further Olympic competition for “clearly abusive” play.
Events like these, and the even worse prospect of ‘sabinuki sushi undrenched in soy sauce, have prompted much criticism in the land of the rising sun, with the renowned culinary prowess of the UK proving an especially soft target:
“Who would want to eat sushi without shouyu?”
“Who could eat sushi without soy sauce!?”
“This is like something from Monty Python. But not funny.”
“What do you expect given the culinary sense of the British…”
“I can’t understand why anyone would order sushi in the UK in the first place.”
“British food is seriously disgusting anyway, we don’t need to be reminded by being deprived of soy sauce on our sushi.”
“Well, it’s just a nation of hairy barbarians so there’s no way they could understand sushi.”
“There’s no understanding what a nation deprived of culinary civilisation will do when it comes to food.”
“Can’t they just put the soy sauce in a cola bottle? I guess some of those guys might accidentally drink it but it’s not like they could tell.”
“I don’t get why they can’t just remove the labels on the sachets or something? Honestly, the organisers are such greedy misers that we should expect this stuff from them.”"
“Just stick to inari or anago and you’ll be fine.”
“This Olympics is going to go down as a failure – the horrible management of the event is the worst ever.”
“They should just drop these ridiculous Olympic sports, it’s just a marketing event now.”