Could this be Mr. Sato’s true calling in life?
Previously, our daredevil Japanese-language correspondent Mr. Sato infiltrated a well-defended Family Mart convenience store located in Asaka Base in Saitama Prefecture. The Japan Self-Defence Force (JSDF) was having an open day, but our reporter would later claim he sneaked in during broad daylight. Scoring a camouflage messenger bag, he would have happily hauled his trophy home and called it a day.
▼ This Family Mart might just be the proverbial oasis in the desert.
But Mr. Sato was on a self-imposed mission, and one bag wasn’t enough to satisfy him. All this skulking around in a convenience store usually off-limits to civilians left him a little peckish, and his gaze instinctively turned to some field rations on the shelf.
▼ More field rations for soldiers craving them.
Upon closer inspection, Mr. Sato realized the convenience store was selling three types of ration packs: curry and rice, hayashi rice (beef and onions in demi-glace sauce), and stamina rice bowl. Costing 1,080 yen (US$9.80) for a box of two, our reporter wasted no time picking a ration type and quickly left with his loot.
Back in the office, Mr. Sato reverently set down his choice of ration, the stamina bowl. He swore anyone would easily mistake the cleverly camouflaged box for a patch of forest ground, if not for the image of an imposing soldier and the words “Field Ration” imprinted on it.
▼ A tactical meal for the famished soldier.
▼ The side opening was sealed with a cool tank sticker.
▼ Opening the box revealed two pouches, in which the meals were sealed.
Soldiers would place the entire thing in hot water before consumption. Cooking in that manner would take approximately 30 to 40 minutes, but time is of the essence for a busy trooper like Mr. Sato. Cutting open the pouch separated the components into toppings and rice, allowing them to be cooked even more rapidly.
▼ Toppings and “Field Ration the rice”
▼ Zapping the rice in a microwave for five minutes
▼ Heating up the ingredients in boiling water for five minutes
▼ And it’s done!
So this was what a JSDF stamina bowl looks like. With 300 grams (10.6 ounces) of rice and 180 grams of toppings, this would certainly fill a soldier’s tummy.
▼ It looks like a beef bowl.
The onions and burdock root were simmered to tenderness in a thick brown sauce. If there was more meat, it would have made a fantastic beef bowl.
Chomping down on a mouthful of field ration, our reporter was immediately assailed by sweet onion and garlic flavors, which was pretty standard for stamina bowls. Given its size and convenience, Mr. Sato reckons he might order some directly online from its maker, Takano Co., Ltd, in Niigata Prefecture.
It was overall a great experience, and one that made our reporter consider about enlistment. Giggling over cute JSDF anime girls, the thought of having his colleagues call him “General Sato” or “Solid Sato” would entertain him for a long time to come.
[ Read in Japanese ]