|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
2007,05,25 Fetid food factory requires Pied Piper's services
Uramono Japan (June) By Masuo Kamiyama
Back in early February -- just around the season when Japan's gals were procuring sweets to convey their amorous intentions to their male sweeties -- the boom was lowered on Fujiya.
The famous old confectioner, it was revealed, had played loose with the expiration dates on the ingredients in its eclairs, cream puffs and other baked goods.
And a string of subsequent revelations made it clear some of Fujiya's facilities were also less than meticulous in terms of sanitation.
As its executives bowed and scraped before TV news cameras, the company announced it would suspend sales until it could get its house back in order.
But Fuyija's peccadilloes, reports Uramono Japan (June), were just a slightly grubby tip of a horrendously soiled iceberg.
So the maverick monthly magazine taps into its sneaky sources and found Japan is host to some fantastically fetid factories festooned with food-fouling filth.
In response to a classified ad, 25-year-old Fumiya Sakura (a pseudonym), the magazine's confidential source, started work as a part-timer at a Kansai confectionery plant in the spring of 2005.
His wages were a surprisingly generous 1,200 yen per hour, and he was put to work immediately after the interview.
The first thing Sakura noticed was that the work suit and cap he was given were not only grimy, but so soaked with the perspiration of the previous wearer, the smell actually caused his eyes to smart.
Okay, so the plant cut corners when it came to quality control and sanitation.
But it was not the film of mold on the milk, or the cobwebs around the antique boxes of butter, or even the recycling of two-week old batter to concoct cupcakes that finally got to him.
No, it was even worse.
One day while on the job, Sakura asked about a large refrigerator in the pantry whose door had been sealed shut with duct tape.
"Gee, I don't think anybody's opened it for a year, maybe longer," remarked a co-worker.
"The boss said we should leave it alone."
His curiosity finally got the best of him.
But on swinging open the door, Sakura let out a screech of terror, as, to the onomatopoeic sound of "Boto-boto-boto!" -- here in reference to the patter of tiny feet -- to his shock and disgust, an avalanche of what appeared to be several hundred "kuma nezumi" (Rattus rattus, aka the black rat) scurried about frantically and began rushing past him to escape into the pantry.
Some, he insists, were 20cm-long monsters.
About this time, the plant's supervisor appeared on the scene.
"Oh damn! I knew there were rats inside.
We were getting ready to discard the whole thing," he told the still-shuddering Sakura.
"Now look what you've gone and done. The owner is going to have our heads for this."
So they embarked on a frenzied rat hunt.
The critters had mostly fled from the refrigerator into bags of ingredients stacked in the pantry.
About three hours later, the roundup of rats -- the ones they could catch, anyway -- was complete, and the supervisor ordered Sakura to kill the still-live bagged rodents by crushing them under his boots.
His response is to blurt, "Suimasen. Mo yamesasete moraimasu wa" (Sorry, but no way. I'm calling it quits).
Sakura is convinced the ingredients that the rats contacted during their 3-hour Great Escape were not discarded, but eventually used for making sweets, to be purchased by refined ladies at top department stores in the Kansai area.
What can one say to a situation like this, asks Uramono Japan, except perhaps "caveat emptor"?
(By Masuo Kamiyama, contributing writer)
（Mainichi Japan） May 25, 2007