Tonight, I ate the same food at dinner as I used after dinner to scrub my body in the shower.
Slightly absurd and utterly intriguing, is it not?
I’ll just tell you: It is.
You see, when I was living in Japan, I learned first in Okinawa about how this food that was regularly a side dish in Japanese meals was also found as the base for certain jiggling and super-foaming soaps – trust me, this was a very odd and confusing conversation for me to be having, especially in Japanese, as the shop workers tried to explain to me how something that sounds like the Japanese pronunciation/version of a drinking alcohol is actually a food, and that this food is what makes the jiggling, funny soap here in front of me.
Suffice it to say, I bought a few of these spectacular soaps, mind partially blown by the soap itself and partially by the whole discovery of its being something I somewhat often ate.
(The next time I use one, I’ll share photos, I’m almost certain – it is really cool!)
Now, this plant is called konjac, and is pronounced just like the alcoholic beverage.
Therefore, in Japanese, they are both pronounced the same way and written in Roman characters the same way: konnyaku.
(The signs had the Japanese written, too, but it wouldn’t have been the first time that I’d seen a foreign word written as though it were a Japanese word [e.g. using hiragana instead of katakana], so I didn’t trust it entirely.)
However, I eventually understood what non Earth it was – sort of, anyway – and suddenly started noticing it more and more around me in life.
Tonight, I cooked some “konnyaku threads”, which look like little knots made of about seven white strings of rubber each, and had them with some other Japanese-esque food I prepared.
Then, for my shower, I happily pulled out for the first time my “Natural Konjac Puff”, a body scrubber similar in size, shape, and texture to a cut loofah… except that it went from the rough and crispy of a loofah to the soft and squishy foamy of a sea sponge, once it was wet and soaped.
Also, when I first opened the package for the puff, I smelled the puff, and it had a very similar smell to my konjac food from shortly beforehand- that rubbery, slightly salty, and weird smell that isn’t exactly bad, but isn’t delightful either…
Totally odd and crazy experience.
P.S. Here is a great page that talks about konjac in mug more detail.