Abnormally normal.

The difficulty of being ordinary is often taken for granted. After all, everyone’s understanding of what is “normal” can vary quite a bit from person to person, so when making a claim that something is truly “ordinary” you’re really opening yourself up to criticism.

But the one segment of Japanese society that perhaps comes closest to the ideal of normalcy is the railways. Although abnormal things are known to happen from time to time, they pride themselves on being as consistent as possible in order to keep on schedule.

To see how deep this goes, one only needs to visit an employee cafeteria in a Japanese train station where the food is not amazingly amazing and not terribly terrible either. It’s just… normal.

Now, this ordinary taste experience can be enjoyed by all with Kintetsu Curry (Nabari Edition) from mid-western Japan’s Kintetsu Railway. The curry inside these retort pouches is the same that can be found in the employee cafeteria at Nabari Station in Mie Prefecture, but this product can be found at various souvenir shops along the Kintetsu lines such as Namba Station in Osaka, where our reporter K. Masami found hers.

Written on the box in large lettering is: “ordinary deliciousness.” There’s also an illustration of a crying station worker who seems to be moved by the sheer mediocracy of his food. Behind him, “I’m eating cafeteria curry. Who the hell eats that? But I eat it,” is also written.

Masami was intrigued and bought a box for 700 yen (US$5), but to see if it was really as normal as it claimed to be, she also bought a pack of Java Curry, a common brand of roux sold in supermarkets by House Foods. If Kintetsu Curry stood out in any away when eaten alongside Java Curry, they’d have a lot of explaining to do.

The Kintetsu Curry was certainly easy to make. Masami only needed to put it in some hot water for a few minutes and serve. And to really put it to the test, she made sure to prepare the Java Curry exactly as its directions said so that it tasted as unadventurous as possible.

Left: Java Curry, Right: Kintetsu Curry

They looked surprisingly different, and yet they both also looked rather normal. Masami took a benchmark reading by taking a bite of the Java Curry. It’s slightly tangy but rather bland overall – truly the paragon of normalcy.

Then, she had a bite of the Kintetsu Curry…

It wasn’t too spicy and it wasn’t too sweet, making it very easy to eat. It was delicious, but not in any particular way. She then had another spoonful of Java Curry and determined that the Java did have more of a distinct taste. In other words, Kintetsu Curry truly was indeed the most normal curry she had ever eaten.

For that reason alone it is worth trying. Its taste could also make it an easy curry to eat on a regular basis, but because of its price, it’s probably better suited as a one-time souvenir or gift while riding the rails through the Kansai area.

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]