きつねうどん // Kitsune Udon
These noodles are so thick… The topping is called いなり inari, and it’s a thin sheet of sweetened fried tofu. Inari is supposed to be the favorite food of the mythical fox spirit [きつね // kitsune], which is where this dish gets it name.
The kitsune is a trickster and a shape shifter and also the reason you say “moshi moshi” when you pick up the phone—foxes can’t pronounce moshi moshi, so you know that the person on the other end is really a person. It’s like a password. (I’m almost pedantic enough to say shibboleth.)
But I’ve always wondered why the fox can’t pronounce this specific phrase—is it the mo? is it the shi? is it the combination? Could a fox manage just a single moshi? Are there other words that foxes can’t pronounce? Also, since it’s really only the person who picks up who has to say moshi moshi, couldn’t a fox avoid this by making the call for itself? If foxes can operate phones. And who am I to say they can’t?
And Japan does have a phone scam problem. It’s called ore-ore sagi [オレオレ詐欺], ore being a way of saying ‘me’ and sagi being ‘fraud’. Basically, someone calls you up saying, “It’s me, it’s me, I’m in trouble, wire me money,” and you, being old or confused or just very trusting, do as they say. There’s a huge public awareness campaign about it, but moshi moshi doesn’t seem to help…
Lifehack for all of the foxes out there, I use this one alot.
If someone on the phone says “moshi moshi” to you, respond with “moshi mochi”. Most humans are too dumb to notice the difference and those who do, well maybe they will send you delicious ice cream balls.