Playing with words



Can you see it?

I like spinach. A lot. I go through four or five bunches a week easily. And each new bunch greets with a smiling face. No, I’m not crazy — the supermarket I go to, the national chain Itoyokado, has started a new campaign called 「顔が見える食品。」 and now your friendly food producers (face, full name, and location) appear on the packages of your domestically-produced groceries. This is surely spurred by the numerous food scares and food poisoning cases that broke in the past year or two, as well as Japan’s push to become less dependent on food imports from abroad.

But those are both topics that I might cover in the coming days if nothing else catches my fancy. For now, let’s take a look at this bit of advertising fluff from Itoyokado’s website. It’s written in a nice easy to understand and chatty style, and it will be my first post in a category I like to call 日常茶飯事 【にちじょうさはんじ】 which is a great compound meaning “everyday things.”

Why hello, Mr Hamabe!

Why hello, Mr Hamabe!

日本の食を、もっとおいしく、もっと安全に。

「もっと」というコトバに力を込めて。

   「顔が見える食品。」が目指しているのは、より高いレベルでの「安心・安全」「おいしい」です。まずは、この理想を共有できる”志のある生産者”を見つけ出し、このブランドに参加していただくことから初めました。たとえば、「顔が見える野菜。」ならば農家へ行き、自慢の畑を見て、収穫したばかりの野菜を食べ、語り合う。そんなことの積み重ねが、このブランドの根っこにあります。
   こうして知り得た生産者の「顔」、すなわち、「どんな人が、どのようにしてつくった食品か」を、お客様に公開。お客様が心から安心して食べられる食品をご提供しています。
   さて、「安全」と「もっと安全」は、どこが違うのでしょう?
   「顔が見える食品。」は、まず、独自の基準を設けています(たとえば「顔が見える野菜。」なら、できるだけ農薬を使わないことなど、5つの約束を設けています)。さらに、外部の中立期間とともに、その基準がまもられているかどうか、厳しくチェックしています。これが、私たちの考える、「より高いレベルでの安全」です。

   おかげさまで、「顔が見える食品。」は、お客様から高い評価を得ています。「おいしかったからお礼を言いたい」「どんな思いで作っているのか知りたい」などのご意見もいただくようになりました。
   「顔」は、生産者の「志」でもあります。高い志を持つ生産者の「想い」をお客様に伝え、「おいしかった」というお客様の感動を生産者に伝える。こうして、「作る人」と「食べる人」が、お互いに「顔」が見える関係になり、「日本の食を、もっとおいしく、もっと安全に」という輪が広がっていく。
   これこそ、「顔が見える食品。」の使命だと考えています。

(Reproduced from Itoyokado’s website)

食 【しょく】 food (somewhat unusual usage)
もっと more
安全 【あんぜん】 safety
言葉 【ことば】 word
力を込める 【ちからをこめる】 to put power into sth
顔 【かお】 face
見える 【みえる】 to be able to see, to be visible
目指す 【めざす】 to aim for
より further, more
高い 【たかい】 high
レベル level
安心 【あんしん】 safety
まず first of all
理想 【りそう】 ideal
共有する 【きょうゆうする】 to share
志 【こころざし】 wish, desire
生産者 【せいさんしゃ】 producer
見つけ出す 【めつけだす】 to find out or discover
ブランド brand
参加 【さんか】 participate
~ていただく the polite form of ~てもらう (used when someone is doing something for your benefit)
から from
始める 【はじめる】 to begin or start
例えば 【たとえば】 for example
野菜 【やさい】 vegetables
ならば if (that is the case) – also なら
農家 【のうか】 farmhouse
自慢 【じまん】 pride
畑 【はたけ】 field
収穫 【しゅうかく】 to harvest or gather
~ばかり just
語り合う 【かたりあう】 to talk or chat
積み重ねる 【つみかさねる】 to pile or build up
根っこ 【ねっこ】 roots
こうして in this way
知り得る 【しりえる】 to get to know
すなわち in other words
お客様 【おきゃくさま】 guests or, as in this case, customers
公開 【こうかい】 to open or present
心から 【こころから】 sincerely, geniunely
提供する 【ていきょうする】 to contribute or offer
さて well then
違う 【ちがう】 to differ
独自 【どくじ】 independent
基準 【きじゅん】 standards
設ける 【もうける】 to set up or establish
できるだけ as much as possible
農薬 【のうやく】 agricultural chemicals
約束 【やくそく】 promise
さらに furthermore
外部 【がいぶ】 external
中立 【ちゅうりつ】 neutral
機関 【きかん】 institution or organization
~とともに along with
まもる to protect or uphold
厳しい 【きびしい】 strict or severe
チェック check
おかげさまで thanks to (you)
評価 【ひょうか】 evaluation
得る 【える】 to gain
お礼 【おれい】 thanks
想い 【おもい】 feeling, emotion
知る 【しる】 to know
ご意見 【ごいけん】 polite form of 意見, opinion
いただく to receive (humble)
~ようになる to become able to (indicates a change)
でも as well
持つ 【もつ】 to have or hold
伝える 【つたえる】 to express
感動 【かんどう】 emotion, impression
お互い 【おたがい】 each other
関係 【かんけい】 relationship
輪 【わ】 circle, wheel, ring
広がる 【ひろがる】 to widen or spread
~こそ especially
使命 【しめい】 duty or mission

*I have chosen this time not to include some basic verbs (eat, go, see, et cetera) that I assume everyone knows, as well as the こそあど words, question words, and so on. If there is anything you don’t understand, leave a comment and I’ll also be happy to provide more!

直訳 (literal translation):
Making Japan’s food more tasty and more safe.
Putting power into the word “more”

   What “Food with faces you can see” is aiming for is a higher level of reassurance, safety, and taste. First of all, we begin from searching out “producers with a wish” who can share this ideal and we have them take park in this branding. For example, in the case of “Vegetables with faces you can see,” we go to the farmers’ houses, see the fields that they take pride in, eat the just harvested vegetables, and have a chat. The accumulation of these kinds of experiences are the roots of this brand.
   In this way, we present the “faces” of the producers we’ve gotten to know — in other words, food was made by what kind of person in what way — to our customers. We are providing foods that our customers can feel genuinely safe eating.
   So then where is the difference between “safe” and “more safe”?
   “Foods with faces you can see” has, first of all, set up independent standards (for example, in the case of “Vegetables with faces you can see,” we have five promises, such as not using agricultural chemicals as much as possible). Furthermore, we, along with external, neutral organizations, are strictly checking that these standards are maintained. This is what we think of as “safety at a higher level.”

   Thanks to this, “Food with faces you can see” is being highly evaluated by our customers. We’ve been able to receive opinions like, “I wanted to say thank you because it was delicious,” or “I want to know what thought goes into it” and so on.
   The “faces” are also the producers’ “wishes.” We express the producers’ feelings, with their high wishes, to our customers and we express our customer’s impressions that the food was delicious to the producers — in this way, the “makers” and the “eaters” form a relationship where they can see each others’ faces and the ring of “Making Japan’s food’s more tasty and more safe” goes on spreading.
   We think that this especially is the mission of “Foods with faces you can see.”

意訳 (slightly more liberal translation):
Making Japan’s food tastier and safer
Putting real power behind the idea of expecting more

   What Food with a Face aims to provide is a greater level of reassurance, safety, and taste. We start from searching out producers who share this dream of ours and bringing them into our brand. For example, for our Veggies with a Face program, we go straight to the farmers’ houses to see the fields that they take so much pride in and eat their freshly harvested vegetables. Then we have a chat and get to know these producers as people. Getting to know more and more of these people has provided the roots of our brand.
   Through this process we get to present the faces of the producers we’ve gotten to know to our customers — in other words, we can tell them what who made their food and how. We can provide foods that our customers will feel genuinely safe eating.
   So just what is the difference between “safe food” and “safer food”?
   Our Food with a Face products all have to live up to our independent standards. For example, our Veggies with a Face have to make five promises, including avoiding agricultural chemicals as much as possible, to be part of our line-up. And that’s not all. With the help of external, neutral organizations, we strictly check that these standards are being maintained. This is what we think of as “a higher level of safety.”

   Thanks to the support of our producers and valued customers like you, our Food with a Face project has been getting great acclaim. We’ve been happy to hear comments like, “I just wanted to say thank you because the food was delicious,” and “I want to know what thought goes into my food” and so on.
   The faces we get to introduce to you also represent the producers’ wishes and spirit. We express their earnest feelings to our customers and we express our customer’s impressions of the food’s quality back to the producers — by doing this, the “makers” and the “eaters” form a relationship where they can actually see each others’ faces and the circle of people trying to make Japan’s food’s better and safer goes on spreading.
   We think that this is the real mission of Food with a Face.

Mmm, spinach. Which is ほうれんそう, by the way. Thank you, Mr Hamabe.


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