June 28, 2006

Bush and Koizumi will make a pilgrimmage to Graceland.

It's immensely charming, isn't it? Japanese Prime Minster Junichiro Koizumi is a huge Elvis fan and our President -- whose predecessor was much more Elvis-y -- will humor his guest with a trip to the American shrine.

21 comments:

Goesh said...

-I suppose it is better than taking him down to the ranch to poach some deer

MadisonMan said...

Graceland is on Hwy 51. Head south on Stoughton Road!

Part of me is in awe that the Prime Minister admits to being such a huge Elvis fan.

Ron said...

Elvis used to eat a dish he called "Fool's Gold:" a pound of fried bacon and a pound of Velvetta are poured into enough bread dough for both, (bacon grease included of course!) and then baked into a loaf.

If thinly sliced, an American Sushi perhaps?

Ron said...

correction: Maybe "Fool's Gold" is more an American fugu?

Internet Ronin said...

I wonder if the Prime Minister will dress like Elvis when he goes, or grease back his notoriously unruly hair in honor of the occasion.

Buddy Larsen said...

Elvis has been huge in Japan for years--from back when the PM was a kid, really. That bacon and Velveeta actually sounds pretty tasty, too.

TWM said...

I hope he isn't disappointed. Graceland is so much smaller than you imagine.

Tibore said...

MadisonMan,

There are Elvis fans here and there all over the place in Asia. He may no longer be as popular as some more recent pop stars, if you count number of fans as your measure, but he's got some serious die-hards there. When I visited my mom's hometown in the Philippines -- 3 hours away from the nearest "town" barely worth the designation, nearly a day away from the nearest big city, seriously stuck in the boondocks -- we visited her old childhood friend who is now the biggest Elvis fan I've ever seen (althought I haven't been to Las Vegas yet, so I know I'm lacking some comparisons). All his movies, all his albums (vinyl). Ridiculous number of posters. He regularly makes the pilgrimage to Graceland, and considering that it's a day-plus trip just to get to the airport, let alone the 15+ hours flight time to the mid-south part of the US, that's saying a lot.

Jeff said...

This is indeed a charming story. It began with the Prime Minister of Japan serenading the President, and now it culminates with Bush's most awesomest move ever!

Blondie said...

As someone who's too young to have seen him alive and not really a fan before, I found Graceland still pretty fascinating. Especially to see how Elvis and his home touches so many people.

Plus, you can't beat great BBQ on Beale St.

John R Henry said...

TWM said...

I hope he isn't disappointed. Graceland is so much smaller than you imagine.


But what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in tackiness.

Yes, I realize the interior design was from the 70's. But even the 70's weren't *that* tacky!

John Henry

PS-I went there last summer during death week. I almost got in a heated argument with a lady in a downtown T shirt store who asked me out of the blue "Isn't Elvis wonderful?" I mumbled that he was OK but I was not that big a fan.

It was like I had spit on the Bible or something.

I hope Koizumi and Bush have a better experience.

Bas-O-Matic said...

Plus, you can't beat great BBQ on Beale St.

11:47 AM, June 28, 2006


I can guarantee you that if you are on Beale Street and you are eating BBQ you aren't getting your moneys worth.

The best stuff, not in any particular order, is 1. Down an alley across from the Peabody, past some dumpsters and a seemingly constant pool of water; 2. South of downtown in an area you probably don't want to be after dark; 3. An inconspicuous hole in the wall in midtown; 4another inconspicuous place on the outskirts of downtown; 5) and a place out in one of the more exclusive suburbs of Memphis.

Jacob said...

Graceland is a far better place for Koizumi to make a pilgrimmage than his yearly ones to the shrine with Japanese War Criminals in it.

amba said...

For some reason this reminds me of Mikoyan going to Disneyland -- a big sign of the Khrushchev-era thaw? Was it really that long ago?

Everybody loves American pop culture. I met a coal miner and cab driver about 10 years younger than me in Ukraine, who when he was in the military in the '70s, guarding missiles aimed at, I think, Australia, kept a solemn scrapbook of patriotic poems and silhouette cut-outs. (He showed it to us; it was a beautiful relic of private propaganda.) But at the same time, he loved the Beatles. When we met, he had long since outgrown his youthful socialist fervor and become cynical, but he still loved the Beatles. We brought him that big official Beatles album-book and it made his year. His decade.

Tibore said...

Hehe! I like this part:

"Bush said... "Think about the American president traveling to Graceland with the prime minister of Japan. Let me ask you something -- 60 years ago, would you have thought that would be possible?"

Elvis didn't buy the house until 1957, so probably not..."

Tibore said...

Oh... by the way, that quote was from Jeff's link, not the Professor's BBC one.

Blondie, Bas-o: What about Corky's? I've not been to too many places in Memphis, but I've been there, and since that visit, they've totally, completely been my standard for barbequed ribs. Are you two saying there's better? 'Cause if there is, I really freakin' wanna go there next.

Eli Blake said...

amba:

Everybody loves American pop culture...

he loved the Beatles.


Wait a minute. I thought we won the Revolutionary War.

I get your point though, just your post was a bit incongruous.

As for Koizumi, he would do better to head to Las Vegas. There you can actually listen to Elvis perform live. Maybe even three Elvises.

Eli Blake said...

Heck, just two weeks ago I was in Nevada and I saw a Ritchie Valens impersonator. The guy was good, too.

Bas-O-Matic said...

Blondie, Bas-o: What about Corky's? I've not been to too many places in Memphis, but I've been there, and since that visit, they've totally, completely been my standard for barbequed ribs. Are you two saying there's better? 'Cause if there is, I really freakin' wanna go there next.

Corky's has started franchising and like most good restaraunts that do so, the need to homogenize the restaurant "brand" and the pressure of economies of scale have seriously affected the quality.

10 years ago, I'd have agreed with you. Corky's was the gold-standard for wet ribs. And if you want BBQ and you are in East Memphis, Cordova, or Collierville it's certainly good if you aren't destination dining. For the record, it is still voted the best BBQ in Memphis in the yearly Best of Memphis poll (Rendezvous, below, however gets best ribs). But I think this is due to inertia more than any thing else. A fast food joint got second place for best burger (it is a good burger, but it is hardly one of the best). Olive Garden got voted in at number three for Italian (I can think of at least one chain restaurant that is better, not to mention half a dozen local places) and Pappa Johns got number three for pizza. So obviously, name recognition counts for a lot in that thing.

Now I'd have to give it to Interstate. But I'm serious about it being in a part of town you don't want to be in after dark. Always brought up in conversations about what is the best.

The Rendezvous is widely considered to be the gold standard for dry ribs. They are excellent, but the two hour wait (on a good night) at dinner might be discouraging. I've never done lunch there, so I don't know what that's like and they only do lunch on Fridays and Saturdays. Also, don't be insulted by the wait staff. They are going to move you in and out of the restaurant as quickly as possible (once you are seated that is). If service is really, really important to you this place will probably cheese you off.

The best pulled pork is in my opinion at the BBQ Shop (must get it on the Texas toast). The ribs are OK as well. They are essentially dry ribs and are finished to order with a dry seasoning or a wet sauce (which is essentially heresy for wet ribs), but they are really good if not the best memphis has to offer. If you are in Midtown for lunch, it's worth a try.

I've never eaten at the Germantown Commisary or Cozy Corner. Cozy Corner is more of a lunch thing in a part of town I'm never in for lunch. The reaction I get from most people is "really good" but it's never really in the conversation of best Memphis BBQ. If you are downtown for lunch and must have BBQ, this is probably your choice. The Commisary is way out of the way for me but is usually talked about in reverent tones.

But what I was saying originally was that if you are eating at the BBQ restaurant on Beale street, you are not eating the best BBQ Memphis has to offer by a long shot. Tops BBQ (pulled pork only), which is essentially the local BBQ equivalent to McDonalds, is better.

Bas-O-Matic said...

They are going to move you in and out of the restaurant as quickly as possible (once you are seated that is). If service is really, really important to you this place will probably cheese you off.

Which is to say, the service is not bad, say the way service is bad in restaurants in Manhattan (no use getting mad about that either). If anything, the service is efficient. It's just that it is pretty much overly so. If you feel like they are hurrying you out of the restaurant, it is because they are. They will not substitute for your slaw, they do not serve unsweetened iced tea (and when you order it and the waiter says "sweet tea?," the waiter understood you perfectly well the first time. Order a diet coke) And they probably aren't going to be overly enthusiastic about you calling them over to attend to your specialized needs (if you can manage to make eye contact).

Balfegor said...

For some reason this reminds me of Mikoyan going to Disneyland -- a big sign of the Khrushchev-era thaw? Was it really that long ago?

Kim Jong Il's eldest son got caught when he snuck into Japan to visit Tokyo Disneyland. This was 5 years ago.

And on a somewhat different note, the Showa Emperor allegedly went around wearing a Mickey Mouse watch.