That there in the foreground, my friends, is a Potato Tornado and the only tenuous connection this post has to food.
Last month my husband forced me to make a day trip to what may be the most ridiculous thing this world has ever seen - a life-sized Gundam in Shiokaze Park, Japan.
Gundam, for those who are unaware, were the precursors to Transformers, but unlike those Western upstarts, Gundam were not robots with feelings (and lips), but rather huge vehicular suits for Gundam pilots to steer.
Since their humble beginnings as an anime series, there have been countless iterations in all types of media such as movies, manga, novels and video games, and this year sees the 30th Anniversary of Gundam, culminating in the construction of a 18 metre, 1/1 scale, life-size statue of the iconic Gundam model RX-78-2.
Massive hand to grasp you Fay Wray style
The site chosen for this awesome monument to Gundam was North Shiokaze Park in Odaiba, Tokyo.
We arrived bright and early on a Thursday morning, yet the crowds were already packed at what was basically a festival of Gundam, with tonnes of security, a merchandise queue which stretched about 200 metres, and dozens of food stalls peddling wares such as yakisoba, kakigori and the aforesaid Potato Tornado (carved from a sole potato and available with butter, cayenne or soy powder sprinkles).
Although initially rather cynical about the whole affair, like every other pilgrim I ended up falling under the spell of Lifesize Gundam, partly because every 15 minutes its eyes lit up and it started talking in an emo voice, and partly because every half-hour clouds of smoke billowed out of every orifice.
We queued no less than three times to stand in between Lifesize Gundam's legs, to stare up at its awesome, metallic groin and to pose for pictures whilst making peace signs.
Rather sweetly / madly, Lifesize Gundam recently even presided over the wedding of a true Gundam otaku couple.
There were over 500 applications for the chance to be joined in holy matrimony under the gaze of the RX-78-2, and the lovely picture below is from the winning wedding and is courtesy of Shibuya246. You can read all about the Gundam wedding at Shibuya246's blog here.
Sadly, this gigantic paean to man's obsession with toys is now in the process of being dismantled and its fate is unknown.
But we were there. Oh yes, we were.
See the Lifesize Gundam in action: