It’s funny how people often come to associate place names with products. The first time I visited the city of Kawasaki, the city that sits between sprawling Tokyo and Yokohama, I kept expecting to see Kawasaki motorcycles everywhere…but of course Kawasaki Heavy Industries is named after its founder and has no relation to the city. In Japan strawberries from Oregon are marketed heavily, and Japanese imagine that Oregon as a wonderful land where strawberries grow wild on every mountainside as a result. The other day I was talking with Mrs. J-List about Mexico — we were discussing how comparatively few Mexicans there are in Japan, perhaps due to the fact that there was never a major diaspora from Japan to Mexico as there was to Peru and Brazil. I happened to mention that two of the most famous exports from Mexico, chihuahua dogs and the peppers that go into Tabasco sauce, got their names from Mexican states, which amazed her.
I’ve yet to meet a person from Mexico in Japan, in my slightly rural home of Gunma.