How Japan Killed my Vegetarianism

“Okay, how ‘bout a sheep. Would you have sex with a sheep?” I asked.

“Mmm,” Ryan replied. “Boy sheep or girl?”

“Like it matters?”

“If it’s a boy sheep, that’s gay. Okay, let’s say I bought a hamburger, would you eat it?”

“Nope,” I said, “No way.”

“For a hundred dollars?”

This was twelve years ago. Ry and I were driving Route 1 down from San Francisco, winding through Big Sur as the sun and clouds painted patterns on the Pacific. We had loads of time to dream up sophomoric questions.

“Would you eat a person for a hundred dollars?” I replied. “Like a manburger?” Continue reading “How Japan Killed my Vegetarianism”

Why are Japanese so Skinny?

The crazy thing about working in a Japanese office is that, while knowing absolutely nothing substantial about your co-workers, you can still observe their most intimate habits. But maybe that’s any office, actually. I mean, when I worked in the U.S., there were a lot of folks I didn’t really know either. Although it seems like avoiding personal disclosure is one of those Japanese “things.” Eh, probably just my imagination.

Among the things I still don’t know in my Japanese office are anybody’s actual name, so I like to refer to my coworkers as Skeletor, Skeletor Jr., Ms. WhoAreYouAgain, and The Butt. The first three are Japanese, while The Butt, so-named because of her seated resemblance to an isosceles triangle, is, predictably, American. Continue reading “Why are Japanese so Skinny?”

The Easiest Japanese Food

Every once in a while, I discover something in Japan so amazing that I’m compelled to share it with the world. Fortunately, that feeling passes after a few beers, so I don’t actually have to do any work, which I’m allergic to. I’m pretty sure that if I was ever given a job involving something like a shovel I’d break out in hives. I’m not even sure which button you push to make the thing start.

Now, if you were to stop random Japanese people on the street and mention my name, they’d likely reply: Ken Seeroi? Oh, he’s got the sensibilities of an 80 year-old Japanese chef. Either that or, Isn’t he the dude sleeping in the park over there? Continue reading “The Easiest Japanese Food”

Hiking Japan : A Survival Guide

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved the outdoors—-exploring peaceful forest trails, sleeping under the stars, making fire from sticks. Plus the fact that you can pee basically anywhere. I conquer you, Nature. Take that.

So when I moved to Japan, the first thing I did was to look for some good hiking trails. Well, I mean, after finding a decent bar with some hot chicks, but hiking was pretty high on the list too. And eventually, I got around to some outdoorsy stuff, until one day, while following a deer path through a stand of trees, I had an epiphany. That’s when you realize stuff that’s incredibly obvious only you haven’t thought of it yet. Anyway, the epiphany said: Ken Seeroi, these two activities don’t have to be separate. Because Japan. Okay, Let me explain. Or as we say in Japanese, esprain. Continue reading “Hiking Japan : A Survival Guide”

Rice. You’re Doing it Wrong

How to Make Rice, in 7 Perfect Steps

I’ve probably made rice a thousand times, maybe more. But most were before I moved into a house with a bunch of Japanese roommates and got my ass handed to me. That’s a very humbling experience, let me tell you. Like, here’s your ass. Thanks, been looking for that.

Ah, dinnertime in the kitchen. Such a happy time. Everyone chopping vegetables, boiling noodles, and filling the room with the fragrance of burning fish. That acts as Japanese Fabreeze for your clothes and hair.

I measured out some rice and water, and put it in a pot on the stove.

“Just like a gaijin,” scoffed one of my housemates, busily stirring a non-stick pan with a metal fork. Continue reading “Rice. You’re Doing it Wrong”