The Tanuki gingerly picked up a piece of shrimp sushi with his chopsticks, dipped it ever so lightly into the soy sauce, then promptly dropped the whole thing in his lap. He looked down dejectedly as it rolled onto the floor. I thought briefly of remarking, “Impressive chopstick skills,” since that’s what Japanese folks typically say to me, but instead I pretended not to notice and simply ordered us two more beers, plus a shochu for Imada-san. We Japanese are polite like that.
Thanksgiving in Japan started with a trip to Ten Thousand Fucking Poodles. That’s the establishment formerly known as Starbucks. Know how Europe has all these wonderful cafes with outdoor seating? Yeah, not Japan. If it’s 22 degrees Celsius, everyone’s all “atsui, atsui,” so hot. Or else it’s 20 degrees and everyone complains “samui, samui,” oh, it’s so cold. Japanese people love nature, as long as it’s exactly 21 degrees.
Continue reading “Thanksgiving in Japan”
A reader named mintyroll recently commented:
The “Japanese People Don’t Want you to Speak Japanese” part is one of those minor things I’ve always been afraid of whenever I think of how my first trip to Japan will be . . . Consequently, it’s made me want to reach at least fluent level of Japanese before I ever make the trip.
So mintyroll—-is that a Spanish name?—-well, I can’t say what Your Japan will be like, but I can tell you about My Japan. And maybe we can extrapolate a bit.
Life in Japan as a Foreigner
Take yesterday, for example. It was a hot, gray day, and I finished work early then hustled to the station. Running up the stairs, I found myself surrounded by school kids, who immediately began yelling, “Hello! Hello!” in English. That warms my heart. Or maybe it’s just the humidity, I never can tell. Continue reading “Is Speaking English in Japan Unavoidable?”
So here I am rushing home from my Japanese grocery store last month, and it’s dark out and I’m carrying bags and bags full rice and vegetables and seafood. This is all part of my new diet plan, whereby I eat healthily by schlepping home nutritious groceries, which also counts as exercise. So that’s a win-win. Anyway, the road’s got no sidewalks and it was a dangerous sensory overload of headlights and engine noise as I hugged the buildings to my left and clutched all these plastic bags in front of me so they didn’t get smacked by a Honda or Nissan or something.
Then as I was hurrying, I passed a small Japanese child, crying like mad. Continue reading “Japanese Snack Bars and Some Tough Love”