COVID Japan: Venturing Into a Japanese Dive Bar

Ueno Tokyo, Pre-COVID Japan

I eventually made my way to the counter and ordered a beer, plus some cabbage with miso from the pickled Japanese geezer behind the clear curtain. His mask was pulled down into a decorative chinstrap.

“What?” he yelled into the plastic.

“What?” I yelled back.

So we stood and yelled “what” a few more times before he handed me a glass of potato shochu and a plate of grilled flounder. Well, those were my second choices, so good enough. I returned to my assigned space between two tall, translucent dividers.

A young Japanese woman from a nearby table leaned around a roll of plastic descending from the ceiling and announced in slurred English, “I’m a golf club.”

Continue reading “COVID Japan: Venturing Into a Japanese Dive Bar”

Japanese Snack Bars and Some Tough Love

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”