Monday, October 24, 2005

Chicken Hearts and Japanese commodes

Last night I went with Ana and Damien to have dinner with some Japanese friends of Ana's. We went to an o-konomiyaki restaurant. For less than $30, we got a set course dinner and 2 hours of all-you-can-drink goodness. This kind of restaurant has a large grill in the middle of the table, with a wooden ledge around it for you to put your plates, drinks, etc on. You cook your own food and enjoy.

The first course consisted of two plates, one filled with veggies(pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots and eggplant) and meat(chicken hearts, beef, normal chicken and pork), the other contained seafood(a couple sliced up squid, scallops, and a big prawn for each of us) and a huge mount of bean sprouts. Plop it on the grill and away you go. The chicken hearts were pretty much the only thing I didn't care for, they were a bit fibrous and chewy. But the rest was fun, especially cooking the prawns because they changed color. At least they weren't alive like my last seafood encounter. Course 2 was that wonderful o-konomiyaki in a few different styles, the original Osaka style, the Hiroshima style which adds ramen noodles, and the Tokyo style called monjayaki. Course 3 was yakisoba, grilled noodles, cabbage and bean sprouts. Yum. A salad appeared somewhere in the middle of dinner and vanished just as quickly. So did the roughly 5 bottles of sake that I demolished over the course of the meal. The thing with paying so much for all-you-can-drink is, you feel you have to drink as much as possible in the alloted time. Unfortunately, I had to work the next day.

We planned it early because Ana's friends and I all work on Mondays, and Ana & Damien were headed to Disneyland the next morning, so I got to bed alright. But something, either the overload of meat or the sake got to me as I was on the train going to work.

Here's the thing. Most of Japan is alright when it comes to bathrooms. You can almost always find a Western-style toilet wherever you go. At my previous schools, there were always one Western- and one Japanese-style toilet in the teachers' bathroom. Then I got to this school. This one has only Japanese-style squat toilets. I can understand being in Morocco and all there is is a plastic square with raised footplates for you to stand on and do your business. It's a developing country. But in a junior high school in a big city in Japan, there are only squatters. Try this at home: stand with your feet about 8 inches apart, then squat down as far as you can keeping your feet flat the whole time. Now imagine being in a slightly nauseous state of being and using the toilet. That about sums up my day.


Anonymous said...

In the army in Germany there was a curreywurst stand outside of the compound where GI's bought a late night snack of curreywurst and what ever(1 - 2 AM) and then headed in. The next day some of them "worshiped the throne" for some time. Needless to say they were careful after that about how much they drank or how hard they hit that late night snack. Some things and booze just don't mix. And some of them had to be "pursuaded" by repeating the experience a few times before they got the message.

Your Philmont Tentmate.

Jeremy said...

Thanks, Dad :) I'll keep that in mind.