Yesterday was interesting.
I got up at 8 a.m. I was freezing, and my throat was killing me. The window had been leaking cold air into my room, and it was right above where my head is on the bed. (Or was– I moved the other way on the bed so my head and feet are reversed.)
I felt lousy for most of the morning. The funny thing is, most of the people I saw on campus were coughing and hacking too. So apparently I wasn’t the only one who got caught in the draft. And no, the window was closed. It just wasn’t well-insulated.
Class got moved to from 12:40 to 1:40, only I didn’t remember being told that. They probably told me in Japanese, which explains why I screwed up. The rest of my classes this week will go from 1:40-4:40, so now I have mornings totally free. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with that now.
After class, I finally went to the local Denny’s. First off, I saw no chopsticks. All I saw was silverware. Sorry, guys. No souvenirs for you.
Let me just say that every meal I’ve had in Japan up until now has been very good. I was surprised to discover that Denny’s in Japan is somehow worse than Denny’s in the U.S. My server was very nice, but the food she brought me was poison.
Drinks. What would I like to drink? How about ginger ale? No, they don’t have that. So she gave me a colorful drink menu to choose from. Hmm… Okay, how about pink lemonade? It can’t be all that bad, right? She brings me something bright pink. It turns out it’s pink lemonade soda so sweet it would put a 5-year old into insulin shock.
I’ll have water then.
Then the puzzle of settling on actual food to eat. My confidence unshaken, I perused the menu. Hmm… American Club Sandwich. I can’t read this other stuff, but the picture looks good.
Well, it looks like a sandwich…
I’ll get a side of fries with that, too. What the heck.
The fries came as an appetizer. They were taramasala mayo fries, I think. All I know is that they came with a pink sauce with little red dots in it. It wasn’t bad. It tasted like mayo mixed with something. So far, not bad.
Then came the sandwich.
I’m getting nauseous just thinking about it. It was a double-decker club sandwich all right, but the first deck consisted of bacon, 2 fried eggs, and ketchup.
Where I come from, that’s already a meal.
We call it breakfast.
The second deck was some sort of chicken in a sweet sauce or gravy, lettuce, and mayo.
And that’s something we call lunch, or maybe dinner.
You might think it doesn’t sound too bad.
And you would be wrong.
They are all foods I like. And I’m actually amazed that I got it down without bringing it back up. Describing it later to someone, I could actually feel the normal meal I had later try to make an escape from my stomach.
So yeah, Denny’s. Service was great. Food… ugh. Throws self on sword to relieve stomach pain.
I don’t know of any Americans who would think, “Hmm, I think I’ll have a club sandwich. Esther, let’s fry some eggs and bacon, and hey, get some of that chicken and gravy out!”
Just as much as Americans don’t understand Japan, Japanese don’t get us. “American” gets stuck on the most random stuff here: it’s put on stuff that no American (well, no American in his right mind, anyway) would ever eat.
I think it’s just an excuse to for one group of Japanese to try to fool the rest of the country into trying to eat something they wouldn’t ordinarily eat.
“Hey, I know you wouldn’t normally eat a bacon and egg and chicken and gravy sandwich, but you know, those Americans do, and they’re so wild! Now you eat it too, so you can be wild!”
“Now have this American ice cream. We filled a big paint bucket with ice cream…”
Not much else happened yesterday. I spent the evening recovering from that meal mistake, then got a snack at the conbini. Thank you, conbini. You saved me again.
Oh I Looove Trash
Trash sorting is the most disgusting thing ever. I’ll have a hard time taking the shoe-switching thing seriously now that I’ve seen what the landlady does to improperly sorted trash.
If you’ve never been to Japan, let me explain. It’s a small country, with little room for things like landfills, so you’re not allowed to throw anything away.
You have to pack out all of your trash with you, because you will never see a public trash can. If there was such a mythical beast, it would be crammed full of trash that people didn’t know what to do with, or just got tired of carrying around with them all the time.
Okay, that’s only half true.
Trash is supposed to be sorted into burnable trash, paper, plastic/non-burnable trash, PET (plastic bottles), cans, and glass. I’ve been sorting as best as I can, and taking it down to the kitchen, which also serves as Sorting Central.
But apparently, people fail sorting on a daily basis, and the landlady has decided that if you don’t put trash in the right place, she’ll put it ON THE PREP TABLE BY THE TRASH. So when you come into the kitchen, you can see a lovely (and by lovely, I mean repulsive and disgusting) pile of Other People’s Rejected Trash. Things like Kleenex with hairballs, old food containers, old dirty chopsticks, cigarette butts… I even saw a pair of torn dirty underwear.
Let me repeat that last item again, just in case you missed it. Someone threw away their underwear because it was in such terrible shape, and instead of winding up in the trash, it wound up on the prep table in the kitchen by the trash can.
This is the same prep table people make their food on.
So yeah. Japan? Never taking the shoe thing with a straight face again.
Oh, and I’m staying the hell away from the kitchen.
Now I’m hoarding all of my trash until the last day, where I’ll just ninja-sort it and flee, unless I can find a trashcan, which will probably be next to the unicorn and the leprechaun.
By the way, hotels are great for the simple reason that they have trashcans in the rooms, AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO SORT IT.
Oh, you can find recycling bins for the various things you buy from vending machines, but that’s 99% cans and bottles, which does me no good at all.