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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sashimi Sharades

E@L went to dinner in Tokyo tonight with a female colleague who is Japanese, but who was born and grew up in Brazil. When we decided on fish for dinner and found a nearby restaurant the limitations of such a multicultural upbringing became clear.

The menus were entirely in Japanese and after a few minutes turning the pages she admitted that couldn’t read Kanji script very well...

Portuguese is her natural language and if her Japanese is anything like her English - she tends to speak in rather short, staccato bursts, translating phrases in her head, I presume - then that would explain why we had several waiters in turn trying to figure out what was going on. Of course they naturally assumed she could read the script and were mystified at her questions...

What she was saying and the replies she was translating from the waiters just didn’t help me understand what was on the menu - "Well, what DO they sell?" I'd point at the menu ask, "What's that?", and she'd try to play charades with the types of creature she was searching for... I managed swordfish, but I think she meant barracuda or garfish, because what came was a section, about a child's forearm wide (not that I've eaten a child's forearm, unless they've deserved it), of blue-silver, maybe fresh mackerel, that went onto table-top griller. I earned a high five for guessing octopus (don’t ask how she did it)…

OK, maybe you had to be there to get the joke completely, but a Japanese woman giving charades because she could read Japanese and didn't know the English words, hey I thought it was a pretty funny concept.

We worked out the few sashimi words that either I recalled or that she could read - maguro, uni, hotate, sake - and some we didn't - salmon roe, for example - then the chef himself came over to help, and we eventually got a nice meal going, washed down with a few Kirin biru.

The meal included a few serves of anchovy-like fish that I grilled to perfection, my son will be pleased to hear.



And on the way home we popped into a 7/11 equivalent and found something else of interest - only in Japan could you get away with selling this...



E@L

19 comments:

Momentary Madness said...

No chipper anywhere?

Skippy-san said...

That's one of the more interesting developments of Japanese history. Evidently in Southern Brazil there are a couple of towns that were settled by Japanese over a 100 years ago. As the population intermarried evidently it produces some very beautiful girls.
But the old language has died in usage.

Indiana said...

Is she hot?

expat@large said...

Mom: for breakfast, soggy chips.

Skip: she is from Sao Paolo.

Indy: no, unfortunately, funny but not hot - and married. She bought a Suica(?sp) card for the train and bus journeys to our office, rather than fossick for coins like most of us - "It has-a chang-ed my life!" she said, and giggled.

Indiana said...

Ahhh so she has the Japanese giggle thing down pat huh? Have fun :-)

expat@large said...

Indy: yep,the coy giggle, pity she looks like a dog with a pituatary tumour. What? Me, superficial?

Crish said...

expats can face language problem. i can go only English countries because i know English and Hindi.
Thanks
Expats

expat@large said...

Thanks Crish: not sure if that's a genuine comment or spam, but interesting site.

This girl is 3rd Country Expat Kid - she is a foreigner now in her "home" country.

Jay said...

Protein Water, eh? [Foul bukkake prop comment deleted by me on second thought.] That stuff must put the body into a tizzy if you drink to much. Your kidneys won't know what to do, shut down and esplode or pee a yellow river.

savannah said...

so, send me a postcard, sugar! xoxox

Paula said...

Response to 'Godless Quote':-

"Thomas Jefferson may not have been a Brother in a Lodge of Freemasons, but he had all of the prerequisites for membership in the Craft. His life could serve as a role model for all Masons; and, like Voltaire, he fulfilled the obligations of our Fraternity. First and foremost, he was a Freeman."

And the 'Great Architect of the Universe' is...? When one gets to the 33rd degree of Freemasonry, they are finally informed it's actually 'Lucifer'...

Christian Information Generator.

expat@large said...

Paula: huh?

Paula said...

I did a bit of research into Freemasony a while back, and it was surprising what I discovered - have a few ancestors who were members of these secret societies, and the ceremonies and oaths taken were bizarre and quite grizzly actually, black Masses etc... (sort of like putting curses on yourself and your descendants). Interesting to look it up! Very anti-Christian of course...

I know it might sound nuts - but worth doing research! Freemasonry sounds innocent, but in reality it's not the case at all.

expat@large said...

Paula: as the Atheist Quote Generator finds a different quote for everyone who logs on (refresh the page and check), people will be saying "huh?" because they will have no idea what the quote was you are talking about...

No-one is questioning the validity of your freemasonry research, just that it must seem like a completely random topic you've chosen to comment on.

knobby said...

"Finally!" you're thinking. "New, completely inexplicable traffic!"

Paula said...

On topic:-
Hope those fish were dead before you cooked them! (I still remember the live oysters I had to grill for you once!)

Off topic:-
RE: atheist quote generator -
If one quotes someone's words, shouldn't one know or be able to resonate with the author and what they said, and why they said them?

But as long as it's an atheistic quote you and so many others agree with it, huh?

Just some thoughts...

(Love and peace)

dh said...

Some Freemasons like fish too you know. Some of them speak Portuguese.

Tim Footman said...

It's an interesting facet of human migration; I know quite a few Thais who grew up in the West. They speak Thai quite fluently, but can barely read it, and can't even start to write.

Paula said...

Yes Dick - a common scenario that one! - and your comment is very on-topic.. (hope people understand my humour - I think you do, but I suspect some don't. - oh well!)

As Ned Kelly said before they hung him, "Such is Life!"..

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