[The American Years]

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Let the Games Begin...

Cherry Blossoms in a tree near the office.

Sorry for the lack of focus. My camera has jetlag too.

There haven’t been updates for a while. Because I haven’t been in Japan for while. Now all that’s changed. Not only am I in Japan, and have been since April 1 (Happy Birthday to Joe Walusek!) but I’ve been without a reliable internet connection. So I’ve been storing up tidbits for the blog.

Now it’s time to share my tidbits. I mean that in the nicest way possible.

Let’s start with my arrival into Nagoya last Saturday. There are two lanes of passport control when you enter most countries. One for citizens and one for foreigners. I am a bit of a hybrid (how’s that for product placement!). I am a foreign resident with a reentry permit. So I come through the Japanese Citizen’s line. And it really bothered some people to see a foreigner coming through their line.

First the helper out front was pointing me toward the foreigner’s lines. I had to show him the sticker in my passport and give him an “Eee Desune” (‘It’s OK, isn’t it?’) for him to let me by. Then a very friendly lady just couldn’t stand to see me make a fool of myself. She came up to me in line and struggled to get some English out. “I think mistake. Japanese only.”

She was very nice. I don’t know how she spotted me. If you know me you know that I don’t like to stand out in a crowd. I was only 18inches taller and 100% gaijin-er than everyone else there. I couldn’t have drawn more attention to myself had I been outfitted with a one-man-band getup, actuating the bass drum and the cymbal with alternating steps.

But I got through OK. I raised some eyebrows with my ‘unaccompanied items’ customs form which claimed 37 bottles of wine and liquor arriving in my shipment. That got a “Sugoi” (‘Super!’) from a customs agent. Had I known the Japanese for “Kegger at my house” I would have used it.


I had a few minutes on my first morning here to get a little breakfast near the hotel before I had to meet my relocation agent to get let into the house. Found a nice little coffee type shop, with pictures of omelets in the front window. Perfect. I approached the counter and said omelet in my best Japanese accent: “Ah-Mu-Reh-To”. (Aside: Omelet and Amulet probably have the same pronunciation in Japanese. I’ll do more research and find if people ever wear omelets around their necks on accident.) Nice girl brought out a menu to show the omelets they had. It was in English even. It had three options: Rice Omelet (traditional). Rice Omelet (Japanese Sauce). Rice Omelet (House Sauce).

Hmm, decisions decisions. I picked the traditional one. I am a firm believer in tradition, after all. Even if tradition means putting rice inside eggs and putting ketchup on it. And serving it with a cabbage salad.

Don’t get me wrong, it actually tasted fine. And their coffee was good. But it was a further reminder that I’m not in Kansas anymore. And a further further reminder that the kids will have some pretty big food challenges over here. Kathleen, bring cracker packs wherever you go.

1 comment:

blogon said...

You may not know this, but my name at the Dr.'s offices in L.A. was Re-ah La-wenz. It's actually my Japanese name. Little known fact. I'm guessing it would entitle me to a mean rice ah-ma-reto. Although, rice & huevos is a frightening concept for me. Any avocado in that?