Japan, Part 1 (of a million)

“Dear Everybody,
A hamburger eaten when you’re alone isn’t very tasty. But when you’re feeling energetic, with a smile on your face, and in love…that’s when the hamburgers really taste delicious.
Thank you.
Dear Everybody,
To find a shop which serves the best hamburgers in town isn’t too difficult. What’s really difficult, and more important, in my opinion, is to find a true friend who’s always happy to eat with you.
Thank you.”
That is the mysterious message written on the glass I’m using to drink water, and although it’s sort of the truth, it leaves some unanswered questions.
How can you eat a hamburger with a smile on your face? Does the manager of this establishment insinuate he will be your true friend, or does he just hope you find one and bring them in with you?
And I assume it’s an establishment that made the glass, but I don’t see a name anywhere. Maybe the glass company just wants people to enjoy hamburgers.
So many questions. Such is Japan.
I’ve been avoiding writing ever since I stepped off the plane, because I already had so much to write, I dreaded sitting down and tying my experiences together with a compositional beginning, middle, and end, where everyone learns a life lesson, and you are a better person for having read it.
Well, I guess I can’t do all that, so I should just come out and tell you that last night, I had fried octopus balls. Well, if the person I described it to is not a liar, what I mean is parts of octopus scooped into a ball shape, not the reproductive organs of an octopus.
Still, though. I have to admit I felt a little nauseous after I found out what it was. And, yes, I realize that’s ridiculous. I also ate eel happily on the plane ride over, thinking it was tofu, and when my friend Nancy informed me what it was three days later, yeah, I felt a little loopy.
Then today I stopped by a Denny’s, which is so unlike any Denny’s you could imagine, and I had a Cobb Salad with a side of fries (cue theme song: “Proud to Be an American”). The fries came out with a strange pink sauce that, um, had tiny pink spheres in it. I started chowing down on it, thinking it tasted a little like mayonnaise, when it occurred to me that the tiny spheres may be fish eggs. I guess there was a hint of fishy.
I asked the waitress in broken Japanese, and she spelled out what I later looked up to be “taste of cod sauce.” Now…is it taste of cod because it IS cod? Or is it like tartar sauce that you’re supposed to taste WITH cod? And fries, for some reason?
Once again, the food actually didn’t taste too bad until I thought of what it might be.
Well, I’ll continue to embark on my culinary exploration of Japan (read: I am going to Ma-ku-don-a-ra-du’s tomorrow), and I’ll be sure to update soon with real happenings.
I’d also like to recount my application process, since it started nearly a year ago, and I just got here now.
So, yes, things to come! Let’s enjoy!

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