The honorable veggies and the anal retentive chef…

Let me first begin by clarifying that this is not a reference to Tara… just to be clear on that.  🙂

Today our entertainment for the locals was provided by Tara.  (Tomorrow, it will be me taking my show on the road as I once again attempt the daring feat of eating, talking, and exchanging two-handed business cards without pouring my drink into someone’s lap. At no times will my hands leave my arms!)

Today, was Tara and her improvisational sign language demonstration for air-freshener (with the holding of the nose and the waving of the hands), which first mystified and then cracked up the store clerk, who did eventually recover and race off in search of such a thing. Then on to the veggie aisle where she successfully retrieved veggies– and not just any veggies, HONORABLE veggies! Honorable daikon (radishes) to be exact.  Now to be sure, they are tasty little tubers, but they aren’t usually treated to such respect by those who shred and boil them for munchies. (for those who share my sense of humor or believe radishes DO in fact deserve daily honorifics, this.)

All of this led to a delicious dinner which in turn led to the taking out of the trash by yours truly and this is where the anal retentive chef comes in–as played by Phil Hartman on SNL. I couldn’t find this particular clip on hulu or youtube, but for those of you who remember this character, there was an episode in which he painstaking wraps his garbage like so:

“And how do we throw things out? Okay. We take our paper towel, two pieces, unbroken, lay it out neatly, dump the refuse inside, arranged neatly … let’s take these little nasties we separated earlier, put that back … fold over carefully, making sure the corners are square … and ... we take a piece of aluminum foil, and we place our refuse onto the foil, and fold over very carefully – this way, it won’t leak onto the other garbage. Aluminum foil is such a miracle product! It’s really an extraordinary product. Alright, and then we take a brown, paper sandwich bag … place the refuse inside … and … oh no, this bag is torn.”

Welcome to our life.  Japan is very conscientious about garbage separation.  One bin for plastic bottles, one for plastic wrap, one for metal, one for glass, one for cardboard, one for burnables, etcetcetc. Thou shalt not dispose of the plastic bottle in the same bin as it’s cap, for lo they are different kinds of plastic.  So as I carefully removed the plastic wrap from the styrofoam which held the meat we had for dinner– washed them both– separated them into their baggies– took the baggies (sealed, of course) to the trash room and deposited them into their separately labeled receptacles, Phil Hartman ran merrily about my head. Anyway, this builds character, I’m sure of it and when we come back to the States– LOOK OUT.  We will be kings of the trash room and lords of recycling!

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3 Responses to The honorable veggies and the anal retentive chef…

  1. tarainjapan says:

    To clarify, the veggies are honorable because of my somewhat limited Japanese skills… and inability to identify a daikon on sight. i had to ask if “this is a daikon?” to a random Japanese girl, who giggled maniacally and said “hai”. after a moment’s reflection i realized i used the form of “this” that’s generally used with people and means something like “the honorable”. so… i purchased an honorable daikon.

  2. Calley says:

    As a friend of mine once said – when travelling abroad, it is best to remember that you are imposing upon the locals, asking a great deal of them to help you survive their country. So, what you can do to repay them is to ensure that at least five times a day, you must do something to make them laugh, and language and cultural errors are an endless bank account to repay that travellers debt 😉

    Also, totally awesome about the recycling. I guess when you have an insane number of millions of people on a small island, one has to get serious about recycling – go Japan!

  3. Calley says:

    ps – Jen, I thought it was standard protocol to forbid any actual consumption of food or drink at social events for that reason? 😉 Hands are for handshakes and business cards, and food and drinks are for lesser mortals! 😉

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