Saturday, March 26, 2011

“And you realize you didn’t know anything.”

Oh, Japanese TV. I can’t tell if the current program is a regularly scheduled one or an emergency, how-to-survive-disaster one.

Two comedians enter a convenience store with two girl-group members. The latter pick out several items, and claim they are going to make lasagna.

Their “ingredients” include:

Hamburger bread: a flat roll with a whole patty baked into the middle. They detach the two parts, put the bread as a bottom “crust”, and crumble the meat on top.

Milk pudding: which they mash together with

Tomato juice: to make a sauce.

Some kind of italian-seasoned crispy cracker-stick: crumbled on top.

Then into the microwave for a minute. They claim it’s delicious but I think I’d have to close my eyes and hold my nose – and possibly remove my sense of texture – before I could enjoy the result.

What is this supposed to prove? That even when all the (admittedly rather tasty) prepared bento lunches and riceballs are sold out of the convenience stores, one can still look like you’ve gone to the effort of a “home-made” “meal”? If that’s the best you can do, I’d prefer to just eat the original packages – at least they make no pretense on being anything other than junk food. This concoction is an insult to the name of lasagna – frankly, it’s an insult to the name of food bought for about a hundred yen at a convenience store.


But Japan can never miss out on an educational opportunity – once classes started again, the English teachers taught our students some new words.

“Does anyone know what jishin is, in English?”

No one did, so I wrote it on the board and had them repeat after me – earthquake is especially hard for the Japanese tongue to pronounce what with the combined r and th sounds.

“Okay, does anyone know what tsunami is?”

Trick question.

One inventive young kid volunteered, “Big Water?”

Another tried, “Storm?” No, that’s arashi.

The Japanese teacher of English made another well-intended but misguided attempt. “Tsunami is like tofu and natto – what do they both have in common?”

Tofu, of course, is the curd from soy beans – natto is the fermented form of the same.

"Tsunami is like soybeans,” one student tried out.

“Tsunami is sticky-sticky,” said another definitively.

I saw what he was getting at, but I knew the students wouldn’t. Tsunami, like tofu and sushi and futon and samurai, is the same in English as it is in Japanese. Natto, though essentially in the same criteria, is so rarely spoken of outside Japan – and Japanese expatriate areas of the West - that it’s a moot point.

2 comments: said...

mommy, raney, and I and two mutual friends of raney and I went out to a indian restaurant, last night, march 27th to celebrate our mutual birthdays. Indian food is remarkaable vegetarian and remarkeddedly light and flavorful. the cilantro makes it. you food blog on lasagna got me going, plus it is two in the morning. I want to call you, ut I can't find your number. love you dad. I have confidence in your ability to handle this situation. mush on

Anonymous said...

i am taking care of myselflove dad