☆ i heart japan,  ☆ life

Living Tall in Japan, part 22

☆ To see all of the parts in this series, click here

A room full of naked me doing karaoke was the biggest shock that I’ve had in my nine years in Japan, but it wasn’t the only one. There are a few coming soon, including the mythical used-panty vending machine, and a bloody experience on the train!

Soon after the karaoke incident, life returned to ‘normal.’ That is, if ‘normal’ means trying my first kaiten-zushi, or conveyor-belt sushi, and seeing my first studio Ghibli movie in Japanese!

Kaiten-zushi is the cheap(er), common, sort of fast-food equivalent to sushi. I loved it for those reasons– cheap and fast! Also for just how fun it is to sit at a counter and watch the plates of sushi roll by in front of you. Also, for a foreigner like me, who didn’t know any Japanese at the time, it was the perfect convenience food– no japanese required! Just take your plate and eat!

I went with Winnie (in the white) and her friend, whom I don’t remember. Winnie was my closest friend at work, and from Canada. Neither of us could read Japanese.

I mean, after mixing up your wasabi and soy sauce like I do. This isn’t very common in Japan, so you might get some stares, but nobody is going to say anything about it. At least they didn’t to me.

The first time, though, I wish that they had. I wish that someone had said something.

You see, there was soy sauce on the counter, along with chopsticks and little dishes to put the soy sauce in so that you could dip your sushi in it. I looked around for the wasabi. To me, wasabi is a MUST, and it’s true that most sushi has a tiny smidge of wasabi in between the rice and the fish, but that’s never enough for me. I like to feel the burn! Or at least a tingle. Wasabi is usually available for free if you ask for it, and it sometimes comes around the conveyor belt on a bowl or plate, where you can scoop out a tiny bit for yourself and leave the rest. I didn’t know this, though, so when I had scoured the countertop and come upon a little wooden box of green powder, I thought, neat! The wasabi here is powdered. That must make it easier to mix!

I poured some into my soy sauce, and it wasn’t mixing well. So I used more and more, until it sort of dissolved. I tasted it.

WTF! It wasn’t spicy at all! In fact, it had made the soy sauce more mild, if anything. Kind of gross, really. I had also made a mess on the counter. Only then did one of the staff speak up, in broken english.

That powder was green tea, and you were to mix it with the hot water on tap to drink.



They must have really laughed at me. XD;; And I can laugh at myself now, too. The box was labeled “green tea,” but it was in Japanese and hey, I couldn’t read. But you know what? I learned a lesson, and always looked for the wasabi elsewhere after that. XD;;

Here is the aftermath. Notice the actual wasabi on the plate, and the green tea in the cup, where it belongs. There’s still spilled powder all around the wooden tea-box. Oops. XD

And oh yes, the ghibli movie. I went to see it with Andrew, and felt like I understood the entire thing. Nope. All of the intricacies of the plot went right over my head. It was still fun, though, seeing a Ghibli movie right after its release date, on the big screen.. In Japan. Heck yeah. 😀

Life continued on through Thanksgiving, where I went to a tex-mex restaurant (El Toritos) with some American coworkers, because it was the only “American” food that we knew of, and on into December. December kicked it up a notch, though, by bringing another fax-paus and a very, very scary train incident (among other things).

Read on tomorrow to find out more! 😀 I love you all, so, so much!! *huggles everyone*

(274 geeks have read this)

Hi! This is Jamie Lynn Lano! I am a Washington State (USA) native who: ☆ Holds a Bachelors of the Arts in Media Arts & Animation from AiPx. ☆ Worked as an assistant mangaka in Japan for Konomi Takeshi on The Prince of Tennis. ☆ Was an essay columnist for Asahi Weekly from 2008-2013. ☆ Was the star of Asahi Pop'n Press on Asahi TV (Japan) from 2009-2013 ☆ Was a write for Metropolis magazine in 2010. ☆ Has kept a blog foreeeeeeeeever! First and Current blogs.


  • RogiYes

    I can imagine how hard it was for you to taste wasabi on the first time and i know in my experience that if you will eat too much ,it will burn you from inside

  • Jen

    Wasabi is good to heal for a runny nose! ^_^

    For normal to eat with, I rarely to because I just sometime don’t like burn on my nose QAQ

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