Thursday, January 26, 2006

FOLLOW the RULES, you Gaijin Monkey, and please don't burn down our Ducky Duck.

I wanted to take a moment to relate two instances where people showed a serious amount of stick-up-the-butt-edness. One of them made me laugh, and one of them made me very grumpy. We’ll start with Grumpy.

I was out for a quick lunch/wandering party with Jess, her friend Naru and my teacher buddy Sophie, when we decided to hit up an interesting place called Ducky-Duck. Eating out here with that crew is always a little wacky, as Jess and I are Lactose Intolerant and Sophie has a Gluten Allergy… so finding a milkless, breadless, cheeseless, butterless, pastaless lunch always takes a bit of time. We eventually found something that looked like it was edible by all parties present, and wouldn’t break the bank. While I couldn’t really find much, I spotted the fact that they had a decent salad bar for a mere 500 yen. Not too bad, thought I, and went ahead and ordered it.

A little while later, they brought us a tea plate sized dish (oh…well…extra trips are no problem, thought I), and I made my way to the bar to pick out some likely vegetable victims to power me through the rest of the day. I took about half a plate full, and joined the team for some chewing.

A little while later, I went up to the front again to snag some more salad, but was intercepted by a frantic waitress who spoke about as much English as I speak Farsi. (Again, I never get upset at this because, well, Japan is a place where you need to speak Japanese. English is just a useful thing for taking money from Americans who make crappy cars…ohh.. burrrn…. Hear that GMC? That’s what you get for making a shitbox like the Oldsmobile Alero! …but anyway… I digress)

So, she didn’t speak English, but she waved her arms around really well. So, I figured she didn’t like something, so I’d just say “excuse me” a lot in Japanese, bow a few times and leave. This tends to placate anyone who seems to be wincing and thinking “Pleasedon’ttouchmepleasedon’tspeaktomepleasedon’truinmydayyouhugeobnoxiousforeignerjustpleasegohomeandleavemealone” silently with all of their might.

So I waited for the crazy lady to stop lurking and tried to play my favourite card when I’m not sure about the rules: The Dumb Foreigner.

//Sidebar: The Dumb Foreigner
I’ve remarked on it many times, but the strangest thing about Japan is the odd mixture of frustration, dismay, disgust, fascination and awe that some Japanese folk have about foreigners. I want to point out that I do believe that these people are the minority. I think most people here are polite, friendly, courteous and mostly react in an analogous way to how YOU would if confronted with a brash, wacky person who spoke about 20 words in YOUR language.

//End Sidebar

So, after the crazy lady had vacated the premises, I simply marched up their again to try and get a second small bowl of salad for my five bucks.

I was again intercepted by a manager type person (aka, foreigner dragon slaying boss type person), who managed to get “one time only” out of his mouth and cross his arms in the universally accepted (Universe (n): Japan and surrounding Japanese areas). All of this finally led me to realize that I was about to pay five bucks for a salad that could fit in my hand and consisted of about six pieces of lettuce and some watery dressing.

It was then that I swore vengeance on Ducky Duck. For the rest of my time in this wonderful country, I will never again set foot in that vegetable pinching, overzealous cheapskate home of non hunger relieving jerks. I would pass on the tradition of hatred to my sons, and them on to their sons, until it would all reach a climactic martial arts battle, with missiles and lots of kung fu grip.

Ok, this is mad amounts of overreaction, and I’ve been watching too may cartoons.

Meh… at least I finally found something to get pissed off about.

The Video Store

Apparently the people at the video store get really really freaked out when you don’t return a movie on time. Its basically like the rental video version of the apocalypse to them. They make two phone calls in one day, and when you finally bring the video back (that day), they dig out a binder and show you the receipt.

They also look really really confused, like they’re wondering what sort of horrible crisis could prevent an honourable customer from returning the honourable video on time.

It was too funny. I love these guys. And besides, I’m not sparing them any ire that could be directed at the Evil Baby-Eating, Republican Voting Ducky Duck Corporation


Neil Glazebrook said...

"Dumb foreigner" was such an awesome card to play when I was in Sweden. It let's you get away with so much shit. If anyone asks you what you're doing, a simple "oh, I'm sorry, I don't speak Swedish" will totally disarm them. And then you get to hear them tell their colleague in swedish what a dumbass you are.

Also, even if someone *does* understand English, they will never, ever be totally comfortable in it. So if you're ever in an altercation with someone who speaks some English, don't be polite and practice your newfound language skills on them, take the upper hand and talk down to them in English. You automatically shift the power balance of the argument.

I'm not advocating doing this with everybody. But when you're dealing with assholes it's just much easier to make them too uncomfortable to argue, then to actually argue with them--I did this a fair bit when I was tending bar.

Merry Man In Japan said...

One of my cracker co-workers speaks completely fluent japanaese (been here for years, did univ, etc... he's engaged to a girl who can't actually carry on a conversation in english... etc.

his favourite game is to intentionally mangle the language, wait for people to make some remark about him being a dumb foreigner, then totally dis thier mommas (or whatever the j-quivalent is... ancestors maybe) for thinkig he wouldn't understand. I've watched it... its so freaking hilarious.

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