This writer decided to delve into the pretty world of Japanese cuisine and wrote the entire article in a Japanese accent (like-oh this-oh), wearing a kimono and kneeling. The cats were amused and the knees were not.
Let me point out that I am by no means an expert on Japanese food and my affair with it started off on an entirely wrong foot. In fact, I’d always entertained convictions that the Japs only consumed the vilest things (even their fried rice was pronounced ‘Yucky’ Meshi, no?). I had such an aversion to it that the first time I dared to try it was at 22, when taken to a restaurant by a friend, expecting to make a good impression on his boss at an official dinner. It’s fair to say that expectations were not met, on account of my gag reflex performing beautifully throughout the evening. Neither did it help that my questionable chopstick skills resulted in the boss being thwacked a few times in the face by flying wood.
My next attempt was with a boyfriend at a five-star hotel’s All-You-Can-Eat Japanese food promotion.
There I was, sporting a brand new blouse aptly patterned with cherry blossoms, tok-toking on heels in pseudo-poshness, mispronouncing my order in a high-pitched boru accent.
There I strutted to our assembled table, casting snooty looks at celebrities dining around me and showing off my laden plates in sweeping arcs like I owned the place.
There I set my plates down with such aplomb that the force tilted the make-shift table-top. In my direction.
There went the laden plates, up into the air, right towards my cherry blossoms.
The entire hall stopped drinking, eating and slurping to gape at my frozen person covered in fish bits. It took a few minutes for a waiter to stop sniggering and gently pick a slice of tuna off my hair. The manager stepped out bravely with a dishcloth, to mop the miso off my chest with trembling hands, praying it wouldn’t be considered sexual harassment. The boyfriend, in the meantime, calmly continued to eat off the plate he’d saved in his hand, all the while pretending he was not there, but instead down the hole he’d mentally dug for himself.
I am evidence that Japanese fare is an acquired taste. With the first impression it made on me, any sane person would be put off the stuff forever. But when was I ever sane? Like arranged marriage, over the years I grew so fond of it to the point where I can now rattle off the terminology with such ease and crave it like a greedy pregnant person. All I’m missing are slanted eyes.
You learn to appreciate everything about it – the fresh tastes, the fine preparation skills and the OCD plating that completes the package. I am now one of its biggest fans and a regular feature at Japanese restaurants around Colombo. Minus a cherry blossom blouse, of course.
We will live happily ever after-o.