Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bacon, Mistranslation, Blisters and an Epic Worm

So, after 'getting down' in the Club Asia New Annex, we awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed for our next Tokyo adventure.

We headed out for a quick breakfast at a family restaurant, Royal Host, where I promptly encountered half of a miracle.

Let me explain, pancakes (hottokaki) are pretty rare in Japan. They can be found as overpriced desserts, but rarely as a proper breakfast. (One may recall me mentioning that not even Denny's here has pancakes on the menu.) So when I walked in and found a pancakes, bacon, eggs, and coffee meal, I figured I'd died and gone to Montana. A miracle!

unfortunately my enthusiasm was quickly dampened by the fact that these delicious looking little tan doohickies were some of the dryest most tasteless pancakes it has every been my misfortune to consume. I was at a loss. One the one hand I was overjoyed to be eating pancakes and bacon for the first time in six months. On the other hand I have eaten sawdust that required less maple syrup to be palatable.

At least the Bacon was edible. The coffee wasn't bad either.

So we get ready to pay for the bill and Zach pulls one of his infamous translation 'errors.'

Zach, having been here almost two years, and having minored in Japanese in Uni has the distinction of often being the best Japanese speaker around. Zach also has the bad habit of mis-translating an odd word or two, for his own amusement.

So he tells Matt to ask for the bill, and gives him the phrase to use. Unfortunately (it would appear) for his scheme I start giggling a bit and it comes to light that he told Matt to say "Kancho onegai shimasu" Which of course would result in Matt politely asking the waitress to stick her fingers in his bum, as middle school children so love to do. But I giggled, and made Matt suspicious. So Zach explains the proper terminology of "Kanjo onegai shimasu". Matt looks up, motions to the waitress and says... "Kancho onegai shimasu!" Which of course prompts Zach and myself to a fit of laughter and provokes a bemused/ horrified look on the waitress's face. The correct words are quickly said by Zach, and our poor waitress flees to retrieve the bill. One must feel sorry for poor Matt, but he did have the proper word explained to him.. its not entirely Zach's fault that he forgot the right one and remembered the wrong one!

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Meiji-Jingu, a shrine in the heart of Tokyo near Harajuku station.

Ok, with breakfast done we headed to our first destination, Harajuku. This is the area that crazy girls dress in crazy fashions, then sit around while gawkers and tourists snap photos. Unfortunatly for us, there were very few of these Harajuku girls to be seen, probably because of the impending St. Patricks Day Parade. Yup a St. Paddys Day Parade in Tokyo! What is the world coming to? There were hordes of people thronging the streets, and many green shirts, green socks, green wigs.. well lets just say there was lots of green. There were also a fair number of Gaijin, probably the most I've seen at one place since I left San Francisco International Airport in September.

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Bike tricks in the park adjacent to Meiji-Jingu.

We milled around for a bit, checked out a huge toy store, and walked down the street scanning for the Parade start point. We also nipped into Subway! for a quick bite of lunch. As we walked back up the boulevard we encountered the Parade. Well at least it was the people who had recently been parading, but who were now finished,and were themselves in the crowd on the sidewalk. Yup we somehow missed the entire procession. Did it happen while we were in the Toy Store? Subway? Or just on an entirely different street? Ah life's unanswered mysteries...

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The Irish are coming!

With that taken care of we headed to Zach's number one priority, the Tokyo Museum of Parasites, a place once voted Time Magazines Weirdest Museum in Asia. Considering that just Japan is home of such places as a Ramen Museum, an Advertsing Museum, an Eyeglasses museum and a Drum Museum, qualifying for the weirdest museum in ALL OF ASIA is a distinction worth taking note of. Also, it's free.

Well we follow Zach's map and start walking. We knew it was a bit of step, but it was a warm if blustry day. We walk, and walk, and walk, and walk some more. We pass rivers, temples, highways, and more. No sign of the Parasite Museum. My feet hurt, and I start heckling Zach a bit. Like any true man, he is loath to ask for directions. I'll admit to disliking that admission of weakness myself, but we had been walking a long way, and I figured we had blown right past the museum. Eventually even Zach could see that we had come too far, so we stopped in Post Office to ask directions.

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The river we crossed on our epic quest for the Parasite Museum

"Oh the museum is half an hour walk back that way, by the temple." Oh, the temple we had passed a half an hour ago? Argh! We walked back, making it in 22 minutes (Go Go Colorado bred legs and lungs.) I see a sign, and totally misread it. The sign said we should go back the way we came a bit, I thought it said go right. Oops. We walk two blocks, no museum. Asking at a Lawsons (oh the blow to masculine pride!) we tramp back the way we came, past the temple again, to the small unassuming grey building we had been searching for. The unassuming grey building we had blown by not once but TWICE!

Once inside all our cares were forgotten as we perused specimens like a dogs heart destroyed by heart worms and a turtles eyelid eaten away by God-knows-what. Supplementing the formaldehyde preserved specimens were photographs and diagrams of Parasites and their effects on their hosts. Like say a man with a penis larger than his leg. That certainly got *my* attention, I mean dang people talk about "male enlargement" but that's taking it a few million steps too far! Yeach. The centerpiece attraction was an 8.8 meter long tapeworm taken from a man who had eaten the wrong piece of trout sushi. Next to the intestinal Smaug was an 8.8 meter long rope that one could use to get a more hands on look at just how long this critter was. All I can really say is wow, and I thought the Alien was the worst thing that could live in your guts.

With that finally accomplished we pointed our tired feet towards Shinjuku and another well hidden capsule hotel.


Zach said...

I like your version of events better Grant. It makes me seem more sinister. I will now cackle evilly as I stroke my moustache.

羽之助 said...

I feel sorry for the waitress! "Oh God, why must I be a sexual plaything for these foreigners! The kancho horror!"

The museum sounds ... interesting, in a good way. I'm actually heading down next weekend, and we're going to the Miyazaki museum which is somewhere in Yokohama. Got 2 friends coming too ... damn, better get tickets for them too.



"Something up his butt" Vesp said...

Yeah, that's not exactly how I remember it. I seem to remember Sach telling me the correct way to say it, and some guijin sitting at our table immediately say something along the lines of "But whatever you do, don't say..."

And in all my worrying, I say the wrong thing.

Moral of this story? GRANT'S AN ASS!

Travelingrant said...

ehh no I didn't say Kancho to you. I would never think of that. Let it be known that you did know both words, and still messed up. Moral of the story, there are THREE versions of history, and Matt needs to practice his Japanese more!