Friday, January 15, 2010

Five Easy Pieces

I'd like a plain omelette, no potatoes, tomatoes instead, a cup of coffee, and wheat toast.

No substitutions.

What do you mean? You don't have any tomatoes?

Only what's on the menu. You can have a number two - a plain omelette. It comes with cottage fries and rolls.

Yeah, I know what it comes with. But it's not what I want.

Well, I'll come back when you make up your mind.

Wait a minute. I have made up my mind. I'd like a plain omelette, no potatoes on the plate, a cup of coffee, and a side order of wheat toast.

I'm sorry, we don't have any side orders of English muffin or a coffee roll.

What do you mean you don't make side orders of toast? You make sandwiches, don't you?

Would you like to talk to the manager?

...You've got bread and a toaster of some kind?

I don't make the rules.

OK, I'll make it as easy for you as I can. I'd like an omelette, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce. And a cup of coffee.

A number two, chicken sal san, hold the butter, the lettuce and the mayonnaise. And a cup of coffee. Anything else?

Yeah. Now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules.

You want me to hold the chicken, huh?

I want you to hold it between your knees.

Do you see that sign, sir? Yes, you'll all have to leave. I'm not taking any more of your smartness and sarcasm.

You see this sign?


Kelsey said...

Three words:

Welcome to Japan.

Julie said...

I didn't even click on the youtube because youtube doesn't work on my computer right now, but I KNOW THAT SCENE and I fucking LOVE Jack Nicholson in it.


Beth said...

you know my favorite jack nicholson story, is like he was dating angelica houston (amazing) while he was filming the shining (amazing), and she later recalled in an interview that he used to shuffle back from the set every night so exhausted by kubrick's OCD directing style that he'd just collapse on the bed. i read this when in my early teens and to this day something about that whole story turns me on like a lantern, man. is that weird or no? the kubrick, the movie, the angelica houston, the collapsing onto a bed wearing that fabulous tight jeans+flannel outfit from the shining...oh, jack.

come watch chinatown with me!

megu said...

ok-this is the last comment I'm leaving here for awhile. but honestly. I love your blog. Ok. listen to this. We are in Tokyo this summer at a certain to remain unnamed pasta chain. I'm a vegetarian...anyway. We order the food and I ask for no bacon bits on my salad. Get a blank look. Husband steps in to save gaijin wife. Can she have no bacon on the salad? just a minute sir. waiter goes away and comes back. I'm really really very sorry but I'm afraid....I'm sorry but..... Husband goes-what?
oh-the salad is pre made right so you would have to pick the bacon out? don't worry then.
waiter-no it isn't that-it's just that I can't leave the bacon off. Husband; what? what? why?
the CHEF comes out with his big white hat. Gives the major deep bow and begs our forgiveness. Huge scene. total humiliation. Over leaving off bacon.
It was just like this except obviously not as funny and cool.
By the way I still got the salad on my tray. With bacon.

Beth said...

haha this has never happened to me with food because i will eat anything. but if it ever does i would like to pretend to start crying.

i have had various other baffling experiences like a woman at a customer service counter with a postal service who made me wait for 15 minutes while she worriedly described to someone over the phone every detail of a very ordinary envelope i wanted to send -- describing the handwritten address, the destination, the color of the envelope, the weight...she even got out a ruler and measured it. and in the end she hung up, bowed deeply, and told me she was terribly sorry but i would have to ask someone at a post office because she just wasn't sure what to do. i still have no idea what could have possibly puzzled her so much other than the fact that it was written in English? it didn't get a second glance at the next place i took it to. it was just one of those ridiculous communication breakdowns where someone is freaking out and apologizing and running around and you're left standing there wondering if you said something wrong in japanese and accidentally asked them to email a foot massage to your third cousin or something. those breakdowns happened to me so much in yamagata that i got nervous about asking questions or, god forbid, asking someone to repeat something. it was like a panic button got punched every time i spoke. it still makes me nervous to order in restaurants and cafes even though i do it every day and my japanese is way past that level.

selena said...

Yeah, the bacon thing happens to me all the time.

I read on someone's blog (can't remember who, another veggie in Japan) that if you just say that you're nigate about the item, they have much less of a problem. I've tried it once or twice and it seems to work better than the whole explaining vegetarianism thing.