The Ukulele Should Have Been a Dead Giveaway

While the food (especially the tonkatsu) at Delica is certainly tasty, the ordering process is, to be kind, not exactly a model of efficiency. Of course, some most of this is due to the fact that most people don’t know how to queue and/or are indecisive morons.

So, the other day, I’m doing my best to stand in line properly, turning the line 90° so that once it extends past the entrance to the establishment, it doesn’t block the entire central aisle of the Ferry Plaza. To no avail, per usual – the next guy to get in line stands next to me and people start lining up behind him. Honestly, I wonder how these people even find their way home in the evening…

At any rate, there’re a couple of d-bags in line in front of me – I know that they were d-bags because one of them wondered where their friend “B-Man” was. Jesus…  So, “B-Man” and some other friend showed up and cut in line with them. I was tempted to say something, but having been down this road before, knew that the two latecomers would simply tell their friends what to order for them which would likely slow the line down even more. So I gritted my teeth and massaged the vein throbbing in my forehead.

But something was amiss. B-Man seemed to fit right in – but the other fellow seemed a bit… off. He was a long-hair – and he had a ukulele. After observing him briefly, I was pretty sure that he had just sidled into the line with B-Man despite not being a member of B-Man’s circle of d-bags…  But it was really too late to something at this point. The die had been cast, the Rubicon crossed…

Once it was Ukulele Guy’s turn to order, the line came to a screeching halt. He started asking many, many questions about the menu, including whether he could have half soup and half beef curry in the same order (WTF?). Then the following dialogue took place:

Me (loudly and with umbrage): “Look, you already cut in front of me in line. How about you just make up your mind?”

Ukulele Guy (snidely): “Well, maybe you should just go ahead of me!”

Me (immediately stepping in front of him and addressing the lady who’d been waiting on him): “I’d like two tonkatsu, one spicy chicken and rice, please.”

And, scene. Well except that then Ukulele Guy had to enlist the assistance of another patron in ordering, advising loudly and in my direction that the menu was “very confusing.”

More from Osaka

Ventured forth for dinner last night, in search of a kushiyage place I’d read about. Basically, you cook up whatever you want in a deep fryer built into the table. I assumed we’d just point at pictures on a menu – turned out to be even easier. We were shown to a table, then you help yourself to whatever you want from the cabinets filled with stuff-on-a-stick. There’s also rice, noodles, 8 different kinds of sauce and extra batter and bread crumbs for dipping before frying. Oh, and beer (duh). And ice cream. And marshmallow fondue. And salads. And pickles. And lots and lots of stuff on sticks (did I mention that?).

It was great fun and we stuffed ourselves, as we mused on how the Japanese remain the thinnest first-worlders on earth while apparently eating fried foods with nearly every meal. Must be all the smoking? Anyway, the only downside of dinner? I may have to dispose of the clothes I wore, as they now reek of fry-o-lator…

Thursday I begged off a day trip to Kyoto. It’s lovely there, but my four day stay last year was plenty. So Marco headed off on his own, while I took the subway to the Osaka Aquarium. It was OK as aquariums go, with some pretty amazing specimens including whale sharks and Japanese small-pawed otters.

Of course, the highlight was feeding time for the rays in the huge multi-story central tank. It was cool to watch in and of itself – but things took a dramatic turn for the better when a second scuba-diver feeder appeared in a Santa Claus costume. I repeat – scuba-diver dressed as Santa.

Headed back home via subway and thought I was going to have a problem – I’d spent all my small bills and and only had ¥5000 and ¥ 10000 notes (basically equivalent to US$50s and 100s). Of course, this being Japan, the ticket machine accepts any denomination and dutifully issued my ¥270 ticket and change.

Stopped in briefly to the store near my hotel. It’s kind of like Target, though with a somewhat more eccentric assortment: luggage, lumber, wheelchairs, laundry detergent, bicycles, puppies, light bulbs, kittens, a barn owl, adult diapers and countless unidentifiable items I wanted to purchase based solely on packaging. Oh, and a supermarket downstairs where I picked up tonkatsu sandwich to snack on.

Awaiting Marco’s return from Kyoto before planning tonight’s festivities. Likely another early dinner. We are both generally worn out by 9:00 every evening – haven’t even been to a single gay bar in Osaka. As I said on Facebook, I’ll never meet a Japanese husband at this rate…

Tokyo Day 1

After a long but uneventful flight, we arrived at our hotel in Shinjuku on Sunday evening. Up early for our soon-to-be world famous televised tour of the food halls at Isetan. Then a quick trip back to to hotel to floss and have some beers, then headed to Takeshimaya, where I had my first craved-for tuna-mayo onigiri (rice ball). It was delicious. Then spent a couple of hours in Tokyu Hands, trying not to buy everything – and most of what we did buy we’re still not sure what they actually are, other than bizarrely fascinating. Dinner later at Katsukura on the 14th floor of Times Square Building – tonkatsu, which was delicious and shockingly reasonable. Dinner for two was under $50 including sake.

Wandered back home through the teeming streets of Shinjuku, stopping to play the prize claw – where Marco eventually won a cheap doll – and by “cheap,” I mean “cheaply-made.” I think it cost us $25 worth of tries to get the damn thing into the claw.

Then spent 2 hours trying to find the gay bars, with no success. I was completely lost. Went back to the hotel to find a map and Marco was able to trace our path there. This time we found where we were going with ease. Had a few drinks at Dragon Men – quiet on a Monday night, so we didn’t stay out too late. Back to my room for beer and then hit the hay.

Pork-a-palooza

Hmm…  I just realized that my diet for the last two days has consisted almost exclusively of pork… Lunch on Tuesday was tonkatsu, dinner was chile verde…  Yesterday I had a carnitas burrito for lunch and a ham-and-brie sandwich for dinner…  And breakfast on both days included a couple of rashers of bacon.  I suppose I ought to get a salad or something for lunch today – though BBQ pork sandwich from The Sentinel sounds pretty tasty…   I’m going to need to buy special shoes for my soon-to-be-cloven hooves…

UPDATE: Lunch today…  Another porcine victory.

BBQ Pork Sandwich from The Sentinel

More of the same…

Another tipsy evening at Hula’s…  They were showing the Oscars, so I did get in a little bit of dishing celebrities.  Also, made the acquaintance of an American fellow who lives in Tokyo…  He is visiting Hawaii with his wife and her family…  Apparently, the stumbled across Hula’s and thought, “This place looks nice” – not realizing until they’d been there for 45 minutes that it was all guys in the place…  But they enjoyed themselves – and had thus returned last evening…  It was really nice meeting them all and he was kind enough to give me his email address so we can try to get together when I return to Tokyo later this year…  Also, met a nice Kiwi and his girlfriend (i.e. friend who is a girl) and had great fun yakking and dancing with them…

The view from under my umbrella (ella-ella-ella)

Despite the overcast morning, spent most of the afternoon at the beach.  Weather behaved until about 330 or so when the clouds returned and it cooled down a bit.  Happily, my arrival back at my hotel room coincided with the broadcast of Judge Judy, so that killed an hour before dinner.

Dinner at Ginza Bairin for tonkatsu (my favorite). Very good, though I may have ordered the wrong thing – the Kurobuta pork was really delicious, but it’s also a huge portion and has a big fatty side…  I prefer my meat leaner and probably should’ve gotten the tenderloin katsu… But what’re you gonna do?  And the pickles I started with were truly the most delicious pickles I’ve ever eaten…  And I’ve eaten a lot of pickles, if you know what I mean…  Heh…

Tonkatsu

Likely headed back to Hula’s later.  It’s funny – doesn’t really get hopping there ’til 930 or 10.  I guess I expected evenings to begin earlier here, what with all the mainlanders being two to five hours earlier than home.  But I’ll probably try to make an early night of it regardless (yeah, right) since I actually have to do some work stuff in the morning – shouldn’t take too long and then back to the beach.