Had my first Japanese meal tonight after being up for what seems like forever and not eating anything since the hard-boiled egg and bagel from the free hotel breakfast the day before. Needless to say, I would have eaten almost anything. I stopped at a noodle shop just a few blocks from the house. I had an udon set with curry udon and oyako don (chicken and egg over rice). I had a beer while I waited for the food, enjoying the spectacle in the kitchen that could be seen from the dining room. The pots and pans jingling around, the steam, the sizzling, the smells…I have literally NO idea what is going on back there and it is fascinating!
When the waitress finally brings out my meal, it is huge, and she informs me of something about my meal that I do not understand. It takes me a minute and I notice a small black disposable fabric “napkin” that she had pointed to. Turns out that “napkin” is actually a BIB! A tie around your neck, protect your shirt, sloppy lobster eating, bib. I look around at every other noodle eating customer-no bibs in sight. I believe I received the “dumb American, can't eat noodles without making a huge mess” bib. Embarrassing. Did I technically need a bib? Yes, of course because I am in fact a huge mess making American noodle eater! Sure, my shirt vaguely resembled a Pollock painting made with curry sauce-that is not the point! So what is the point right? I guess I just hate fitting into the “stereotype”. Of course I shouldn’t be surprised, hell, I don’t even know how to use my toilet! (well, kind of, I’ll investigate this more tomorrow). Day 1 makes it painfully obvious that I am a foreigner in a foreign world. My ignorance is overwhelming. I have less than a year to try to educate myself and if nothing else….dear god, I hope I can at least learn to eat noodles without needing a bib!