For the weekend at the mother-in-law’s, where there will be many things grilled over charcoal and a number of cans of cold beer emptied. She loves sausages, the mother-in-law. When I see big plump Japanese wieners, I think of her. And priced half-off! I grabbed all of the cheap wieners, castrating any other shopper’s hopes of getting any.
July 23, 2014
July 21, 2014
Sam’s boss gave him sumo tickets for yesterday and he wanted me to go, but I said that if this is not an opportunity for a boys night out, I do not know one. Sam invited three boyfriends instead and they had a wonderful time. Sumo is not my cup of sake. I do not understand it. Large-breasted boys in pretty-colored diapers and eccentric hairstyles clap their hands and expose their crotches to the audience, then alternate between slapping and hugging each other until one of them falls down in a no-girls-allowed magic sumo ring that some other boys in fancy dresses keep salting between “bouts” while loudly shouting.
There must be a great deal of farting happening in that pure holy penis-owners-only ring, what with force-fed wrestlers doing all those sudden grand plies. It is exciting when the audience throws pillows. They’ve been sitting on those pillows for hours and surely a lot of farting has been going on there as well. (Sam picked up a program in English and there are etiquette rules, one of which is: “Please photograph from the rear or from your seat” — see).
I guess some people like that sort of thing, but include me out.
July 19, 2014
June 29, 2014
These are “pen shells” I guess. Tairagi. They were in-the-enormous-shell fresh at the market and I wanted to steam one to see what it tasted like There was a line at the fish place and I had more shopping to do so I told Sam to get one for me. The fish guy had taken the nice mollusk and sahimied it. I was disappointed. I thought it would taste like a scallop but it didn’t have that rich sweet taste, it was bland. The shell is nice though.
Yamaya and Valor. Bargain success. Many packages of dried tomatoes and dried onions marked down. Many rice noodles and papers.
Uniqlo. Summer dresses and T-shirts.
June 27, 2014
From Shiga prefecture. Delightfully fruity. I love spring beers the best and of course they never stick around for long — this is marked down to half price because who would buy spring beer in summer? I would, that’s who.
May 19, 2014
May 11, 2014
On Father’s Day supermarkets advertise thick cuts of meat and wine because obviously someone’s in the kitchen cooking the meat and pouring the wine for dad. Mother’s Day: ready-to-eat mass produced sushi and wilted carnations. If mom isn’t in the kitchen, nobody is. Women like pink, low-calorie foods, don’t like booze.
I asked Sam if his mother ever hugged and kissed him and he said no, of course not, you know that. I can’t imagine his mother hugging or kissing anyone. I’ve kissed and hugged him enough to be a big huggy-kissy-face nuisance. Enough for several lifetimes. I can’t help myself.
The American advertising phrase “Being a mom is the hardest job in the world” : ridiculous. If that were true humans would be extinct. You’ve only admitted that you’ve had a pampered selfish life and never done anything physically demanding, ever, and are bad at taking care of small humans, an activity humans have done throughout history. What you’re saying is that being human is incredibly difficult. Not something to brag about! But then I don’t know what a “mom” is in contemporary American culture. Here, mom, have some more nails to keep you up on that mom-martyr cross.
From Garrison Keillor’s Leaving Home:
“Arlene picked up her sister Irene and they drove up to the cemetery and sat in the car. June 10 is the anniversary of their mother’s death. Lutherans don’t ordinarily observe such days but the girls do because it would have pleased their mother, Mrs. Holm, so much. She was impossible to please when alive, but now that she is gone and her spirit recedes into the shadows, the girls are able to satisfy her with this annual trek to sit under the tree that shades her — she always burned easily, Mother did, and always needed shade. The tree’s roots reach down where Mother lies, so in a sense Mother is shading herself, like a lady with a parasol.
“The rain patted on the roof and ran down the windshield. Irene held a bunch of yellow and blue irises. ‘Do you know that I still hear her sometimes — I’m washing dishes or ironing, something simple, and I hear her say, Oh, Irene you’re doing that all wrong, here let me, and my hands tighten on the dishcloth, I grab the iron. The simplest things. Putting toast in the toaster. Boiling an egg. Oh, Irene, that’s not how to do that, here I’ll show you. I still hear it. Never when I’m trying to do needlepoint, or make a souffle — always when I’m pulling a weed, hanging a picture. Oh, Irene, that’s not straight, Irene, here. What’s the matter with you? Oh you don’t put on a pillowcase like that.’ She began to sniffle. ‘Oh this is so crazy. I don’t know why it has to be like this.’ She cried and Arlene cried and they held hands, the rain streaming down the glass. And then Irene bounded out of the car and ran up on the grass and heaved the bouquet as far as she could toward their mother’s grave. It hit the tree and fell apart in a shower of wet irises and dropped on the grass.”
My mother’s favorite flowers were dogwood and lilacs and I still hyperventilate a little when I see them and turn away.
May 10, 2014
The McDonald’s Avocado Shrimp burger. There were several Brazilian guys in line ahead of Sam who ordered their soft drinks without ice. Sam copied them. When he discovered his drink had ice in it anyway he was mad. This small sandwich and a drink cost ¥660. Sam has decided it’s too expensive to purchase McDonald’s items for the sole purpose of making fun of them, and our custom of getting lattes at the McDonald’s in his hometown on Sunday mornings is too expensive too, almost ¥500. Another reason is that it takes forever, especially the drive-through. Expensive slow food.
It’s early, we need coffee badly and end up sitting in the car for fifteen minutes behind a couple of SUVs filled with extremely indecisive people. Sam nearly goes out of his mind because how complicated can it be to order off of a McDonald’s menu? Fairly complicated, obviously. Then Sam gets angry at all the families we see going into the place — what are the parents doing feeding those disgusting breakfast abominations full of fat and salt to their innocent children? Then when we finally get to the window, instead of simply handing the coffees to us they are placed in a cardboard container and put in a paper bag with napkins and plastic stirring things and I feel guilty at the waste. Yes, it’s better to end the relationship. It’s not me, it’s you.
The avocado burger tasted of garlic and mayonnaise and fried MSG artificial shrimp with warm avocado. It was uncomfortably soft and for once there was too much sauce (but of course it’s mayo and this is Japan). I felt sorry for the avocado, it needed help. Some crisp lettuce, a little onion, a nice slice of tomato? The car reeked of garlic all the way home.
I guess they think chicks like avocados. Avocado pizza for the ladies. I thought there was going to be an avocado shortage, yet every time I turn around I see avocados scattered over fast foods.
From The Bell Jar:
“Arrayed on the Landies’ Day banquet table were yellow-green avocado pear haves, stuffed with crabmeat and mayonnaise, and platters of rare roast beef and cold chicken, and every so often a cut-glass bowl heaped with black caviar. Before I came to New York I’d never eaten out in a proper restaurant. I don’t count Howard Johnson’s, where I only had french fries and cheeseburgers and vanilla frappes with people like Buddy Willard.
“My favorite dishes are full of butter and cheese and sour cream. In New York we had so many free luncheons with people on the magazine and various visiting celebrities I developed the habit of running my eye down those huge handwritten menus, where a side dish of peas cost fifty or sixty cents, until I’d picked the richest, most expensive dishes and ordered a string of them. We were always taken out on expense accounts so I never felt guilty. I made a point of eating so fast I never kept the other people waiting who generally ordered only chef’s salad and grapefruit juice because they were trying to reduce. Almost everybody I met in New York was trying to reduce.
“In the hour before our luncheon at Ladies’ Day — the women’s magazine that features lush double-page spreads of Technicolor meals, with a different theme and locale each month — we had been shown around the endless glossy kitchens and seen how difficult it is to photograph ice cream that keeps melting and has to be propped up from behind with toothpicks and changed every time it starts looking too soppy. The sight of all the food stacked in those kitchens made me dizzy. It’s not that we hadn’t enough to eat at home, it’s just that my grandmother always cooked economy joints and economy meat loafs and had the habit of saying, the minute you lifted the first forkful to your mouth, “I hope you enjoy that, it costs forty-one cents a pound,” which always made me feel I was somehow eating pennies instead of Sunday roast.
“Under cover of the clinking of water goblets and silverware and bone china, I paved my plate with chicken slices. Then I covered the chicken slices with caviar thinking as if I were spreading peanut butter on a piece of bread, then I picked up the chicken slices in my fingers one by one, rolled them so the caviar wouldn’t ooze off and ate them. I’d discovered, after a lot of extreme apprehension about what spoons to use, that if you do something incorrect at table with a certain arrogance, as if you know perfectly well you were doing it properly, you can get away with it and nobody will think you are bad-mannered or poorly brought up. They will think you are original and very witty.
“None of our magazine editors or the the Ladies’ Day staff members sat anywhere near me, and Betsy seemed sweet and friendly, she didn’t even seem to like caviar, so I grew more and more confident. When I finished my first plate of cold chicken and caviar, I laid out another. Then I tackled the avocado and crabmeat salad. Avocados are my favorite fruit. Every Sunday my grandfather used to bring me an avocado pear hidden at the bottom of his briefcase under six soiled shirts and the Sunday comics. He taught me how to eat avocados by melting grape jelly and french dressing together in a saucepan and filling the cup of the pear with the garnet sauce. I felt homesick for that sauce. The crabmeat tasted bland in comparison.
“‘How was the fur show?’ I asked Betsy, when I was no longer worried about competition over my caviar. I scraped the last few salty black eggs from the dish with my soup spoon and licked it clean.”
May 9, 2014
A man “fishing” in the stream below my apartment building. Where the hell does he think he is, this is the city. There are about four big carp circling around in the shallow water and they were not born yesterday. They can clearly see him right there with his little pole and a fake worm on a string and are not stupid. He tried for a while and gave up. Dude, you are dumber than carp. Way to go.