Hot Town, Summer in the City

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Summer in Japan is the worst combination of heat and rain you can imagine. It can be 40°C and raining for weeks in August. It’s a stickyness that pervades into every aspect of your life. Your bedding gets moldy, your clothes never get dry, and you are sticky for weeks at a time. But who cares, it’s also summer vacation so it’s going to take more than soggy underwear and crotch-rash to get me down. They also schedule most festivals in Japan during this period of muggy hell. Our neighborhood festival went on with 20 or so people despite the rain. As did the big Tenjin festival with 700 million people or so. Having learned the score, I skipped both and went to drink instead.

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Summer vacation in Japan lasts from the end of July to the end of Sept/beginning of Oct. I don’t know how many classes I passed yet, or what my grades are, but I can say with certainty that I definitely took finals for SEVERAL of my classes. Possibly even most of them. I definitely failed a couple. I didn’t even bother to take my accounting final. Which makes the 3rd time in a row I’ve failed it. Next semester when I take it I’ll probably try to attend some classes.

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Take THAT building 5. That’s what you get for failing me 3 times in the same class.

Fortunately most finals in Japan are full of essay questions so even if you don’t know anything (ME) you can probably still bullshit your way to a passing grade. I employed this in my civil law, strategic management, and philosophy finals, but I forgot my business law textbook at home so I sort of got screwed out of that one. Japanese history was one of the hardest finals as it wasn’t open note, and wasn’t essay questions.

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But its summer vacation now so who cares about the past. I’ve got nothing on my plate other than some game translations that will probably consume all my free time. I’m still going to try and make it to Hong Kong for a few weeks. A couple of my friends came out to visit in June and July. They were both Canadians, but I put up with their backwater ways and showed them around Osaka. Well, showed them Osaka food and drink. And I think there was a trip to Himeji castle in there somewhere too.

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One of the things my friend and I tried was Kushikatsu, which amounts to fried stuff on sticks. It’s an Osaka “delicacy” but there’s nothing delicate about it. As we waited for our table at the all you can eat kushikatsu joint, we saw some people coming out looking like they were about to explode. They were bright red and looked like they’d just run a marathon. We mocked them, because as two serious gluttons who put beer away by the liter, we felt superior in our fat slobriety.

The way kushikatsu at this particular place works is, you grab a plate and pile it with sticks of raw meat, fish, vegetables, cheese, and anything else they could jam a stick into (but mostly meat). You then bring it back to your table with a bowl of batter and breadcrumbs. Your table features a built in a personal deep fat fryer. How could anything go wrong. 

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Oh how it went wrong. After a dozen sticks or so, the oil smell has seeped into your clothes. Another 10 sticks later and you begin to absorb it through your the pores in your skin. 15 minutes after that your pores have been clogged with oil and it begins to drip from your hair and you begin to question your existence. What the fuck are we doing here? Why is there a damn deep fat fryer full of lard in our table? How do we escape this hell? Are you going to finish that shrimp?

My clothes still smell like oil.

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Keysha showed me a new sushi joint near Cafe Absinthe called Genesis. I just call it the American Sushi bar, which might sort of confuse people who don’t realize that pinkbar2.jpgsushi in America fucking rocks. Perhaps thats blasphemous, and I’m sure that there’s a lot of crap sushi to be found in the States as well, but in San Francisco, and probably all up and down the west coast, sushi is fresh, cheap, and comes in great rolls that are hard to find in Japan. Ever try to find a good, cheap Dragon Roll? Dynamite Roll? Caterpillar Roll? These uramaki rolls were born in California and are hard to find in Japan. Purists might call these Amurican-born rolls unauthentic or sacrilegious, but you sushi purists forget one important fact. And that is: “Fuck you, sushi-purists, get a damn hobby.” Case closed. Granted there’s some wonderful sushi in Japan that you can’t get easily anywhere else, but sometimes you just want a spider roll, and that’s not nearly as easy to find. Genesis makes some great uramaki including some Japan-only rolls that might make way for sushi nazis to accept these rolls as the orgasm-in-a-maki that they are. It’s also extremely pink inside, and your retinas will burn for days afterwards, and they served me Guinness from a bottle, but their La Miche roll had enough creme cheese that I’ll forgive that little indiscretion.

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Plus it’s not that expensive, so afterwards you still might have enough cash leftover to afford a drink or two at Absinthe.

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And for those of you who still can’t believe Americans can show up Japan in sushi, don’t forget. Japan totally rapes America when it comes to pizza.

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As for how well Japan does Shanghai cuisine, I’ll leave that up to the readers to find out for themselves. There is definitely a trend in their ingredients…

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~ by foomfoom on August 14, 2007.

2 Responses to “Hot Town, Summer in the City”

  1. Lies. That sushi place was really a love hotel.
    Caught.

  2. America’s losing all sorts of rep, first the south loses deep frying to Osaka, then pizza! If that sushi place is the love hotel then what the hell is the ovary place??

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