January 28 2001

Subject: a fish story

Date: Sunday, January 28, 2001

My life has been nice and quiet these past two weeks. Not much in the way of adventure, too much work. The computer at work got very sick, I got sick, and work has been….well…what can you do? It pays the bills and on occasion, it’s actually fun (that lasts for about five minutes thou…). It’s been a long two months at work, I’ve learned a great deal about Japanese jails, the legal system and that car insurance is a microcosm of Japanese society. Not from first hand experience mind you….

This week is going to better, I only have to work in the office one day (that’s a banner week in my book), then a day at Tomari Koko, then off to Tokyo for some, ahem, “work”. It’s one of the conferences where I fly up Wednesday morning, sit thru some lectures, go to sleep, get up, sit thru lectures, then fly back on Thursday. That’s the plan for my two coworkers. Luckily I work in a different department, so I’m not restricted by moronic travel requirements, so I’ll be staying behind in Tokyo, hopping the train/monorail/pedicab into Chiba (have a bet with the girl friend as to whether I can actually manage it). She’s going to take mortality leave on Friday, ” I can’t come in to work, I’m dead”, and then three days in Chiba/Tokyo. I hear Kua Aina calling my name, as well as Tokyo Disney Land (sadly a karaoke place is also in order, guess my warbling is going to be used to raise the dead?). It’s snowing there now, so I’m going to freeze my recently styled head. Can you say, ” Cap, knit, watch, 100%”.

Probably the most interesting thing that has happened to me in the past two weeks is that I’ve actually found something I won’t eat again. Period. First thing I think I’ve found here in Okinawa. Well, the green/orange clam innards last night didn’t look too good, but with deft chopstick manipulation, adventure was averted. Oh, last night. I think I achieved a zero degree of separation! Am I the man or what? I was at a party for former students of the Language Center (where I work on Thursdays). Met one of the students’ husbands. Local guy. We introduce our selves, then he looks at me and says, “Mitch?”

I respond with “Chiropractor Mitch?”

He nods and I laugh. We have a mutual friend in Hawaii. Heck, I’d say probably most of the people on this mailing know Mitch. Anyway, he told me about his friend and his friend about me, so we finally met, by accident. Small world.

Sorry, the evil meal.

I was presented with blocks of tofu with little sardine-like fish on them. The fish were maybe two and a half inches long. Whole fishes. The first one I took I tried to swallow the whole thing without chewing. That was not one of my better ideas. The fish got stuck. Real stuck. I’m sitting at a table with six teachers from my division, and I can’t get the fish down. I’m trying to keep cool, and get the stupid fish down. He was fighting. Drank beer, wouldn’t go down. Swallowed…nothing! I had this vision of my coughing up the fish and watching it fly across the table.

So I got up to go out side and cough it up. Too bad the door to go outside was locked. One of my teachers was out in the hallway and was watching me, he was laughing his head off.

What to do, what to do? Go back inside and eat some more. I ate two more of those ugly, salty bony, crunchy fish. Crunch crunch CRUNCH! Fish is bad enough, whole fish with little eyeballs and crunchy bones and sharp fins? Heck no.

Good night,


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