Monday, October 10, 2005

Freak Attack!

Before I continue with my Sapporo story, I need to share something with you.

I must be a freak magnet. Drunks, crazies, slightly scary types...they all seem to pick me out as the foreigner to talk to. I don't mind it when people come up to me and speak English. I think that's great. Feel free. But why is it always the slightly-OFF ones that come and talk to me?

Case in point. One of the English teachers from Pure Water Hill High had a friend from Sapporo coming in to town, so he sent out a big karaoke invitation to some of us in the area. Always one for a night of belting out the classics, like "Bohemian Rhapsody" or "Copacabana", I immediately accepted.

Six of us go to the local karaoke joint. The usual singing, chatting, drinking (water), and BSing was going on. Came time to use the facilities. Once said facilities were used, I started to head back to the room we were in...

...when I almost ran smack into a group of four well-dressed Japanese people. I was startled at first, but the I apologized and moved out of the way. Up until that point, everything was normal.

Such a fleeting thing, this normality.

One of the members of the group, a woman dressed up in a kimono, comes over to me...Hey, she's drunk!

Her: "Where are you from?"
Me: (trying to think of a way out of this, and failing) "America."
Her: "Really?"
Me: "Yep, really."
Her: "I like tempura?"

Huh? How should I know whether you like tempura or not?

Her: (once again for effect) "I like tempura?"

Hmmm...what could this lady be trying to get at...AH! Do I like tempura!

Me: "Yes!"
Her: "I like natto?"

Again, this throws me. Leaving tempura in the dust and moving on...okay, there must be drunk logic at play in this conversation.
By the way, natto is fermented (see also: rotten) soybeans that are sticky and stinky. I love it!

Me: "Yes!"
Her: "I like umeboshi (a Japanese plum that is amazingly sour)?"
Me: "Not so much."
Her: (in Japanese) "So what do you like?"
Me: "Pizza."

I think I disappointed her. She didn't seem too happy with my answer. That, and one of the other members of my group showed up, so Kimono Lady walked away. Odd, just odd.

Walking around Sapporo today, I found a fish market...in the center of town. You'd think that it might just possibly be located a little closer to the, um, ocean? Whatever. It was really a lot of fun. I like open-air markets. There's a cool atmosphere to them that you don't find in many places. Plus there were all sorts of seafoody-type things.

Bundled king crab all laid out.











Live king crab in a fish tank. Big, those things are.










The owner of the shop came over while I was taking the last picture. He took the crab out of the fish tank and put it on the floor so I could take a picture of it. Not only are they big, but they are fairly fast. I'm not the biggest fan of the arachnid family, so it made me just a little jumpy.
There was another fish tank full of king crab, and one kept poking its head barely above the water surface and looking at me. Looked like a classic scene out of some '50's horror flick. Creepy stuff.

Good night!

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