Turning Japanese, I Really Think So

There is a small travel agency down the street that specializes in arrangements for travel to and from Japan. Recently, presumably because there was not enough demand for trip arranging in this day and age of travelocity, orbitz, etc., they pushed the agency part into the back and renovated the rest of place as a Japanese grocery store. I stopped by there yesterday to stock up on Pocky Sticks* and ended up perusing the entire contents (they boast something around 700 items) of the store. It reminded me of a miniature version of the mega-grocery store H Mart. It reminded me of my desire to visit Japan (with Gojira who, hopefully, will advise me on what is a soap dispenser and what is an air freshener). It reminded me of this excerpt from David Sedaris's "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" about his trip to the grocery store in Tokyo:

We went there twice yesterday and found ourselves completely lost. The milk I recognized by the red carton and by the silhouette of the cow, but how do you find soy sauce when everything on the shelves looks like soy sauce? How do you differentiate between sugar and salt, between regular coffee and decaf?
There was an abundance of "chicken flavored" items, a smattering of "salad flavored" items, and the rest was a mystery to me. In the end, I could only buy a few other goods that I recognized by the photograph on the packaging or else by the English translation. Again, score one for subtitles!

*We are in the midst of Toilet Training Boot Camp for ZP and one thing that seems to work is offering Pocky Sticks as a reward for each successful trip to the bathroom. Half a stick for number one, a whole stick for number two.


wayfarer said...

we love pocky's around here too. what the heck is men's pocky? are they bigger sticks?

i've been meaning to go to the japanese mall they have here but have yet to make it. Love the japanese book store in nyc though. That place rocks.

baji said...

men's pocky has dark chocolate (my favorite) but i don't know why that makes it manly. i also don't know why anyone would want to eat salad flavored pretzels.

Gojira said...

I bought salad-flavored pretzels in Japan. They taste like petit beurre cookies. Not bad.

baji said...

mmmmm . . . buttery cookie salad.

knicq said...

I guess that is what most people must feel like when they venture into The Pakistan Shop here in Dubai and Sharjah. All those things labelled in Urdu.

Except the Mangoes. You don't need to label them mangoes. They announce their presence. SIGH! Its still five odd months before the mangoes come along... Which is all a jumla-e-motariza. Tangent. With a mango flavor.

Kind of like your blog's lay-out - which is kind of like Mango milk shake with too much milk in it. Or too little mango.

My apologies. You might have figured by now - I have this mango fixation. Obsession.

This is still comment no. 5. Update?

baji said...

but the urdu script and arabic script are the same so maybe there is a wee bit of understanding or ability to figure out what the goods are. but the japanese script is so totally foreign to me - and the cartoon bear on the package doesn't help ... unless it's a package of bear meat.

replace 'mangoes' with 'avocados' and i totally agree. although, tp does make a mean mango lassi . . . mmmm, summer.

you know which mango-flavored buddy designed this layout, right? ;)

gah, aye, time for an update. suggestions?

knicq said...

Oh, but the fact remains that most of the population reads neither Arabic nor Urdu. The locals comprise a very small percentage of the total population, and the Arab expatriates, while in bigger numbers still do not bring the number of Arabic reading people to half the country's population.

I need to meet tp. period.

What you do not know is the fact that the mango flavored buddy is mango averse... we all knew three had to be something not right about her... after all no-one can be perfect, right? But who knew it would be mango aversion, eh?

There's your topic. The near perfect buddy has not had a post written about her... I think. :)

baji said...

ah! i did not know that. time to shove some space in my trivia-laden brain to make room for this tidbit. :)

anytime. make sure you ask him for a venti mango lassi when you come.

truth be told, i was pretty mango-averse growing up too - it was too messy and sticky and pulpy/stringy for me. if, however, it comes in ice cream or lassi or shampoo form, i'm all for it.

actually, if you search for 'sensai,' you'll find many a post dedicated to our nearly perfect buddy. but maybe i'll draft something up about her anyway. or fruit. or something.

wayfarer said...

that's so funny. we like strawberry ones around here although i can't refuse the choc ones either. have you seen those teddy bear cookies they sell where the chocolate or strawberry is inside the belly of the bear? those are pretty tasty too. :-)

salad flavored pretzels...hmmm, sounds okay to me. I must be super hungry lol.

baji said...

haven't seen those teddy bear cookies but will have to keep an eye out!