died in the wool ______

To have no set purpose in one's life is the harlotry of the will -Stephen Mackenna-

Saturday, January 01, 2005


So there's a great eatery down the way that serves among certain things falafel . It's a little kiosk near the oedo line roppongi exit near the currently under construction Tokyo mid town project. The owner of the establishment is Turkish (how he's in operation as far as visa, etc. goes, I can only imagine) and the interior is your staple euro trash with hard house music playing and posters of to these american eyes, cool european movies. Lately, however his son has taken over for some reason. And when he took my order he asked me in English etc. Then he chats away in Japanese to his Japanese customers. Then switches to Turkish to chat with one of his turkish speaking buddies hanging out in the kiosk cum resturant. I thought about making falafel recently . After looking at the recipe, though, it seems that canned garbanzo beans are a big no-no. Since I had already bought a can of garbanzo beans, I was stuck. I decided to strike up a conversation with this seeming trilinguist in English first. Blank stare after I asked him about where he buys his ingredients. I try again in Japanese, this time with some success. He said he gets all of his ingredients from Turkey. Now I find that hard to believe (First of all they're using cabbage instead of lettuce and why would you import onions from Tukey?) I think he meant the gyros meat. Anybody know where I can find dried garbanzo beans in Tokyo that has subway access? No non-23-ward-car-access-only mega shopping centers please. My Int'l drivers license expired in May. Anyway, the interesting thing to me was, this kiosk worker seemed to have so much going for him language-wise.


At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

quite a silly post - for sure could only have been written by a "culturally sensitive" american...
got a chinese friend who works in akihabara, and can with reasonable fluency (plus correct pronounciation - real surprise in the case of a chinese!) explain in english benefits of certain digital camera models, putting together really convincing sales pitches
but apart from this, he does not speak english at all - not even to conduct basic small talk
it's all up to the linguistic talent of a person, and i don't see a reason to judge anybody based on such things, let alone write not particularly clever, politically incorrect opinions about this
it just seems that once an american learns a foreign language (a rarity, indeed), he can easily use it as a way of judging the others... yeah, those stupid japs who hardly speak any english, those turks (for sure illegal immigrants) with whom i cannot even talk in my own language, those french who have such a disgusting accent etc etc
think how difficult it might be for them (plus for the immigrants in japan - imagine their living conditions, put yourself in shoes of a guy spending 18 h/day selling the f*&%#ng fallafel, by the way not really resembling what you could get e.g. in jerusalem), and think twice before you write
people brought up in a certain culture unintentionally internalize its good and bad elements - even if they seem having a lot of fun living abroad, this background reminds of itself from time to time, go through college anthropology notes...

At 11:36 AM, Blogger Travis said...

woah! who's judging? I'm don't feel like I'm attacking anyone in this post, and therefore don't feel like I need to defend it.

If my blogger seems trite and ill-observed, well that's too bad. This is my place to post my thoughts. Perhaps you would be advised to look at a more academic journal if you're not interested in subjectivity.


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