lost in translation

Ken & I ate out at a local Japanese restaurant last night.  It was one of those places where you sit at a table with strangers, and the cook comes out and prepares the meals in front of you.  I have never been to such a place before, and although the food was very good, I realized that I have a problem with someone doing performance art directly in front of me. 

I think there are probably two kinds of people: People who love to have someone perform just for them, and those that feel unworthy and self-conscious – like me. The cook came out and started doing interesting things with eggs and knives – which was quite impressive – and all I could think was “God, he probably thinks we’re all a bunch of idiot Americans, going to a restaurant just to see a Japanese guy do a baton twirling show with knives.” and “Geez, he probably hates his job.   I know I would.”

It probably didn’t help that we eight strangers were a rather subdued audience.  I can usually blend in and be my usual wallflower self if there are at least a few more gregarious people in the group.  But, except for Ken, we were all pretty quiet.  Ken was the only outgoing one trying to catch the shrimp in his mouth when the cook was flipping them up in the air. Ken loves stuff like that, and even though he didn’t actually catch anything in his mouth, it didn’t embarrass him at all.   I would be really embarrassed if I had to do that in front of a bunch of strangers.  I’d be thinking “Karen, have you totally lost your mind?”

Ken says we should go to this other Japanese restaurant in the city which he claims is much better. “The cooks do more stuff and it’s a lot more fun!”  which makes me wonder just how much food they make you try to catch in your mouth before you’re served your meal, and if the cooks dress up like ninjas before they start the knife showmanship.   Ninjas are cool.  I would like it if they dressed like Ninjas instead of cooks.  Maybe I would feel more worthy of them cooking me a meal if they looked like tough ninjas.  At any rate, my plan is to have a few drinks first – because I think I could totally get into it if I’m liquored up.  And maybe we should take some fun-loving friends with us, which would be a lot better than eating with strangers. And maybe we could dress up like Ninjas too!   Wouldn’t that be cool? 

Anyway, unbeknownst to me, as I was searching for an appropriate picture for this post, I discovered that there are ACTUAL NINJA-THEMED RESTAURANTS in New York and Japan.   Cool.   If you ask me, that’s just what the Midwest needs right now…
ninja2.jpg
Ninja cook at Ninja-themed restaurant
He doesn’t look very tough or Ninja-like, but maybe it’s a grimace, not a smile…

Here are some other cool ninja sites, in case you’re jonseing for some real Ninja action:

http://www.realultimatepower.net/index4.htm  (turn on your speakers for the total experience!)
http://www.ninjaburger.com/  (for when you just HAVE to have a Ninja come to your house)
http://www.entertheninja.com/ninja_fact/stealth.php  (cool Ninja facts)
http://www.ninjaturtles.com/  (No Ninja list is complete without this one)

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1 Response to “lost in translation”


  1. 1 Blue Athena February 20, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    I totally sympathize! I once had to threaten to walk out of a restaurant if my friends called the opera singer to our table. I don’t even want to trey to unravel the psychology — just leave me out of it.

    AAchohol might be good here…but aren’t these the same places with burning hot metal just inches from your plate? Possibly not a good mix with too many drinks. Ah well…


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