| Jun 8, 2013

A great big one up on the roof

A Japanese colleague trying to improve her English via episodes of the TV sitcom “Friends” once asked me this . . . “Was ‘Friends’ really aired on prime time television? The content seems so racy. Here this would have been late night fare, for ...

| May 25, 2013

The junkie and his fix

“Weird,” he says. “Give me something weird.” The menu boasts both fish sperm and odorigui — small fish you chew while they’re alive. But such food is not on his wish list. At least not anymore. My dinner friend has lived here for years. ...

| May 11, 2013

What my dentist wants to know

“Ever thought to change your nationality?” This asked by my dentist, as he bent over my mouth and polished my molars with what sounded like a buzz saw. For full effect, repeat his words while running a power tool next to your ear. And ...

| Apr 27, 2013

Carping on carp

Whenever you find someone tossing bits of bread into a pond, you have to assume this: Something’s fishy. “Fish?” the guys snorts. “These aren’t fish. They’re carp. Meaning they’re a lot closer to cows. Fat, stupid cows.” The water below him froths with the ...

Cheering for cherries

| Mar 16, 2013

Cheering for cherries

If the Grinch — that well-known wet blanket of holiday mirth — were both a betting man and Japanese, it wouldn’t be Christmas he was after. Nor New Year’s, nor the Emperor’s birthday, nor Golden Week, nor National Toilet Day (Nov. 10. Mark it ...

| Mar 2, 2013

All lost in the lost-and-found

I’d lost my keys. Which is unsettling enough. For you do not begin to truly ransack your brain — where in the rising sun could they be? — until you’ve ransacked your house. And I mean ransack. Drawers emptied, floorboards pried, every pocket of ...

| Feb 23, 2013

Driving me crazy

Next to my house lies a carpet of land not flat enough to resist puddles and not sandy enough to attract cats. It just sits there. Empty. “Symbolic,” says a friend, “of the hole in your life.” He means the car I do not ...