Dear Fuji-san…

Trends & Culture - November 11th, 1988
tokyoweekender_Mike_Marklew

…from Mike Marklew

Nice eating

Having just returned from a six-day trip to the States, I must recount to you the eating habits I observed on the flight.

An American sitting a couple of seats away couldn’t cat with a knife and fork. I don’t mean he wielded chopsticks; he didn’t use a knife and fork together, to actually consume the food.

First he hacked everything on the plate into little bits, then lay down the knife to shovel the grub into his mouth with the fork.

We Britons would sometimes use a knife and fork to eat a pizza, but “fish ‘n’ chips” is eaten with the fingers — out of a newspaper.

A Dutch guy seated next to me, who was as big as a house, told me he thought the Japanese were the strangest eaters. He said he wanted to throw up whenever he heard them inhale noodles.

As I had just seen him place half a chicken breast into a bread roll and devour it in two bites, I had no comment.

Across the aisle, a skinny Japanese girl who was on her first flight poured a tiny pack of salad dressing onto a bowl of fruit and ate it without a qualm. She must think we gaijin have a strange sense of flavor.

Coming from a nation which has sea slugs and the like on menus, maybe she didn’t notice.

My job puts me onto planes often and I’ve learned over the years never to eat on aircraft. My diet is liquid—beer usually, unless I can con the hostie into pinching a bottle of the French wine and some cheese and bickies from first class.

Sure helps getting to sleep.

Mind you, the airline I flew with on the return hop had stewardesses, whose long dresses kept opening at the front while they walked. Totally stuffed up my sleep pattern.

The thing I enjoy most about these trips is returning to Tokyo and eating at my home.

This time I arrived very late and my wife was in her nightie and the kids were asleep. She whipped up a curry while I shaved and showered.

I ate the food, with a spoon.

Yoroshiku,

MIKE