It was my second year of college, in ’90 or ’91, and I sat at a desk in a classroom with maybe a dozen other students of second-year Japanese. The first year, the class had been much bigger, with a good 30 or 40 students. But the workload was heavy, and the grading tough. The enrollment had been whittled down.
The teaching methods were pretty old-school, with textbooks that were probably from the 50s. We did a lot of in-class drills.
That particular day, we were learning the expression “to use something as something else.” (“X to shite Y o tsukaimasu.”) The instructor gave us some examples. He picked up two pencils, and held them as if they were chopsticks. Hashi to shite empitsu o tsukaimasu, he intoned in his booming fluent-but-American-accented Japanese. “I use pencils as chopsticks.” Then he asked for more examples from the class using the construction.
“Use a rope as a belt,” someone might have said. “I use a book as a tray,” someone else might have offered.
I really can’t remember what examples my classmates came up with. Because as I sat there, I needed all of my concentration to contain the urge to giggle. The one sentence that popped into my head was: Nihon de wa, naihu to shite te o tsukaimasu.¹
In Japan, the hand is used like a knife.²
I’m sad to say that I was not called upon to share my example. I was relieved at the time, as I had not yet released my inner goofball. Also, it’s hard to say how the very serious instructor would have taken my contribution. Especially had it been accompanied by uncontrollable fits of giggling.
¹ Google translate helped me arrive at this:
日本 で は ナイフ として手を使います. There was once a time when I could have written this sentence without looking it up, but that day has long passed. Also, I only wrote Japanese by hand. I would have had no idea how to type any of it!
² The actual wording from the 1978 Ginsu commercial is: “In Japan, the hand can be used like a knife.”
Some friends invited us over for a pre-Thanksgiving pot-luck feast this evening. (Well, the feast was this evening. They invited us a week ago. Really, it would be a poor plan to invite people over for a spur-of-the-moment pot-luck. You’d probably end up with a lot of crackers and cereal. Probably many fewer casseroles. Which could actually be a good thing, depending on how you feel about casseroles.)
Anyhow, since we didn’t have to go scavenging through our cupboards, and were able to plan ahead, we went with several dishes. (Dishes containing food, even.) One of these dishes was a fruit salad prepared by Phoebe. She had the idea to make one, and even mentioned this before our trip to the grocery store. She worked really hard on it, spending close to 2 hours on it. She included raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, apple, pear, clementines, grapes, banana and mango. She did almost all of the cutting herself (I helped halve and core the apple and pear, as well as pitting and peeling the mango, since they were trickier.) I was very proud of her for seeing this task through from idea to finish. And I was proud of myself for minimizing my micromanagement. I let her decide which fruits to use, and let her decide how to cut things. Mostly this hands-off approach of mine was because my own hands were busy cooking the other dishes. (Or the other food things that we put in the dishes.)
The results of all of this included a salad that was both beautiful and tasty, and a Phoebe with a sense of accomplishment.
Phoebe’s phenomenal phruit salad.
As for the doldrums, they are all mine. I was on quite a roll with the daily posting, but I seem to have fallen off my roll. Probably because I spent many hours today cooking and socializing, and now I’m tired. It got to be after 11, and I found that all my post ideas of the previous days seem to have evaporated. (Well, some haven’t evaporated, but I need more time to write them than is available before midnight.) So I went for the low-hanging fruit salad.
James Bond: Do you expect me to chop?
Auric Goldfingerlings: No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to dice. And then panfry with some onions.
The Bond Franchise meets the fast food franchise in these lesser-known action movies. Hold on to your seats and grab your ketchup.
- Licence to Peel
- From Russia with Latkes
- Quantum of Solanaceae
- On Her Masher’s Secret Service
- Dumplings Are Forever
- The Living Homefries
- Dr. Gnocchi
- Live and Let Fry
- The Hashbrowns Are Not Enough
- A View Tuber Kill
- The Man with the Golden Spud Gun
- You Only Bake Twice
- Tuber Never Dies
- Kartoffel Royale
- Yukon Goldeneye
- The Spud Who Loved Me
- Fry Another Tater
- For Your Eyes Only
No time to include synopses this time, as I’m beat and need to get my synapses some rest. Please feel free to contribute any plot summaries in the comments.