Yet Another Japanese Restaurant Misadventure


Anybody who knows me reasonably well can attest to the fact that I like to try new foods. 9 out of 10 times this doesn’t end too well. As much as I like Japanese food I have to admit that this is the cuisine where I most often go wrong. Yet, horrors such as ice cream with ginger chunks or meat with a gelatin-like texture have not stopped me from going back for more.

The strangest of experiences involved a quaint Japanese restaurant in downtown Toronto. I decided to pick a random item off the menu rather than heed the warnings of my friends. When their familiar plates of terriyaki and ramen arrived, they happily dug in. I, on the other hand, wanted to clarify something with the waitress before eating.

“Is this alive?” I asked. “Yes,” she replied with a smile. Not happy with her answer, I decided it was time for a second opinion. Or fourth opinion rather. I didn’t like what my friends had to say. They were convinced that my plate of moving food was karma for not listening to them.

I tried incredibly hard to get the attention of another waitress (learn more about how difficult it is to get attention in a restaurant here). In the meanwhile, my food continued to move wildly. When I finally got her attention, her words were far from comforting.

“Is this alive?”
“The other waitress said it was”
“I only speak little English”

Eventually when my food stopped moving I realized it was just steam. Had the food not been utterly delicious I might have learned a lesson about ordering random things from the menu. Instead, I learned something far more useful. Before dining out, learn how to say ‘is this alive?’ in other langauges.