steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Japanese Diary 2: Takeaway Lessons

Once upon a time, this was the classic container for British takeaway food:


Okay, not many fish-and-chip shops used the TLS, but you get the idea. Despite their impeccable ecological credentials newspapers were discouraged as containers for fish and chips from around the late '70s, as I recall - from which moment the romance went out of cod.

About 15 years ago I bought a tiffin box, also ecologically impeccable, in order to carry takeaway curries from my local Indian - a sturdy and much-used device:


As of today, sitting next to my tiffin box I have (courtesy of newly-opened Japanese restaurant Yume) my own bento box. Here it is in action this evening:


Why takeaway, you ask, when Yume has such reasonable eat-in prices? Partly because I want a bento box - and partly because I'm still not proficient with chopsticks, especially in the right-handed posture that I understand is standard in Japan even for southpaws such as myself, and want to practice in a shame-free environment.

As you will gather, learning Japanese isn't something I intend to leave a purely academic pursuit - my downfall with previous attempts at language learning. I am working my way through Kurosawa and Sailor Moon (a kind of pincer attack on the culture), and on Sunday will be attending Yume's first Japanese culture evening. I even tried my first shy arigatou gozaimasu this evening! Such temerity!

Meanwhile, I am building up my vocabulary. Apparently there has only been a word for 'green' in Japanese since WWII, before which duty was done by ao (i.e. blue). Hence green traffic lights are even now called ao rather than green (midori). Not that this should surprise me, but it's a nice example for the Saussureans.

On a less happy note, it turns out it's impossible to say the Japanese word for lion (raion) without sounding like a Westerner doing a racist impression of a Japanese person trying to say 'lion.' This could be awkward if I ever go to a Tokyo zoo.
Tags: nippon notes, real life
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded