“The kiss”in the infamous restaurantApr 05, 2023
Only read if you can handle a little vulgarity and a lot of cuteness. : ) I think it’s a funny story, I hope you think so too! : )
Did you know that Japan celebrates the fertility festival “Kanamara Matsuri” in April, which is also called “Penis festival”? If you google it, you’ll be bedazzled by how many kinds of ways these penises get showcased. It’s an old tradition of the shinto religion. Not a new trend.
I tell you this, so that you get a little context for my story today : ).
When Ken and I dated back in 2001 he took me to an Izakaya called Dojō, a type of restaurant where you drink beer or sake and eat little dishes like in a tapas bar. Izakayas are fun, loud, hearty and make you feel welcome the second you enter the door.
“Irasshaimaseeeeee” - welcome - yelled by all the employees is the normal greeting when you come in. There is usually a checkout cashier right in front of the door. Same here. We took a seat and Ken started to order different dishes. Then he told me to order this one: いってしまいました I could read it like a first grader: Itte shimaimashita. When I told the waiter he blasted out into laughter and Ken found it sooo funny too. You know that I don’t particularly like to be made fun of, so I wanted to know what I’ve said!!?
The dishes arrived with the one I ordered: It was a grilled sausage, the front cut into penis-shape. Two balls of rice on the other side and noristripes (seaweed) draped as genital hair. Mayonnaise “came out of the sausage” and with ketchup they wrote: いってしまいました and a heart onto the edge of the plate. Okeey, I can guess now what the dish's name was… In Japanese you don’t say “I come” you say “I go” when you have your orgasm. (I’m sorry if that’s too much information for you… but nice to know, right? And I warned you in the title!)
When Gian visited me (remember my bestie of 30 years) we ordered the sausage dish too to see how he reacts. Well, he didn’t even blink and asked: “How about the gaijin/the foreigner?” Ok, now don’t read any further if you found the descriptions above already daunting… They brought a “double the size-sausage” with bonito flakes as blond genital hairs and even bigger rice balls. Then… Gian asked for equality reasons: “What about the female version?” The kitchen staff was giggling while preparing a vagina draped with roast beef on rice with a little green bean and some slimy radish liquid. It looked so real we couldn’t believe it : ). Noo, don’t worry, I won’t show you dick and vagina pics! Remember, there were no smartphones back then.
We loved going to this Izakaya often because the staff was so much fun and the dishes beside the two mentioned above were totally decent and very yummy too.
One night there was a digital camera laying next to the check out. Bare in mind, a digital camera was a sensational thing in 2001! First time I saw one! I asked: “Oooh will you take a picture of us?” The guy at the check out answered: “Only if you two kiss!” : ) You have to know that kissing in public is kind of like having sex in public in Japan. You. don’t. Kiss. in. public!
We didn’t hesitate a second, kissed, laughed and he took the picture. I wanted to know: “When will you have that pic ready for us?” - “In two weeks”, he said.
Two weeks later we entered the door and there we were kissing: The pic printed out and laminated was leaning against the register facing the entrance. Ken sighed loudly as he was on display kissing in public… and they greeted us laughing sooo hard and one of them said: “EVERYONE ASKED ME if that’s meeee kissing that blond angel…!!” (talking about me ; ) : ) ) He had the same super short hair like Ken and looked quite similar. He confessed that he OF COURSE told everybody that this was him and his “garufurendo” (<- do you recognize the Japanese English here?).
This laminated printout is the most precious pic to me and it decorates our bedroom with other pictures of us. Sooo in love with that memory.
When we came back 5 years later, we entered the restaurant and they greeted us like strangers but with a glimpse of recognition. I told them: “Aaaah you’ve forgotten us!!!” Then the first dishes were served and with ketchup they wrote on the edge of the plate: “Welcome back Ronja-chan and Ken-chan!” I was sooo happy : ).
After that we somehow were too busy visiting everybody in Japan when we were back home and didn’t go to THAT restaurant… buuut last time in 2017 Ken and I had a date night and Mika stayed at a friend's house. We went back, the owner and boss were still the same aaaand of course he remembered us again. I love this so much and I’m looking forward to going to this Izakaya when we are in Takatsuki this time. I love long lasting relationships even with people I meet just occasionally like Hisa, the master of Izakaya Dojō.
Who is your friend you know the longest? Who do you love for years even though you meet only every other year? Writing down the most favorite people in your life to overflow in gratitude is a great treat you can give yourself.
I’ll write another story about friendships soon for sure, without sausages and mayonnaise!
I hope I lightened up your day a bit by imagining these dishes and the festival. : )
Talk to you soooon and follow me on instagram if you want to see daily Japan-stories and reels www.instagram.com/joyismycompass.
Let’s make this world more colorful, playful and JOYful.
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