I have been joking for a month that people here were going to mistake me for a sumo wrestler, but it was really supposed to be just a joke. I couldn’t believe it when this evening three elderly (mid-50s) couples were passing me in the street, and one of them stared at me and said something almost incomprehensible which made the others snicker.
The thing is, I am doing my best when hearing Japanese to try to pick out familiar words… and sumo is pretty familiar. However how can you be sure? I’m glad you asked. The man realized I gave him a sideways glance and started apologizing to me, then asked if I really was a sumo wrestler?
‘Iye Sumo-san. Watashi-wa Taekwondo… Ii dan!’ Not a sumo-wrestler… a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo!
The man realized his mistake, and was embarrassed. He apologized profusely, and explained to me that he was a Black Belt in Karate. We bowed and that would have been it… except his wife, obviously not embarrassed, came up to me and started rubbing my arm, my stomach, my chest… and her friend (one of the other wives) did the same thing.
Wow… for a culture that is supposed to be withdrawn and shy, these women were really NOT. The funny thing is, I am not sure if one had sat on the other’s shoulders if they still would have been as tall as I am. It didn’t stop them though… although it did prevent them from trying to rub my head.
Now I should mention that it was a Saturday evening, they were just coming out of an izakaya (read: bar) and none of them were sober. I’m just glad that none of them suspected I might be a porn star, lest they rub lower than they did!
With that ugly thought I will leave all of my sushi-loving North American readers with a picture of this evening’s dinner… a plate of 18 pieces of sashimi, including salmon, tuna, octopus, squid, clam, and a silver fish that I am not sure what it is… but it is wonderful! To put things in perspective, this plate, plus soup and a dish of edamame, cost about $12.50… and they do not accept tips here. See you tomorrow!