November 30th, 2007

Osaka

An Anti-Gripe (I think, if you like fish)

(context = foreigner working in a Japanese sleep lab. Culture shock ensues.)

I was at the office doing the usual (email, MSN, worrying about cell culture, hiding from the scary lab tech) when I heard this huge kerfuffle from a couple of cubicles away - the sound of several Japanese going "HEEEEHHHHH?!" which typically means "holy shit".

I took a peek out to see one of the lab guys standing there with two big styrofoam boxes, one of which is opened to reveal a bunch of fresh fish. He then pulled out a wad of plastic baggies and started bagging fish and giving them out to the other researchers and EEG techs, who were looking like kids on Christmas day.

A guy. Distributing fresh fish. In the lab office. Winner for most surreal moment of the month.

I could only stand there and blurt Wakarahen (I don't understand), which elicited a couple of laughs - the secretary turned to me and said, "They're sardines", as if that could explain the situation any more. "Jessica-chan, nanpiki?" (How many do you want?)

"I don't get it! Why are we getting free fish?"

One of my other coworkers turned to me and said, "His parents are fishermen."

Oh. Well then, I guess that explains it. I ordered three. The common fridge is now full of bags of fish. Now I have to figure out what to do with them. Anybody have any good fresh sardine recipes that don't involve an oven?
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