Monday, February 26, 2007

When Chup Misses His Janer

Chup is my main event. While I seem to have a non-stop traveling bug, Chup is fine at home kicking it with a 2 liter. So I leave (London! Paris! Belgium! Arizona!) and he stays home to figure out the cheapest way to make an international calls. I am sure one day he will travel with me, but only when we can afford First Class for his LONG LEGS. And then folks, that will be the day I no longer blog. When not taking photographs for, Chup (who no longer sews because this machine was destroyed not long after this shot) is known to take apart machines and make them better. He did it with me (to be sure.) He's also an actor by trade.

A couple of things about me and Japan:

Yes, I was tall “over there.” Not nearly so tall as one might think, but tall. Actually, I’m exactly the same tall there as I am here....oh, never mind.

And yes, you can find some “weird” stuff to eat. Once I dipped my spoon into a steaming bowl of miso soup at a very nice sushi-ya and came up with not only one-half of a crab raggedly chopped in half with - everything intact - but a nice big spoonful of roe. That’s salmon eggs. Just. Like. The fluorescent pink ones. You fish with. In my soup. Translucent and warm and a little spongy and then you bite one, and “pop” and..... this close.

Then there’s the pizza. Pizza delivered on these sweet three-wheeled scooters with windshields and a little pod on the back to keep your pizza warm. Your pizza topped with - if you so desire - things like; seaweed (nori) flakes and/or slices of dried octopus (tako, ooooh very Japanese) or something much more normal like anchovies or...corn. I would always order pepperoni. Just Pepperoni. And what would one find if one ordered a pepperoni, just pepperoni pizza in Japan? Little packets of Tabasco. Gasp.


A ritual was born. I cannot eat, that is to say I cannot eat and enjoy pepperoni pizza sans Tabasco. Curse? Blessing. (Ding!) Perhaps it has grown into a somewhat more of a decadent, guilty pleasure than when I was a senkyoshi. But do I judge you?

It has become my custom - inasmuch as My Dear Janer does not like pizza – that whenever she leaves town, I treat myself to some sweet pepperoni nostalgia.

I begin early. 4:30 maybe 5:00 p.m. isn’t jumping the gun. I hop(yes) in the car and head toward the RiteAidBiglotsGenEx($4 hoodies!) complex. How convenient that there’s a Blockbuster on the way. Two movies, one new release, one old. One responsible, one not. Or not. Then on to the little toga-toting, big-nosed pizza guy’s place. Little Ceasar’s. You may be familiar with the five dollar cheese or pepperoni pizza deal? Pepperoni, please. Two please. Oh, and that 2 liter bottle of Coke at a %75 mark-up over Macey’s just down the way? Yes, one please. Part of the experience. Juggling two hotzahotza pizzapizza’s, and a jug o’ Coke, I jump (yes) back in the car and hurry home.

Try to imagine the excitement of a little boy headed to the bike shop to pick up the Schwinn Stingray he’s been looking at for months. That’s me at this point. I loooove my wifer, and oh how I miss her, but this...this is GOOD.

Arrival. Promptly open one box, and give Ralphy his two slices. Ice for the drink into the ‘uuge red plastic Coke cup from Arby’s (that you’re not supposed to re-use or dishwasher wash...HAH!.) Wait.......for the foam to go down, and top it off. From the fridge – one bottle of Tabasco. Is that ironical? Chilled hot sauce? Hmmm. Juggling again; pizza, paper towel, drink and Tabasco I head for the couch and the T.V. for the feast and whatever ‘splosion-y goodness I’ve rented.

First slice - I don’t get too crazy with the Tobasco. A little goes such a long way dontcha think? I love how the pepperonis become little Tabasco dishes - a tiny splash of fiery delight when I bite my way to them. Like mustard or vinegar...more is always, better. Second slice I add a little more...and the heat of the pizza builds the intensity of the deceptively sweet pepper sauce with each bite. My lips hum with warmth and my eyes water... Hurts so good.

Too soon the last slice is gone and what’s left of my drink is mostly melted ice.

If my movie is good, I can enjoy the feeling of just that side of too much to eat and a pretty decent Coke headache. I remind myself to remind myself to take it easy next time.

Mostly I just miss my Janer. So I text her something randy. Something like:

Just had my last piece of pizza. Almost as hot as U r. Come home soon. I miss U. Seriously, hurry.