Thoughts from the Grocery Store

This was originally in "fun stuff" but it was too long. This is a list of all the weird stuff I see when I'm out buying food.

1) At a grocery store in Nagoya, at the fish counter, there was a radio playing a tape of a woman singing a hyper-cheerful song about all the fish they sold there. It was very odd.

2) At the local store where I shop, there are two guys about my age who work at the meat counter. They have these white uniforms and white bands tied around their heads, and they stand in front of the counter and yell things. I call them "the meat boys" because I don't know what they're officially called. Every time I go by, they stop yelling and start whispering to each other. One of these days I'm going to have to ask why.

3) Melon is a prized commodity here. A small watermelon (about the size of a bowling ball) is 1500 yen ($15). I mean, they come in a nice little box and all, but still, I can't pay that much for any melon.

4) They wrap everything here. All the food goes into little bags which in turn goes into a bigger bag which is then sealed up. After awhile it gets sort of festive because if you can't remember what all you bought it's like opening presents. (Hey! I did buy dehumidifiers! Cool!)

5) You can buy octopus tentacles and whole squid here. Many of the things still have their heads. I don't really like it when my food looks at me...

6) I found a melon and didn't know what it was, so I smelled it, the way you would a cantaloupe to see if it's ripe. Everyone started looking at me funny. Better not knock on the watermelons either.

7) If you buy a box of cookies, each cookie is individually wrapped it a sealed plastic wrapper inside a little tray. It's really excellent if you're dieting--you only get a few cookies to a box, and you burn off all the calories just getting to it!

8) Labeling standards are very different here. You may but a carton of orange juice that says "100%" on it, but that only guarantees that it's all juice of some kind, not necessarily orange, and as such you sometimes end up with Tang.

9) There are very good sandwiches sold at the convenience store. I often pick them up for lunch or dinner at work. They put egg salad on nearly all of them, which I don't really like but you can't taste it much so it's ok. A combo I like is ham and cream cheese, not something I'd have thought of, but it's good. However, there is a surprise--sometimes, the lettuce is stuck down with a little wasabi--quite a jolt if you're not expecting it.

9.) There's some brand of snack bread with this weird little anime guy on the package. He has the pointy "evil eyes" they give anime villians, and this smirk that says, "You will eat the bread, and you will like it, or else I will release the tentacle demon." Weird. Eerie.

10.) The slogan for Coca-Cola here is "No Reason." I like that; it has an evil overlord of soft drinks effect.

11.) I always laugh when I see advertisements for food and on vending machines, because they use so many American celebrities who would die before appearing in an American ad. Kevin Costner and Brad Pitt sitting over a nice can of vending machine coffee cracks me up every time.

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