No one really wants to read about Hell’s Kitchen. You do, however, want to read this, from Jodi at Pistols and Popcorn, the woman who defeated me in the Bloggies because she has a fat brother who rides a bike.  Also because she’s more interesting than me.  But mostly the fat-guy-on-bike thing. When you’re done, why not read the week’s guest posts from some other kick-ass bloggers, if you haven’t already? Which you should have. (If you’re wondering why all the guests: go here.)

Being a guest writer is a little intimidating.  No one is actually coming here to hear from me, yet here I am with all my words and you’re here anyway, so why don’t you just park your sweet candy ass down and spend a few minutes with me?  First, let me say that I’ve got nothing intelligible to say about cooking.  I am a buffoon in the kitchen.  Still, Thursday Night Smackdown is one of my favorite reads, so I’m going to try to do right by you group of rowdy food lovers.

Michelle suggested that I possibly tackle a post about drinks…after all: I was a bartender at one point.  But see here’s the problem: though I was a bartender, it was in Japan.  And there, it was essentially three-drink-easy: Whisky and water, Shochu (Soju) and water, or Beer.  Ummmm…this was easy enough that even I couldn’t screw it up.

A little background: while exploring my impossibly carefree and whimsical mid-twenties, I landed in Nagano, Japan.  The series of events that took me there involved black-market English teaching in Seoul, Korea, the actual deportation of an almost boyfriend (as opposed to the almost deportation of an actual boyfriend), and the collapse of the Korean economy.  Nagano opened her arms up to me and gave me a big Japanese hug in the form of an apartment, a job, and a built-in set of friends.  We all lived together and worked at the same place and huddled around the kerosene heater in the living room, or sat alone on the heated toilet seat in the bathroom.  That is seriously a good idea.  Extraordinarily relaxing.  I’m sorry, back to the drink.

To be a bartender in Japan, or at least where I worked, you had to be a pretty capable drinker.  The customers don’t order drinks by the glass, but would buy the entire bottle, put their name on it, and drink cocktails from that bottle. Most of the bars are set up this way.  The goal is clearly to empty the bottle as quickly as possible, so the customer will buy yet another bottle.  Not only do you refresh their drink after about every third sip (this is not a poetic or creative exaggeration.  Their drink would always be at least ¾ full.  Or else.), you were also expected to drink with each customer.  A rule of conduct was that you didn’t move your drink from person to person, but that you would have a different drink poured for yourself for each customer, from his or her bottle.  So during the course of the night, bartenders would have anywhere from two to six drinks of their own lined up on the bar in play at any given moment.

My first night on the job ruined me.  I didn’t know the pace to keep, and didn’t have any idea how to surreptitiously dump my drink in the sink without being noticed.  Eventually I caught on to the nuances of staying somewhat functional for the entire shift, but it wasn’t without incident.  There were many karaoke moments that probably shouldn’t have happened.  There were a few nights I thought I was probably fluent in Japanese and tried to express myself with my new found language skill.  Those instances were to my memory – mostly met with laughter.

And with that laughter I have come to the mention of food.  Clearly after a bender, (which happened to be every night at work), you need snacks.  So though I cannot cook, I can recommend what to pick up in Japan when you are drunk and cannot read any labels because everything is written in Japanese or non-sensical (but beautiful?) nursery-rhyme type poetry.

The Good:

The Tempting but Really You’d Better Say “No”:

And, The Seriously?  Even a Baka Gaijin Should Know Better than to even consider these:

Thanks for reading, and since I’m safe in the land of swearing and sunshine my signoff shall be:

Konichiwa, bitches.