Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

Don’t worry folks you will need your whole seat for this one!

Yeah – boring day.  I didn’t step outside of my hotel room until almost 7pm.

I did my expense report.  I wrote a couple of blog posts.  I spoke with Susan for a bit.  And I worked… a lot.

It was nice(ish) to be in the hotel room instead of the office because it meant for improved air conditioning, more comfortable dress (pjs!) and goofy dancing / singing when the urge struck.  I got a lot of stuff done and feel a little more comfortable about what’s coming up.  I still think it’s going to be an amazingly difficult week because we’re coming down the stretch toward a sizable deadline.

The trip outside of the hotel room was for dinner.  I did briefly consider room service, but decided against it because it seemed a touch excessive to be inside all day long.  I consulted my very handy map and decided on tonkatsu.  I’m a really big fan of katsudon and have been since shortly after we moved to Nashville and I had it at Ken’s sushi.

Once again I headed down the block, but today I grabbed my jacket because it was a bit chilly and I put my headphones in to continue the soundtrack of the day.  I strode confidently down the street and proceeded directly to my destination.  Upon arrival I took a long look at the plastic food displays, making sure I was okay with the pricing and thinking about what I might eat.  There were way more options that I had expected, but that was a nice thing.

I stepped in (after coaching myself up a bit – I’m still nervous about going into places) and greeted the man at the door with my best ‘konbanwa’ (good evening).  He asked if it was just me (thank you sign language and context clues), to which I replied ‘hai’.  He told me ‘douzo’, indicating I should take a seat at the bar.

I found a Japanese menu sitting on the bar, so I proceed to flip through it.  I was trying to find a picture of the thing I’d decided on from the plastic display, but didn’t have much luck.  As I started the menu over, the man approached and asked if I wanted an English menu.  Amusingly he asked this question in Japanese, but I knew what he was getting at, so I answered yes.  I reviewed my choices in my native language and proceeded to order.

Now I don’t think I’ve brought this up before – in a restaurant the waiter / waitress doesn’t necessarily come to your table, check in on you and take your order.  Instead you call them over with ‘sumimasen’, so that’s what I did.  I pointed to my choice and told him ‘setto’ – indicating that I wanted that dish with the set.  In this case the set included rice, miso and pickles.

I spent the intervening time on my Blackberry making notes for this post.  I considered the fact that I was yet again sitting at a bar for dinner.  I theorize the bar seating is indicative of their common clientele – solo business people – in combination with sheer space constraints.  This place also had an upstairs which I presume was table seating.  I partook in the chilled green tea that was provided.  I considered the pain in my palms from the slight burns of using the laptop keyboard all day long.  I resolved to find a keyboard soon.

Eventually my food came out – it was delivered on a sizzling hot iron plate just like a place would deliver fajitas.  Instead of a pile of peppers, onions and chicken I had a bed of hot cabbage and a cut up, deep fried pork cutlet.  Combined with the rice, it was a delightfully filling meal.  Near the end of the meal the waiter brought me a little dish of some sort of sauce.  I don’t know if he’d forgotten it or if he was just being nice, but I used it for my last piece.  I presume this was tonkatsu sauce.  (Inventive name, isn’t it?)

Once filled to the top, I took my bill to the front, paid and headed out the door.  I strode back the couple of blocks to my hotel.  I encountered 3 people heading to elevator at the same time as me, so I slowed by a step or two and let them get on first.  They were getting off a floor before me, and I did what seems to be another common action – I held the “Open” button to make sure they could get out without issue.  The older woman turned and said ‘arrigato’ to me, which made my night.  Of course I had no idea how to respond – I don’t know Japanese for “you’re welcome.”  Or at least I didn’t then… it’s ‘doitashimashite‘.

Back to the elevator thing – manning the Open & Close button seems to be a critical element to riding in an elevator in this town.  Any time there is a Japanese person in an elevator with me, they all seem to do it religiously.  The elevator arrives at a floor, the person closet the buttons holds the Open.  As soon as they are off, they switch to holding the Close button.  Also, just as a note because most of the buttons seem to be Japanese only, the GREEN button is open.

So, now it’s bedtime.  Busy week coming up… wish me luck.

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