The marbled beef cheeks and uni spaghettini did me no favors. Last night was the worst yet as my body struggled to fight off whatever it is I’ve been battling over the past couple of days. It’s easy to blame the snake soup but, truth is, it could just as easily been the in-flight meal or the piece of chocolate from the complimentary hotel brownie that I ate even though it had fallen off the serving tray and onto the window sill (God knows how many people have made love on that ledge!). No, I was quick to point the finger at the snake soup because my cultural upbringing has conditioned me to be view these reptiles with apprehension and disgust. My Western mind sees snake and automatically thinks “aggressive” and “poisonous” when, in fact, only 150 of over 2000 species of snakes are poisonous. Compare this attitude to some Eastern countries, like Pakistan and India, where the snake is actually revered; where the stereotypes we foolishly embrace are disregarded by those who often make daily contact with these “supposedly deadly” creatures with absolutely no ill-results. Of course, there are exceptions (see related story: “Malaysia’s Snake King dies after cobra bite” I realize now that I was guilty of speciel profiling and I am deeply, deeply ashamed. Yes, it could have been the snake. But then, it could just as readily been the sex chocolate.

Fondy finally put her foot down last night, assuming control over my independence like a Fijian General backed by his country’s armed forces. Monkfish sperm, uni spaghettini, and chestnut cream pastries are out. Miso soup, steamed rice and chicken are in. And I can say goodbye to trying to blowfish special the next time I dine at Kozue, the hotel’s Japanese restaurant. She claimed she was doing it because she wanted what was best for me, but it was 4 a.m. and I suspect she was just cranky. Regardless, she is right. I have to take things slowly if I want to get better. And I will. All day today. Because tonight, we have reservations at the Tapas Molecular Bar where we’re sitting down to a 3-hour, 24-course meal representative of “molecular gastronomy”, a school of cuisine that adds the principles of chemistry and physics to food preparation and presentation, making use of such atypical kitchen instruments and techniques as vacuum filtration, syringes, ultrasonic baths, rotary evaporators, separatory funnels, and thermostated hot plates. Sounds tasty, no? I’m feeling better already.

I’d like to take a moment to thank all of those who have taken the time to comment on my blog, and a few in particular. To Rob and Ted whose miserable meals back in Vancouver make the dinners here all that much sweeter. To Sue for the tip on the space shuttle menu. To Carolina for the horse racing tips. And to Anne-Marie who reminds me why I do this – for the children, God love ‘em. Also, in response to Michelle’s question “Do you use any “Stargate Producer” lines to get better service? I hear the show is very big in Japan.” – I’m traveling incognito. The last thing I need is the embarrassing displays of affection and attention like in Vancouver where I can’t walk down the street without someone stopping me and asking: “Hey, aren’t you one of the guys who co-wrote Prodigy?”. Here in Japan, nobody knows me. That said, I was lying in bed last night, trying to sleep, when Fondy flipped to Discovery Channel International. It was doing a special on, of all things, The Science of Stargate. I don’t remember ever seeing this piece and, in fact, have no recollection of even participating. Then, as I was drifting off, I heard a voice that made me sit up. There I was, on Discovery Channel International, talking about symbiotes. And as I was struck by the enormity of the coincidence, that I’d traveled to another country, another continent, and caught not only a special dedicated to Stargate SG-1, but was actually watching myself on Japanese television, the first thought that came to my mind was: “Crap, is my face really that fat?”

Okay, I just got back from the most inventive, enjoyable, and memorable meal ever. Instead of the expected 23 courses, we were actually served 28 – and I made a point of snapping a pic of each of these incredibly imaginative creations. If you’re interested, check out Part II of today’s blog entry…

4 thoughts on “December 5, 2006 Part I

  1. Now, now… I was starting to get worried this morning when I came into the office, went for my coffee and came to read your blog, part of my morning ritual before I start my day… and what was my surprise?, no news from Joe! I had started to worry that the snake might have over taken your appetite and suddenly there you were without anything to write about… Thank God for Fondy… and for Coca Cola… (you do know that it’s the remedy for all maladies…?) I love reading your blog, thanks for keeping with it rain or shine or… well… you know… :S

    As for the racing tips… I might owe you money, didn’t you loose :0)

  2. Wow – this is better than the last book i read ” An idiots guide to Japan”. very informatiove, educational, humerous, and disturbing. Why do i get the feeling this will end with you being jostled in an airport by local authorities claiming you killed Jon Bonet Ramsey. ( you do bear a resemblence to John Karr….at least in style.). I am fascinating by both; your diet, and your body’s rejection of all you find appealing. Now I am not a Physician, but i think you have a tape worm judging from your symptoms, cravings, weight, and your abnormally large head as featured on the Discovery Channel. (do you do so many TV interviews that you forget? My TV must have some sort of parental control feature enabled on it as I haven’t seen you on TV since you did that workout video in ’85.) Anyway, i have never bothered reading, participating, or posting on a blog in my life, but for my buddy I will try anything once. Except that chocolate that fell. By the way, the 5 second rule is crap. Germs transfer immediatley. Speaking of crap, what else have you sampled? That lab/restaurant you ate at sounds fascinating. All those cute petri dishes. You have no idea of how close you now are to the local “culture”…all 28 strains… Good thing your body seems to have built up quite an immune system. Live strong buddy!! Fondy, please eat carefully. One of the few times I ate at Joe’s house, we had cold chicken wings dipped in honey and Nutella. I almost threw up in his car port when leaving. Partially stimulated by the meal, partially by….well nevermind.

  3. I can’t even begin to comment on your molecular meal, which seems amazingly weird. One doesn’t normally want to hear that syringes are in use in the kitchen.

    As for the Discovery special, it’s part of a series on the science behind various Sci Fi shows. Sadly, it’s only playing in Japan, so you’re ahead of all the fans who have wanted to see it over here. Does your hotel have DVR’s? We could bittorrent the file 🙂

    More than anything, I so wish I had one of those toilets.

  4. Not quite as exotic but I went to France on holiday and ended up watching Scottish tv about my home county lol. Small world indeed. Though I can imagine it would be slightly more unnerving to see yourself on Japanese tv…:S
    And what is it with men and gizmos on toilets??

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