Monday, January 12, 2009

A Night in the Life

On Saturday, Michele and I took my first-ever trip to a Japanese restaurant. Ten gazillion times I have driven past this place on College Drive, maybe twenty gazillion, but rarely if ever did I think about going in. Then when Michele and I were thinking about places to eat the other day it occurred to me that a) Michele had said a couple of times that she loved Japanese food and b) she and I had never gone for Japanese, largely because c) my aforementioned Japanese-food virginity.

To Koto's of Japan we go.

We go in. We didn't make reservations and there's a thirty-minute wait. I give my name and am handed one of the little signaller jobbies, the round black thing that looks like an ashtray with flashing red lights. We first go to the bar, but I notice on the TV the Ravens/Dolphins game. I'm DVR'ing this to watch it later, so catching snippets of it at the bar while waiting on a table just will not do. We go outside and enjoy some night air, refreshingly cool and breezy after a month of unseasonably, ridiculously warm summery weather. Jokes about the final end of "post-summer summer" are told. Michele has a cigarette but after her smoke begins to get uncomfortably chilly. We go inside for the rest of the wait. Our conversations are too mundane to list here ("You can download a Google-mail program specifically for your phone," etc.) but are the comfortable and comforting talks of people who share an effortless and enjoyable chemistry. The time passes smoothly and we're soon told our table by the hibachi grill is ready. Because we were sitting inside by the hostess's podium there was no need for them to send the ashtray its signal, depriving me of seeing the little flashing lights. This is disappointing.

We're led to our seats.

Well now, this is nice. My first look at a hibachi grill. There are four grills, two to each side. Michele and I are take the last two seats to the right of a divider. I'm to her right. Whoops. I have another view of the TV. We switch seats and the game is safely from my view.

On the other grill in our section, a young and seemingly large family is hosting a birthday party for their son, who later proves himself to be something of snotnose little brat. To our right are an older couple out on the town. The man remarks on the game on the TV (he, thankfully, says nothing more than who is playing) and the woman says something in return. They start talking, in rather halting tones, about football. The woman says that forty years ago she knew the names of all the teams in the league, offering this as though it's new information. I wonder if maybe they're in the early stages of dating; if they had been in a long-time relationship it's probable that her old fondness of football would have been ground long since covered. I can't stop smiling. I'm feeling good, soaking up various sight, sounds, smells, and sensations, and this is all pretty cool.

An Asian man with a tall white hat appears, armed to the gills with sharp knives and other tools that could be used either at a grill or in a pain chamber. It's the chef!

(to be continued)

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