Location: California, United States

There are no random acts. We are all connected. You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind. (the five people you meet in heaven)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Asian Girl Status, Achieved?

I have now been in Japan for four weeks. Just about very morning I go downstairs to have breakfast with my laminated breakfast ticket. (Hello, major geek girl.) This is a restaurant with actual protocol, Japanese style. You must first wait in line to be seated. They find you a seat, then ask if you want coffee or tea, and at that point you can head off to the buffet. I have given up coffee (except for a Starbucks or two on the weekend while I study) and ask for water. The first time I asked for water, I asked for “氷が入っていないお水” (water without ice.) The server looked at me and said, “あぁ~。普通のお水。” (“Oh, regular water.”) Faux pas on my part? Well, the man seating me on Monday (not the one who is usually there) brought me water with ice, since I had not specified. (And I refuse to tell you that once I had drunk the very cold water, I dumped the ice out on my salad plate, one by one, with a spoon. This restaurant has protocol, after all….)

It’s funny, because the people I normally see have more or less figured out that I am the Asian Girl, despite everything. However, when I walk up to the “waiting-to-be-seated” line on the weekend with a few Japanese also waiting, the man who normally seats me will say “Good morning” in English. I always have to wonder if he does that because there are Japanese guests sitting there waiting to be seated.

In any case, I thought that I may never achieve Asian Girl Status at the breakfast restaurant despite having (at this point) eaten there over 20 times.

Tuesday, a new dawn was on the horizon. I must have been giving off good vibes. Not only did everyone at the entrance to the restaurant greet me with “おはようございます” (good morning), no one tried to give me water with ice. (Maybe that trick earlier this week has made me infamous---you never know.) In any case, I’m sure that there will be some incident in the very near future that will bring me back to reality: I am a white girl. Oh well, it’s great while it lasts....


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