Cotton Life

When you go to a foreign country, you expect to discover and learn new things. You find yourself changing in ways that you would have never predicted. Going 100% cotton was one of my adjustments.

I don’t think I ever thought all that much about the content of my yōfuku in America. I bought what looked nice or was well priced. A tee-shirt was a tee-shirt and jeans were jeans. That was the bulk of my wardrobe and still is today. But in Japan, I learned the value of cotton.

The simplest explanation is the otenki. Kyoto is just so darned atsui and mushiatsui that cotton was going to be the best option. And it was prefect for layering during the cold winters. And that was what I found in shops when I started cautiously delving into clothing. I say cautiously, because my size was so different from the typical Japanese women’s size back then. Until I was pregnant and really needed to shop, I didn’t. And then when I confided in my Japanese giri onēsan, she kindly sent me all of her maternity clothes! She was just as tall as me, and had some items that were surely tailor-made.

When my musume was born in 1984, nuno omutsu were still what most mother’s were using. My giri okāsan sewed 100 of them for me. One of the nicest gifts I’ve ever received. Cotton of course and I still have a few of them with blue puppies scampering across them. She had two granddaughters already and perhaps she was hoping for a grandson, but that wasn’t to be…yet.

Japanese diapers

My own parents sent baby clothing from America that had fire-retarding unknown content to me. It did not breathe. I stuck with the Japanese baby clothes—of course, all cotton. And on summer nights I’d religiously insert gauze hankies into her pajamas to absorb ase and change them out during the night every few hours. Yes, I really did those things. Cotton ruled!

And cotton held up well. Our washing machine only used cold water and I hung everything out to dry. The smell of cotton clothing imbued with sunshine and fresh air is always an upper to me!

Hanging laundry while pregnant in Tokyo….
  • yōfuku – 洋服 clothes. Western style clothes. There’s a different word for Japanese style clothing.
  • otenki – お天気 weather
  • atsui – 暑い hot
  • mushiatsui – 蒸し暑い humid
  • giri onēsan – 義理お姉さん (older) sister-in-law. If you put giri before mother, father, sister, brother etc. it turns it into an in-law
  • musume – 娘 daughter or young woman
  • nuno omutsu – 布おむつ cloth diapers (as opposed to disposable diapers which are kami omutsu)
  • giri okāsan – 義理お母さん mother-in-law. If you put giri before mother, father, sister, brother etc. it turns it into an in-law
  • ase – 汗 sweat

On this last day in May

The weather in Kyoto

Thanks to the internet, I know what the weather in Kyoto is like today. I can also follow blogs, friends on Facebook, and websites in both English and Japanese to see photos of how nice and green it has become in Kyoto. And the weather has been jumping back and forth between natsu and haru in the last few weeks causing confusion to those who need to deal with it.

In America, we often think of Memorial Day as the beginning of natsu. There used to be rituals that matched the kisetsu. Not so much anymore. In Japan, I think it is still important. Things will come out of the closet. The senpūki, of course. Perhaps a katoributa if one is fond of the old ways. The zabuton may be switched out for one of rush. Even in the kitchen, there may be different plats and bowls used. Glass is nice in the summer. The illusion of coolness is just as important as real cooling which these days is provided by competent AC.

The fūrin will also come out of the closet. And one must be careful with pronunciation here. A fūrin is a wind chime, but furin is adultery. Oops.

And of course there is the gamut of summer food which merits its own post. We see some of it in Hawaii but here in New England I’m lucky if I see any of it at all. Yesterday, my grandchildren in California were eating green tea ice cream with mochi. The world is indeed getting smaller.

  • natsu – 夏 summer
  • haru – 春 spring
  • kisetsu – 季節 season
  • senpūki – 扇風機 electric fan. There are other words used for handheld fans depending on the type. I may get into that later.
  • katoributa – 蚊取り豚 a ceramic pig that holds mosquito coils
  • zabuton – 座布団 floor cushion
  • fūrin – 風鈴 wind chime
  • furin – 不倫 adultery

Fake Summer

Here in Massachusetts, fake summer is upon us for a mere two days. Temperature in the nineties, but then we will return (hopefully) to the so-called futsū May otenki—though in our world futsū has ceased to exist.

There’s a Japanese word called “gokko.” It’s a suffix that you can add and it means to pretend something. The other morning I put together a typical Japanese mōningu setto for myself and did kissaten-gokko. If I can’t go to Japan right now, I can pretend I am in Japan. It’s a custom in my family.

My best imitation of a Japanese coffee shop breakfast

For example, when my kids were younger and we were living in the USA, we’d sometimes get a bootleg copy of the New Year’s Eve song program called Kohaku Uta Gassen. We’d gather in front of the tv at the kotatsu I brought back from Japan with Japanese snacks and a Japanese meal and do ōmisoka gokko. To do it properly, we’d need mikan of course….

After all, what’s a kotatsu without mikan?

Today, perhaps, I’ll go out and get my hatsu aisu kōhi and do natsu gokko. Because, come tomorrow we’ll be back in spring and since this is New England, even another frost is not out of the question!

  • futsū – 普通 normal, average, expected
  • otenki – お天気 weather
  • gokko – ごっこ pretend. A suffix used to indicate playing at something
  • mōningu setto – モーニングセット morning set. Often a special set served with coffee, toast and an egg and perhaps a small salad. There are infinite variations on this. It’s an economical choice as well.
  • kissaten – 喫茶店 coffee shop. but now refers to an old style coffee shop as opposed to a cafe. Us old folks like this style much better. Hipsters do not. Yet.
  • Kōhaku Uta Gassen – 紅白歌合戦 A big song contest that has been broadcast by NHK tv since 1953 on New Year’s Eve. It pits the men (white team) against the women (red team) and has huge viewership. It goes until almost midnight and then the scene solemnly switches to the chiming of temple bells all over Japan as the new year is welcomed.
  • kotatsu – 炬燵 a low table that is used as a heating device. More about that later.
  • ōmisoka – 大晦日 New Year’s Eve
  • mikan – みかん Japanese tangerines
  • hatsu – 初 first or beginning. Used to modify so many things. There’s hatsukoi 初恋, or first love and hatsumimi 初耳 or “first I’ve heard” which is literally first ear.
  • aisu kōhi – アイスコーヒー iced coffee
  • natsu – 夏 summer

Special Places

We all have them. Or maybe we all had them but they’ve been ruined by the advent of sōsharumedia which seems determined to out every special hidden place anyone has found, complete with detailed chizu. It’s benri, but it is also the easy track when it is done for Japan.

One of my biggest shokku upon returning to Kyoto in 2016 was the amount of signage offered up in English, Korean and Chinese. Kyoto is a tourist city, but really? You’re going to make it that easy for people? Don’t they need to pay their dues (like I did) and learn the language and the ins and outs the hard way? Grumble, grumble. Can you see why the original title of this blog was the Grouchy Granny?

Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese

Even worse than this is the amount of jōhō that is easily found online about places that used to be secret, isolated, empty and shizuka, that are now overrun with kankōkyaku. I do not like to share. Especially when I put in the work!

In the summer of 1979, a friend and I took another friend to visit Kiyomizu Temple. That’s almost the number one tourist spot in Kyoto, but we also knew it would feel cooler up in the hills. After we’d walked around the temple grounds we found a little tea shop with a niwa in back. You’d never know it was there unless you could read Japanese. It was unassuming… and beautiful. The owner took this shashin of the three of us.

Old times, good times

It seems ironic for me to complain about kankōkōgai when I myself was a tourist in 2016. But… I put in my time. And was able to find the Kyoto I missed on the back streets and in restaurants with no language but Japanese. So there.

Right off the main drag, but we were the only foreigners there.
  • sōsharumedia – ソーシャルメディア social media
  • chizu – 地図 a map
  • benri – 便利 convenient
  • shokku – ショック shock(s), surprise
  • shizuka – 静か quiet/peaceful
  • kankōkyaku – 観光客 tourist(s)
  • niwa – 庭 garden
  • shashin – 写真 photograph(s)
  • kankōkōgai – 観光公害 overtourism. Literally tourism pollution.

The Bus Driver

One dreary evening in Kyoto, I tiredly got on a basu home. I’d gotten to know the bus system pretty well and there were a number of different buses that would stop near my home. After checking the number, I got on this bus jishin tappuri. I did not notice that the sign on front with the final destination was a different designation. If it was the right number, that was enough for me and Kyoto place names are diverse; the final stop was no concern of mine.

This is what a Kyoto bus looks like

I snagged a seat by the mado and as it began to rain, I closed my eyes and just felt happy I had a seat. This was not always the case, especially on a rainy day. I dozed a bit, woke up, felt the scenery was a little unfamiliar, but after all, it was the right numbered bus. I still felt fine.

The jōkyaku were weeding out now and soon there were just a few of us left. The bus made a stop and the scenery was totally unfamiliar to me. What the heck? Suddenly I was the only jōkyaku left on the bus! The untenshu kept going and then pulled into a big lot with other buses and stopped. Now I was really on alert. And the untenshu had noticed me on the bus.

Okyaku-sama, where are you going?”

I said I was headed to Hyakumanben. Had I missed my stop?

He explained that this bus wasn’t going there because it was shako-yuki. And I learned a new word. Oops.

Example of a bus route

So, what do you think happened next? I had no idea where I was and how far away I was. It was now dark out and it didn’t seem like an area where taxis would be found.

The bus driver was untroubled. He just started up the bus, turned around and drove me home! How embarrassing. I still wonder if he would have done this for anyone else, but at that time there weren’t that many foreigners in Kyoto and a Japanese person would have paid attention to the numerous announcements stating that the bus was SHAKO-YUKI. Live and learn…. And what a sweet guy, right?

  • basu – バス bus
  • jishin tappuri -自信たっぷり “with plenty of confidence.” jishin means confidence and tappuri means plenty of
  • mado – 窓 window
  • jōkyaku – 乗客 passenger
  • untenshu – 運転手 driver
  • Okyaku-sama – お客様 This is the polite way for someone to address a customer, be it in a store, hotel, or in my case, bus.
  • Hyakumanben – 百万遍 A district of Kyoto where Kyoto University is located. It’s good for cheap dives and has a real student vibe to it.
  • shako-yuki – 車庫行き the sign on the front of a bus (in this case) announcing it is heading for the garage and not necessarily doing the regular route since many routes are circular. Shako means garage and yuki in this case indicates the destination

An Inauspicious Beginning

Your first year in a new place, you’re bound to get sick. New environment, new baikin, more exposure in some cases. In my case, I spent my second week in Japan being byōki. Let me explain.

I had arrived in Japan along with my 20 odd cohorts for a year of study abroad. It was hachigatsu and we landed at Haneda Airport a little too late to catch our connecting flight. So, we took a basu into the city to stay at a huge modern hoteru. For me, the problem was the erebētā. It was one of those swift and silent types that immediately makes me feel nauseous. Not an auspicious beginning.

The next day, we flew to Osaka and took another basu to Kyoto, to the youth hostel that would be our first home in Kyoto before we met our host families. I remember passing gasorin sutando that looked like something out of outer space to me. Possibly a space shuttle would fly in to fuel up!

This style was prevalent when I lived in Japan. I always found it so New Age-ish

Though I was coming from Kansas, which also has hot summers, this heat was more oppressive. I lost my appetite what with the heat and the unfamiliar food. And that led to a whopping episode of natsubate. I lost ten pounds in ten days and ended up with a visit to the Kyoto Baptist Hospital where Dr. Alice Cary, the savior of foreign women in Kyoto, admitted me to the heavenly air-conditioned patient ward. The hospital itself looked like something out of the fifties, but it did the trick and I was restored to health.

One view of the hospital

I ended up living just around the corner from the Cary family and appreciated the chance to get to know them. They played no small role in Kyoto history. You can read about Otis Cary here.

  • baikin – バイキン germs
  • byōki – 病気 sickness
  • hachigatsu – 8月 August, literally 8th month
  • basu – バス bus
  • hoteru – ホテル hotel
  • erebētā – エレベーター elevator
  • gasorin sutando – ガソリンスタンド gas station, or gasoline stand
  • natsubate – 夏バテ A special word used to describe suffering in the summer due to the oppressive heat. When you get natsubate you don’t feel like eating and you can quickly succumb to the heat. Natsu means summer and the bate comes from the verb bateru which means to be exhausted.

The Crow

Before I went to Japan, I didn’t have much interest in kodomo.

That all changed when I turned twenty-seven and the proverbial biological clock went off with a vengeance. I quickly got pregnant and started learning to be a mother. I was very fortunate to be surrounded by other okāsan—three of us even gave birth in the same month. We got into a routine of spending our days together. There were five of us with infants who regularly gathered each morning.

Our apartment in Tokyo. Bottom left is us and there’s me… still pregnant

Each morning we’d gather at Naoko’s house for kōhī. We took turns coming up with snacks, or we gave Naoko money to cover it. Anyone who received a package of treats from their inaka would bring it to share. We’d put the babies down on the floor. As they grew older and began to crawl, we’d all keep an eye on them, but since the apartment and the room was so small, it was easy to do. The babies amused themselves as the mothers secretly compared their growth.

I was a little surprised when I saw the mothers put the babies on their laps and wrap their hands around a hot teacup. Each time they’d do it, they’d say “achichi” which is baby talk for atsui. This is how they taught the babies the meaning of hot. The babies would feel some discomfort and pull their hands away. At first it seemed like a mean thing to do, but the babies quickly learned that when somebody said “Achichi” it meant it could hurt, and it would stop them in their tracks. This was important because our homes were heated with gas and kerosene space heaters. Babies need to learn not to touch them or go near them. As our babies started to crawl, they’d hear a chorus of “Achichi” if they went too close to the space heaters.

Japanese child rearing practices at that time dictated that a baby must spend three hours outside every day. If you went out by yourself with your baby, three hours passed very very slowly. But in a group, we could make it tolerable. We’d put the babies in their bebīkā and hang out in front of the buildings.

The three babies born in the same month in their strollers

I learned something new when our babies became toddlers. We’d take them outside and they’d toddle around the area in front of the buildings. Sometimes there would be a fall, or a toddler would be running and bang into something. When the inevitable tears started, the mothers would not immediately rush to check for injuries or to give comfort. Instead, they’d point up at the sky and say, “Ah! Karasu ga tonda!” Translated literally it means, “Oh, there is a crow flying.”

It was said with great excitement—as if this event was too good to miss and everyone’s eyes would turn towards the sky. If the injured toddler immediately stopped crying and was distracted, then the mother knew the injury was not serious. And most of the time that is exactly what happened. This makes for a tougher kind of kid that doesn’t get unnecessarily coddled as do children in the United States. It seemed harsh to me at first, but I began to use it myself with great success.

A famous song in Japan

I wondered why it was a karasu. Why wasn’t it just “Look at the birdie?” But karasu are impressive big black birds. I suppose they would be more worthwhile and interesting to look at than just any old bird. And crows appeared in children’s culture in songs and books. All children knew “Nanatsu no ko” which is a song was written in 1921. I doubt there is a Japanese person alive that doesn’t know it. But the karasu is also seen as an evil spirit or a sign of bad luck in Japanese culture as well. Thus the fascination for children. You’d want to watch out for them and they have the thrill that comes with something slightly scary. 

I felt fortunate that my daughter got a strong start in life with many loving adults around her. Days passed quickly, and quite often Naoko’s husband would return from work to find us still lounging around. We all took breaks at lunch and returned to our own homes to let the babies nap and to do some household chores, but mornings and late afternoons would always find us together. I’m very glad that I had that introduction to motherhood.

  • kodomo – 子供 child
  • okāsan – お母さん mother(s)
  • kōhī – コーヒー coffee
  • inaka – 田舎 hometown. This word and concept comes up a lot. Some translate it as ancestral homeland. You never forget your roots in Japan and your inaka is where you go for longer holidays.
  • achichi – あちち This is how you say “hot” to a baby or child. It’s baby talk.
  • atsui – 熱い hot
  • bebīkā – ベビーカー stroller (for a baby). Notice that it is literally “baby car.”
  • Karasu ga tonda カラスが飛んだ “Oh look, a crow is flying!” It’s an expression used to distract a toddler or small child. Kind of like telling a child to look up at an airplane to distract them.
  • Nanatsu no ko – 七つの子 The name of a famous folk song that everyone can sing the first few lines of.

The Ubiquitous Tea Cup

I’m lucky enough to have access to Japanese tv here in America. I never dreamed that would ever be possible. Not only do I have access to current programming, but I also have access to those cable stations that play old J-dorama from as far back as the 1960s.

It’s always a thrill to me when I see something I remember in a scene. And the mizutama yunomi is as natsukashii as it gets for me. I had them. Everywhere I went had them. The soba shops and teishokuya that I liked to eat at almost all used these cups.They were cheap and popular.

The polka dot parts are slightly indented so they are easy for anyone to hold. They were first manufactured in 1955 and became very popular in the mid 1960s when Japan was experiencing a period of rapid growth. In 2010 they received the “Good Design Long Life Design Award. And now they are being sold again as retoro and gaining favor once again, according to Ms. Google.

If you’re my age, I bet you’ve had more than one sip out of a teacup just like this.

  • J-doramā – JードラマーJapanese drama (tv programs)
  • mizutama – 水玉 polka-dotted
  • yunomi – 湯飲み teacup
  • natsukashii – 懐かしい nostalgic. This word gets a LOT of use in Japan.
  • teishokuya – 定食屋 the kind of old fashioned eatery that serves set meals usually with soup, rice, a main dish, pickles and a side dish. They often have daily specials.
  • retoro – レトロ retro

That Argument

As a student abroad in Kyoto there were many firsts. We were all excited about a new panyasan that opened just to the west of our campus. So many kinds of breads! And one of our favorites was meron pan. And we had avid discussions and even arguments on why it was called melon bread. We were sure that it must be slightly flavored with melon juice. In fact, sometimes it seemed a little green-tinted. If we could have banana juice, why not melon bread?

Melon Pan

Another faction said it was because it looked like a melon. You are probably going to go ahead and Google this, aren’t you? But in 1976 we had no internet and you would not find it in any guidebook. If we’d asked someone and they weren’t sure (they never were) they’d just prevaricate. We learned that “sō desu ne…” and “do deshō ka” were very useful expressions.

Meanwhile, the panyasan! They had descriptions, but we could not always read them. You could stay safe and stick with what you knew or you could get adventuresome… and end up with curry inside a roll for breakfast. We were great fans of the red bean rolls. Because beans are healthy, right? We had no idea how much satō was in anko back then!

A photo I took at a bakery in Kyoto in 2016

The pizza pan had mayonnaise and corn kernels on it. Why, to this day, I don’t know. Probably because corn looks pretty on it. Appearances are important in Japan. But my favorite after the meron pan was the uinnā pan. It would have fluffy bread around it and catsup and perhaps a bit of parmesan cheese. To this day I can’t resist it.

Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it. My foodie son will eat this, so you could too.

Miraculously, later that year a Mr. Donuts opened on the eastern side of the campus opening up our breakfast choices considerably and giving us access to unlimited cups of amerikan kōhī. Unlimited cups were a cause for rejoicing because that was a first for us in Japan. But that’s a whole other story…

  • panyasan – パン屋さん bakery. It has a bit of an old-fashioned feel to it, though, since bakery is one of those words that is now used widely around Japan
  • meron pan – メロンパン melon bread. There’s the r and l thing at work here. And pan apparently comes from Portuguese.
  • sō desu ne – そうですね “Is that so?” or “hmmm” or “well, yes.” I once had a whole conversation with a little old lady where I didn’t understand a word of it and simply murmured this phrase the whole time. It took her a while to catch on, so this is a handy phrase.
  • dō deshō ka – どうでしょうか “Hmm, I wonder….” “That might be.” A nice ambiguous phrase to respond without actually voicing an opinion. The meaning can change based on your intonation and facial expression.
  • satō – 砂糖 sugar
  • anko – あんこ red bean paste
  • pan – パン bread
  • uinnā pan – ウインナーパン wiener or hot dog bread
  • amerikan kō – アメリカンコーヒー American coffee. In the late seventies when I worked at a restaurant if someone ordered American coffee we made it by pouring half a normal cup of coffee and half hot water into a cup. European coffee is strong, American coffee means a weaker coffee. Don’t order it.

The McDonalds Continuum of Culture Shock

When I first went to Kyoto there were very few Western restaurants. There was a makudonarudo and a Shakey’s Pizza Restaurant downtown. This was in 1976. There were other restaurants that appeared to be Western such as the Lipton Restaurant. We presumed it was British. We also found that the fancy department stores sold exotic chocolates imported from Europe and the United States. Imagine seeing a forlorn Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar next to swanky Swiss and Belgian chocolate with a similar price tag!

The very first McDonalds to come to Japan in 1971. Located in the glamorous Ginza district of Tokyo. And still there!

I was not a kankōkyaku to Kyoto and was now here for the duration. After graduating from college with a major in Japanese Language and Literature I was back for a second shot at Japan.

There were not that many gaikokujin living in Kyoto at that time. After living there for six months, I felt like I’d probably seen them all and talked to the ones I wanted to meet. Kyoto had plenty of kankōkyaku, but they weren’t any of my concern. There was a certain level of snobbery among the foreigners who lived there, and your status was directly linked to your time in Japan, and level of language ability. If you were really cool, you strode around wearing a yukata like Clifton Karhu, a Minnesota artist who later became quite famous. Or you managed a beat coffee house like the poet Cid Corman. If you were a woman, maybe you dared to become a bar hostess instead of teaching English conversation like 95% of all foreigners. Back then almost all Western foreigners taught English, even if they came from Germany or France.

We had no virtually no connection at all with Asian foreigners. When we did meet one, we were excited. They seemed exotic and could “pass” unlike us.

The one thing that you did not do if you were living in Kyoto was to eat at McDonalds. It came up often in conversation, and you wanted to be that person who had not gone even once. Or if you did go, you wanted it to be only in an emergency, or once or twice a year. (It is hard to imagine what the emergency would be since it was located downtown within stone’s throw of any number of genuine Japanese eateries.) You wanted to be the person who didn’t know that to order French fries you had to ask for poteto.” And you wouldn’t know that kechappu wasn’t available unless you specifically asked for it, and then they’d squirt some into a tiny paper cup for you in the back.

I could be very smug here. I’d worked at a McDonalds back in the United States when I was in high school. I’d had my fill and didn’t feel a strong need to take a trip back down that particular memory lane. Though my first encounter with washoku had not gone smoothly, I now knew what I liked to eat and where to get it.

Osho, the cheap Chinese joint that students all loved.

Here is how I rated the cultural adjustment of an American in Japan based on his relationship with McDonalds. Let’s call him Edgar.

  1. Passes by makudonarudo with slight longing in eyes, but nobly resists.
  2. Brags about how much he likes Japanese food and eats sushi every night for dinner.
  3. Starts wearing a yukata to work, and eats nattō. Disdains pasta.
  4. Refuses to talk to any other foreigners. Insists on speaking Japanese with them when forced to converse.
  5. Realizes MinMin, and Osho are really Chinese food joints (cheap greasy spoons with gyoza and fried rice).
  6. His Japanese gets good enough to read menus instead of relying on plastic food models in front of restaurants.
  7. Craves French fries and hates himself for it.
  8. Craves French fries and starts counting how long it has been since he’s had a hamburger.
  9. Realizes he’s being ridiculous and that where one eats is no genuine reflection of…. Well, anything.
  10. Takes off his yukata, walks into McDonalds and unselfconsciously orders a burger and fries. And a banana milkshake. (After all, it IS Japan.)

Omedetō gozaimasu, Edgar! You have now officially adjusted to Japan and can drop all the pretension. Sad to say, this process usually took a long time for Americans, I’m afraid. We have such ridiculous pretensions….

  • makudonarudo マクドナルド McDonalds. It’s a mouthful to say. I think you can get away with just saying makku if you are in context.
  • kankōkyaku – 観光客 tourists
  • gaikokujin – 外国人 foreigners. This is the polite form. In Japan, the shorter the phrase gets the ore casual or even rude it is. Because of that, it isn’t exactly polite when this gets shortened to gaijin. But it very often is shortened to the dismay of some.
  • yukata – 浴衣 summer kimono. These are generally made of cotton. In my mind, if it is not cotton, it is not genuine, i.e. please do not wear any made from rayon or polyester. Cringeworthy!
  • poteto – ポテト You might think this is how you say potato, but you’d be wrong. This means French Fries. Potato has its own word.
  • kechappu – ケチャップ catsup
  • nattō – 納豆 fermented soybeans. I have never even wanted to try nattō and there is a fierce battle between the nattō camp and the not nattō camp. I’m sure they are quite healthy, but yuck. Generally, people in Kyoto do not eat it. I rest my case.
  • MinMin – 珉珉 a cheap Chinese joint. A real greasy spoon that women used to not want to enter. But it was the saving grace for starving students.
  • Osho – 王将 Another cheap Chinese joint that is famous for gyōza. If you’re young and your stomach can stand it, it’s great food!
  • gyōza – 餃子 Fried dumplings.You should know this since they are pretty mainstream outside Japan now.
  • Omedetō gozaimasu – おめでとうございます Congratulations!