I tried my very best to develop a taste for the local cuisine when I first arrived in Japan - I really did. But the only thing that all of that culinary exploration got me was an almost constant case of diarrhea. I quickly learned that if I was going to survive, I would have to shop at the base commissary and prepare my own meals, or go to the American fast food joints located on base. (There are some American fast food joints located off base, but their offerings have distinctly Japanese trappings and/or flavors.)
Recently the husband of one of our psychiatrists, a trained chef, has begun catering our building during lunch, but his meals have such big portions that I fear bloating to four hundred pounds and not being able to fit in the airplane seat for my upcoming trip home! Stan's meals are wonderful though - it's like having a fine restaurant magically transported into my crappy office!
But most days I eat out. Sometimes it's a Subway sandwich, other times it is Popeye's chicken or an egg salad sandwich from a sandwich shop - or a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. I try to avoid drive-up windows because all of the workers at the fast food places are Okinawans, and some have much less skill with English than others - so it is customer beware. Sometimes you get more than you bargained for, and sometimes less - and sometimes something completely unexpected.
Today I did the drive-thru of our base Burger King because I hadn't been there for awhile and thought why the hell not. I wanted to eat as healthy as I could at Burger King, yet still get full, so I ordered a large unsweet iced-tea and a grilled chicken sandwich. Simple, yes? The lady at the speaker wanted more information about my sandwich. "Did I," she asked, "want cheese and bacon with that?"
"God, no!" I shrieked! "Chicken, tomato, pickles, and mustard!"
And somehow she managed to prepare it just as I ordered.
But the idea of creating a sandwich out of at least three distinct species (chicken, pig, and cow) had me rattled for the rest of the afternoon. (It could have conceivably been four species, because these sneaky locals believe everything is better if it is fried in fish oil - even grilled chicken!) What civilized person would create such a monstrosity?
I hope this is just an Okinawan aberration and Burger King has not lost it's corporate mind! Not only is consuming three separate species in a sandwich the moral and disgusting equivalent of sleeping with your granny, the bacon and cheese (fat and fatter) negate any possible health benefits of grilled chicken.
Six hours later and I am still feeling the need to shower - or go to confession!