Archive for the ‘Annoying Stuff’ Category

Does this make sense to anyone?

Vegan Healing Cafe in Shibuya

After reading the review of Shibuya’s Vegan Healing Cafe over on (I was hunting for vegan options in town using I decided I had to get myself over there and check it out. The landmarks in the map from that review made it super easy to find and I was very happy to find that the single employee spoke English when I walked in. I was more than happy to just point and smile at the items I wanted but right away the gentleman there started telling me which items on the menu were the most popular and how everything they served was 100% vegan. The menu was also in English which I thought was a great sign. I took his advice and ordered the main course that he suggested as well as an iced coffee. He wrote it down, and ran back to the kitchen. Moments later he brought my coffee and I thanked him.

I was the only customer in the restaurant at this point but it wasn’t long until some other folks showed up. A couple showed up and ordered food and drinks. They were served, and then they ordered desert and were served. I still hadn’t received my order but thought perhaps it just took a while to make my dish. That couple left and again I was the only person in the restaurant. Another employee showed up, a lady this time (perhaps the same woman mentioned in the review but I’m not sure) who went right back to the kitchen. Another couple arrived, ordered, were served and left and I still hadn’t gotten anything. I thought it was getting to the point of being really odd when I realized I’d been sitting there waiting (I was reading so wasn’t entirely aware of the time) for almost an hour. I tried to get the attention of the guy who had taken my order to no avail. And when I say I tried to get his attention, I mean I was the only person there and he kept walking right past my table and I would try to talk to him but he wouldn’t make eye contact and just kept walking. Same with the women when I moved on to trying to get her attention.

At this point I was sure something was up but didn’t know where the line was between being rude and just trying to get their attention so I didn’t get up to chase them around or anything and tried to continue being patient. More people came and ordered some stuff to go, which was prepared and given to them and still nothing headed my way. By now I’d been there for over an hour and a half so I gave up. The coffee I ordered was listed on the menu for 480 Yen so I left 600 on the table and walked out. No one followed me or even looked at me as I left. I’m totally baffled here. Does this make sense to anyone?

I’m turning left. Be careful. I’m turning left. Be careful…

truck-small.jpg Imagine waking up every morning to the sound of a talking truck. Or several talking trucks, loudly saying, over and over again, I’m turning left. Be careful. I’m turning left. Be careful… (左に曲がります。ご注意ください。)

My apartment is on a busy corner, and that sound is the first thing I hear every morning, because in Tokyo (and the rest of Japan too, I guess), trucks talk. Their vocabulary appears to be really limited, but from what I’ve been able to ascertain so far, they seem to have perfectly mastered this one I’m turning left. Be careful… phrase and really like to say it. A lot. Especially as they round the corner outside the window of my apartment. At 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning.

Some know-it-all friends of mine have told me that the reason so many trucks have decided to say this all the time is so that visually impaired people can realize there is a truck turning left directly in front of them, thereby preventing the people from wandering straight into the blind-side danger zone of the truck’s path while it’s in the middle of making a left turn. (Remember that vehicles travel on the left-hand side of the road in Japan, for some reason. And on top of that, drivers sit on the right — the side which the steering wheels in vehicles here all seem to have been moved over to. Yeah, I know it all sounds crazy, but it’s true.)

But I think there is some other hidden purpose to this “truck talk” — similar perhaps to the purpose of those shortwave radio frequencies where all you hear is the voice of a woman with a Spanish accent repeating the same letter of the alphabet over and over again: f f f f f f f f…

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