Thursday, 12 February 2009


Let me begin by explaining the title of this blog. "K-Y" (ケーワイ) is a Japanese slang which is the abbreviation of "kuuki ga yomenai" (空気が読めない), which literally means the "air is not readable." In Japanese, K-Y is used to describe someone who can't read between the lines or can't understand a situation. Basically, what we refer to as "clueless" in English.

I've been in Japan for two years and even though I've gathered up enough knowledge of my surroundings and the culture by way of good old experience, I still feel clueless here sometimes (and this is not only due to my ineptitude with the language), hence the title of the blog.

More and more though, I find myself baffled (most times amused) by the reactions of people back home and friends of mine in the U.S. to some of my experiences here. Maybe my friends are right. Maybe I have been away from home for too long to understand why people would sometimes opt to remain closed to having certain experiences that I take for granted.

The other day I tried fugu (blowfish) for the first time. I don't usually photograph my meals in restaurants,  as many people in Tokyo are in the habit of doing, but since eating fugu is kind of a big deal (the possibility of almost immediate death on account of the poisonous liver) I decided to document the event.  We went to a really nice, reputable restaurant in Ginza, so I was pretty sure I was in no danger of suffering from fugu poisoning. That aside though, it was a first for me, so as soon as the first dish came out, out came my camera.

What you're looking at below is fugu sashimi (thinly sliced, raw fish). It's a pretty bland fish, but with some spicy daikon (Japanese radish) and ponzu (soy sauce with citrus juice), it's  pretty good.

Another fascinating thing about the place was that they had this special sake called "hirezake." "Hire" means fin and zake, of course, is sake. They put some fugu fin in a cup followed by warm sake. Then, they light the drink with a match to stave off the raw smell. It was interesting.  Weird enough for one of my girlfriends in Canada to react to this picture with: "OMG...whatever happened to Jamaican food?!"
What really got to my friends in Jamaica and the U.S. was the following video, which sparked responses such as:

"OMG!!!!! Nassstyyyy"

"I pride myself on being pretty open minded especially when it comes to trying new things in the food department... but that is disgusting."

"Reminds me of Star Trek Klingon food."

"I would have to find the nearest Mcdonalds, KFC or Burger dude..........."

Here's the video. Watch closely; it's only 15 seconds long:

Now, as I watch it again, I'm thinking that I probably would have been tripped out by seeing this had I never come to Japan. Maybe I've become somewhat "asianized" as one of my friends put it. But when it comes to life here, even two years later, I'm still definitely closer to the margins than to the center. More on that later.
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