Smelly Pancakes and Supermarket Music

Might I indulge in asking two rhetorical questions?

1) Why is something as delightful as pancakes so darn smelly to make? Not smelly in a dried-squid-snack kind of way (which is really a good malodorousness) but in a "fumigate the entire house with the stench of overheated grease" manner. Perhaps it is my cooking technique... Damn, am I incapable of even pancake-making?

2) Have I unknowingly been labeled persona non grata in supermarkets throughout Tokyo? Why does their selection of music seem to suggest a united, sinister ploy to either drive me crazy or discourage me from lingering more than, oh, one second in their well-stocked aisles? It's just that...surely the disco remake of Celine Dion's best hits can't be playing all the time, 10am-8pm, seven days a week? Wouldn't there be consequences? Like the mental disintegration of all the staff? The only conceivable (and humane, for supermarket workers) conclusion is that they have a special tape with my name on it, and when someone sees that girl approaching, they hastily stuff it into the tape deck, and I find myself gritting my teeth over the tubs of miso as Celine cockily yet agonizingly bellows "Baby think twa-ah-ah-ce!" and the little old lady beside me taps her feet in time with the madly plinking piano accompaniment.

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Oh! Oh! Do they play the disco remix of My Heart Will Go On? In truth, it is better to play the remix of Celine Dion's soppy songs, than to play the O.A. remix versions of Celine Dion's soppy songs. O.A., in case you don't know, are those dodgy fakes that are typically found in pasar malams across Malaysia and Indonesia, which claim to be "Original Artists" (hence O.A.), but are in actual fact, some unknown masquerading as the artist. Worse, they disguise the fact that it's not the original singer by putting a disco beat to it. That, my friend, would be truly nasty to inflict on anyone 24-7.

10/20/2004 11:26:00 PM  

Never heard of "OA" recordings before. But at this Cambodian restaurant in Vancouver that we used to eat at all the time when I was a kid, they would play non-stop Chinese remakes of English pop songs. And I really doubt permission was asked nicely before these recordings were made. Ever heard "Material Girl" performed in Cantonese? Very weird. No two ways about it.

10/21/2004 03:52:00 AM  

Speaking of supermarket music, here's a story.

When I walked into Peacock one day after work this summer on one of the hottest days in Tokyo history, I heard the crowing of cicadas (what word do you use for the sound the cicadas make?) And I thought, how innovative for a Japanese supermarket to bring summer inside the store. Two seconds later I realized there must be something wrong because the sound was so loud and annoying that I wanted to escape the store empty-handed.

When I finally collected all the items on my list and went to the check-out counter, I saw a boy (5 or 6 years old) holding a plastic bag full of cicadas. And everyone was too polite to say something to kick the kid (or his bagful of awful creatures) out of the store!

10/21/2004 11:23:00 AM  

What is it with Japanese kids and cicadas? They're like treasured pets. Well, if you want to be sympathetic, I guess you can see this as evidence of how little space there is in most Japanese homes. Thus instead of a kitty or puppy, most boys and girls in Tokyo have to channel their need to shower love and affection on something toward noisy, short-lived insects.

10/21/2004 05:12:00 PM  

Oops, regarding my previous comment, where I wrote "They're like treasured pets," I was referring to the cicadas, not the children. Although some pets in Japan are treated pretty good. 

Posted by Rachel

10/21/2004 06:53:00 PM  

Children ARE treasured pets, until they become annoying teenagers.  

- Hsin

10/23/2004 11:54:00 AM  

Maybe they are treasured if well behaved. But can babies be trained? 

- Rachel

10/25/2004 11:45:00 PM  

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