Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lautrec, Nihonbashi (ロートレック)

From somewhere I conceived the idea that this vaguely French-bistro themed restaurant would be vaguely European and perhaps good. The windows are filled with various Francophile trinkets, and even the interior gives you some idea that they're trying to be Euro.

Incidentally, note the almost-open cherry blossoms artfully included in the shot.

Perhaps it's more of a bar? The shelf under the mirror to your back in this shot is lined with bottles, and the rack of speed pourers above the waitress's head is ample. Additionally, the bartender won the Japanese national cocktail competition (I'm not making this up, unless they are too). In 1958.

The waitress was something else. You only meet Japanese people with this much personality once in a while, but her volume, abrasiveness and bustle would have been right at home in a New York diner (except she's not Russian, of course).

So yeah, lunch turned out to be a sort of junk-food bento. The inclusion of a fried eggroll really gives it away. Let's not dwell on it.

Let's dwell instead on the soup in the back. I took a sip, noted that it tasted like dishwater, and put the bowl down. When the waitress came to clear the tray, she said "Well, you can't eat miso soup, huh!" I smiled politely and didn't say anything, but I gritted my teeth because I hate that 'foreigners can't eat...' theme. Then she went back and told the cook "He can't eat miso soup!"

Well, I suspected she wouldn't mind much, but I thought it over and decided I might as well defend the honor of foreigners everywhere. While paying, I said "I didn't drink the soup because it was terrible." Not unexpectedly, she came back with the equivalent of 'Well excuuuuuuuse me!' and we left it at that.

Until I saw the old couple outside looking at the menu and shaking their heads like they were nearly decided on going in. I had to lean in to their conversation and say "It kinda sucks." They broke out laughing, thanking me and slapping me on the back, and we all went off down the street together.

Felt like my good deed for the day, it did.


  1. So what *is* the equivalent of 'Well excuuuuuuuse me!'? Also, the Japanese for 'It kinda sucks'?

    Diggin' the current lyrics!

  2. Well, she said "Siiiimasen,: but obviously in way that belied the direct translation (as with the above) and I said "Chotto...mazukatta desu," which got the point across.
    Hoped you'd dig that. It's quite a song.