Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Americans, kids, sushi and sandwiches.

I set off last Thursday morning with my two lovely daughters to Gatwick airport for our big adventure to the Isle of Man. The jourmey to Gatwick was uneventful, we listened to a combination of Lily Allen and Nelly Furtado, it was all the "lys" really and a good time was had by all.

After we had checked in and gone through to airside both my daughters decided they were on the verge of death due to hunger. As a parent I should have realised that this happens, it was about 65 minutes since they had last eaten so things were pretty desperate. Another few minutes and there could have been a phone call to one of these child helpline things to report the cruel and heartless treatment by their Father.

As we only had around 20 minutes before we were due to board I told them that we wouldn't have time to have a proper meal and would have to grab a sandwich or something else quick.

"Dad, I don't like sandwiches", the 10 year old said.

"What do you mean you don't like sandwiches?"

"I don't like them" she said.

"What, you don't like any sandwiches?"

"No, none at all."

"But you have them in your packed lunch at school". I had spotted a weakness in her plan.

"That's different" she replied.

"Oh, well we'll have something else then shall we? I was defeated, but not beaten. Or beaten but not defeated. Or both. I blame Joey Tribbiani.

We spotted a Yo! Sushi place and decided to give it a try. I've actually never been to one before, which is remarkable for a Londoner, and the girls were keen on the novelty factor too.

Sushi is a food that I'm trying to get to know. So far I have found some likes and some dislikes but overall it's a food that I can live with. Apart from these sticky and tiny squares of rice, they are not meant for me.

If any of you aren't familiar with Yo! Sushi it's basically just a load of stools placed around a semi circular counter and serving area. Just inside the counter is a conveyor belt which goes around, as these things do. All the food is placed in different coloured dishes and whizzed round the belt. Each dish has a transparent plastic cover on it so you can see what's inside. You grab a dish that takes your fancy and the colour of the dish dictates the price of said dish. Simple and enjoyable.

We sat there for a bit, ate some prawns noodles and sticky squares of rice and then left. It was all uneventful but enjoyable. Oh, apart from the American tourist.

I feel a need to thank Theena for his post:


He published it a day or two before this happened and it got me thinking about the differences between British and American humour, how those Yanks may well be good at, errm, but they just can't do irony or sarcasm.

Whilst sitting at Yo! Sushi watchng the conveyor belt and thinking about what I would listen to on the iPod on the plane (nothing because I lent it to the 10 year old as it happened) an American tourist came and sat next to me. I knew she was American from her accent and I added the tourist bit in for effect. She may have been living in England for all I know. She looked at me and said:

"Do you know how this thing works?"

The question was presented to me in a tone that pissed me off. There was no smile, no "excuse me", no warmth and certainly no "sorry", which is an essential requirement for any intercourse with a stranger in England.

Politely I told her that one just picks the dishes one requires and pays at the end, with the dishes priced according to their colour. She listened to my answer and then turned away and continued conversing with her companion. Again there was no "thanks" or anything, barely even an acknowledgement that I had spoken. It was one of those moments we have all had when you are treated like a servant, for no apparent reason.

So I turned back to her and said:

"Unless of course you meant how did the conveyor work?, because that's just a belt with a system of pulleys and wheels. I assume they're all electrically driven and that's what makes it all go round."

She just looked at me with an open mouthed goldfish look. Any thoughts I had that she may have actually lived in England and learnt a bit about British humour evaporated at this point. She clearly thought I was being totally serious. She turned to the friend, it was probably George Bush, said something and off they went, muttering.

And that's why Alan Partridge will never be big in the US.


Indyana said...

ouuuu! Can't believe you were so calm and good humoured about that ! I would have been darn rude to her for her condescending blo^#y attitude! Argh!!!

T said...

Yo Sushi is great!!!

BTW the head chef at Yo Sushi is a Sri Lankan, goes by the name of Nathan (guess he shortened it)... in fact he trains all the Japanese chefs as well... great bugger. You can find him at 'Whitelys' in Bayswater (come out of the tube station, turn left and walk straight down to the shopping mall)... Come to think of it his staff were all SL's as well... I make it a point to go there whenever I'm in London. Plus check out a morrocan restaurant called 'marrakesh' fabulous - same direction just turn left before whitelys.

T said...

Sorry the Yo Sushi chef's name was Kanthan not Nathan....