Thursday, August 7, 2014
Tachiko used to own a restaurant, I’m sure it had a name, but I have not ventured to ask it, yet. It must have been called something tough and scandalous like Samurai Village Coffee Shop or Rudy’s Can’t Fail Ramen. Tachan drinks beer from a can, she wears her hair in a short brown perm. She looks like a 1980’s MTV Japanese band leader, maybe she founded Shonen Knife? She’s sixty years old and burps at the table with gusto. She speaks low and deep, with force, like the big man in a “sword and sandal” film. She could probably one punch your lights out in a fight, even though she stands ring side at about 5 feet and a few inches. She gets up about 4am and cooks in a kitchen she had added onto the ground floor. The kitchen door opens to the carport where her trusty black steed “Honda” waits each morning to carry her on her grocery store route. Tachiko and Honda deliver her delicious bento to local stores that sell them to office workers who want a fast but satisfying lunch. You seldom see her bento goods left in the store after 4pm.
Were the shrimp and fish fillets swimming away from Tachiko’s freezer? To find out she called the police. Fillet capers were low on the priority list said the Po-Po, but at some point they would tear themselves away from the 7-11 doughnut section (It’s not bad I must say) and make a drive by to “secure the ‘hood” and hopefully catch the fish thief. They never arrived. The seafood kept swimming off into thin air, so she called them again. This time she asked them for surveillance advice. She proposed that she sit in the carport after the deliveryman dropped off her daily food supplies, and then hide in her Honda with a baseball bat. The police responded, horrified, that she herself might get hurt if she took that course of action and that they would make haste to patrol the ‘street with no name’ during the times Tachiko was out delivering foodstuffs. Try as they did the mighty Akune Police Force could not crack the case of the missing crab cakes and purloined ebi. Joe Strummer the cat was pretty useless too, as Tachiko thinks the thief bribed him to keep his mouth shut.
One morning after the baffled police had abandoned the chase and resumed browsing the snack cake section of the ‘combini store’, Tachiko forgot some of the bamboo leaf wrapped mochi that was expected by the massive hordes of hungry businessmen across town. As she gunned Honda back into the carport to grab the leaf swaddled mochi, she trapped the vile shrimp predator in mid swipe with freezer lid open, one arm clutching bags of frozen chicken gyoza! It was her rival at cottage industry cookery, the old lady down the street. Tachiko threw open the car door and cussed her up a blue streak, except that, um well, the Japanese language does not really have any cusswords, you just have to get your point across by talking angrily.
Luckily no blows were exchanged. The frozen goods were dumped back into the freezer. The brazen aggressor was chased down the street at broom point. Tachiko has still refused to put a padlock on the freezer, it’s just not that kind of street, or that kind of town.