Monday, August 09, 2010

Reading Labels

So much better than Pocky!
A friend of mine has just gone off to Japan with JET, and I find myself reliving the experience vicariously through his blog. His discussion about grocery stores prompted me to head into my local Korean/Japanese grocery store. I love walking around the aisles, trying to figure out what everything is. I swear, the snack aisle alone could keep me occupied for hours. I keep hoping to find my favourite Calbee veggie sticks, but alas, in the last couple of years, I've had no luck. Oh! And Fran. It's like the rich man's Pocky. Their blueberry chocolate flavour was my favourite. One of the things I like about shopping in this store is I really don't know what I'm buying half the time.

When was the last time you went to your Loblaws or Sobey's and said that?

A few months back, I bought some dumplings  that I thought were pork and vegetable, but turned out to be kimchi tofu (and delicious). That's the kind of excitement (and unpredictability) that I miss about shopping in Japan. Believe it or not, being illiterate can have a strange upside. The simple act of grocery shopping was a ridiculous adventure. Overwhelming some days, for sure, but coming back to regular old grocery shopping has remained something of a downer for me. Where's the fun of knowing exactly what you're getting?

We mozied to the last aisle of the store, where I ogled over zojirushi rice cookers (WANT), and decided to pick up a few treats: an onigiri (tuna kimchi) for him and a danish with chopped up hotdog (topped with mayo, cheese and nori) for me (nostalgia will cause people to buy the strangest things). We stood around for a bit, trying to decipher the drinks in the refrigerated section, when I saw this gem of translation:

Need I say more?


Keith said...

Being illiterate is the strangest thing ever. I've never felt so clueless before in my life, but it is such an adventure. I try and buy something new each time I go to my local grocery store, to try and broaden my eating horizons. So far, no terrible experiences!

Alyson said...

It's really weird, isn't it? Being illiterate also strangely easy to get used to. It's given me a lot of empathy for those immigrants to Canada who don't learn English.

No unfortunate mayonnaise disguised as cheese encounters yet? I had that twice: a "danish" and some theoretical lasagna. Oh, that was bad. Then I stopped trusting anything that looked like melted cheese!

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