Saturday, April 24, 2010

Failure To Communicate

The Island King and I decided we wanted to try a new Sushi restaurant on Friday night so we ordered pizza for the kids, left the Island Girl in charge and off to dinner we went.

When we got to the sushi place we were excited to see a sign outside that said "All you can eat Sushi buffet - $9.95"

Perfect.

Inside we go and as the waitress showed us to our table she asked something we couldn't understand. She asked a few more times but it wasn't until she made a drinking gesture with her hand that we realized she wanted our drink order.

I ordered a Coke and she smiled, said something and then said "Diet"

No, I may need diet but I don't want diet. I want a real Coke. She smiled more, said "Diet" a few more times and every time she'd say "Diet" I'd say "No Diet - real Coke."

She finally nodded her head and then turned to look at the Island King.

He ordered a Coors Light and she shook her head like she didn't understand.

He said it a couple of more times and each time she shook her head no.

The restaurant was empty (which is odd on a Friday night) and he could see the bar so he got up, walked over and pointed at a Coors Light bottle that was sitting in a display on the bar.

She said something in Japanese and walked off.

And then returned with a Coors Light and a diet Coke.

I don't know if they only had diet or if she was just determined for me to have a diet beverage but apparently that was all I was getting.

She hands us a menu that has no prices on it and says "All you can eat" while moving her hand across the menu.

He asked about the $9.95 buffet sign outside and she started saying $19.95.

For close to five minutes her and the Island King discussed the menu. Him in English and her in Japanese.

He's one of those people that believes speaking louder and using a lot of hand gestures will break any language barrier so he was getting louder and more animated by the minute.

Which is always hysterical to watch.

He was getting a little frustrated so he finally said "So it's all I can eat from anything on this menu for twenty bucks?"

There was a long silence and then she shrugged her shoulders and said "Ok."

Which really seemed more like a 'shut the hell up, quit waving your arms around and just order' ok than a 'your dinner is $20' ok.

We told her we needed a minute and I guess she didn't understand because she just kept standing there.

We finally made a shooing gesture with our hands so she'd go away and we could talk.

Which didn't make her happy because she gave us a serious frown and then stomped off.

By now the Island King has decided he wants a seared tuna but doesn't see it on the menu so he spots the waitress and waves her over to ask about tuna.

Again we have two people speaking two different languages and every time he says "Tuna" she says "Tuka?"

Is Tuka the Japanese word for Tuna? We have no idea.

So my husband the genius asks her if the chef speaks English. And then takes a pen and piece of paper and writes TUNA on it and asks her to take it to the chef.

We watch her go toward the kitchen where all of the wait staff are standing and they all look at the paper. Someone yells something into the kitchen and the chef comes out. He looks at the paper, writes something on it and then hands it back to the waitress.

She brought us the note back and under the word Tuna is something written in Japanese.

Which sent me into a fit of almost hysterical laughter. If the chef doesn't speak English why would you think he can read English?

Their alphabet doesn't even look like ours.

Meanwhile, the line from Cool Hand Luke is playing in my head and I kept hearing "What we have here is a failure to communicate" over and over again.

The waitress is getting impatient with us and wants to take our order so she starts pointing to the menu and saying "All you can eat."

The menu is just a list of all kinds of food but I'm confused. Do I pick one thing and eat all I can or can I order several different things?

I asked several times and each time she'd say "All you can eat."

She was quite frustrated at this point so she does a deep sigh, throws her hands up in the air and walks off.

The Island King and I are looking at each other and he says "I've got a bad feeling about this."

He tells me that while he believes the food will be good that he's uncomfortable ordering from a menu with no prices and that he's not sure what's up with the all you can eat since the sign outside says one thing and the waitress is possibly saying something else.

Which is when we realize that we have two choices. We can order something from the menu and hope to pay a reasonable price or we can go to another place down the road that we are familiar with.

By now I was over wanting to try the new place, wanted a non-diet Coke, and my sides were hurting from laughing at the Island King.

We decide to pay for our drinks and go to the other place.

The waitress returns and we tell her we've decided to come back another night and want to pay for our drinks and go now.

That must not happen often because she had a really blank look on her face and even though the Island King was doing his charades act trying to get our bill she didn't have a clue.

She called over another waitress who didn't understand what we wanted either and called a bus boy over.

It wasn't long before most of the employees were standing around our table, all talking at once and not one word of it in English.

What in the hell is happening here?

I'm trying not to laugh because I don't want them to think I'm laughing at them but seriously, them all talking at once in Japanese and the Island King playing charades was just too much and I sat there holding my sides with tears running down my face.

Finally, by pointing at our drinks, opening his wallet and trying to hand them money they must have understood.

They all started talking to each other at once and one woman gave us a look that was not very nice at all.

I have no idea what she said when she gave us that look but I don't have to speak Japanese to know it wasn't something nice.

Someone brought us our bill and then the whole group followed us to the door, all talking at once.

We're not sure but it's possible they were throwing us out.

Interestingly, the place we ended up is a Chinese restaurant and my fortune cookie said "People are talking about you today."

Which is probably true - I'm sure those people in the Japanese place will be talking about us for many days.
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