Me and Japanese sandwiches
I have said before (and I still sincerely believe it) that if I was not married then I would continue to survive on the diet that characterized my bachelor life in Japan - convenience store sandwiches. Even now, I have no problem with subsisting on convenience store sandwiches if Junko is not around to cook. Why bother cooking? It will only mess up the place, forcing me to clean house. Carrying garbage out is easier than cleaning up the kitchen. Cooking is healthier? I don’t care about health so much as I care about a clean house. It will make life more intersting by adding a certain zing to it? Just the miracle of being alive from day to day (and in Japanto boot) is enough zing for me. I am living on borrowed time as it is. I will live longer? So what.
So I have been eating store-bought sandwiches for 14-years. Long ago I grew accustomed to some of the strange sandwich fillings here: whipped cream and strawberries; asparagus; broccoli; corn; cabbage. I miss the simple, classic peanut butter and jelly/jam - an alien combination to Japanese tastes. (If you want to buy a peanut butter and jam sandwich in Japanyou have to buy a slice of bread with peanut butter on it wrapped in celophane, then another slice of bread with jam spread on it, also wrapped in celophane. Then at home you unwrap them and put them together.) After 14-years I still do not know how to unwrap a sandwich from its celophane skin.
They are wrapped so tightly that I have spent all my time here cutting the wrapping off with a pair of scissors rather than using my fingers and fiddling with it like a Rubic’s Cube. Scissors are so much faster, eloquently simple and direct. Plus, it makes me feel good, as if I am Alexander cutting the Gordian Knot. There is probably some simple trick to it, though. But I have never talked about this with my Japanese acquaintances and presented them with my sandwich wrapper dilemma to learn their solution. I suspect I will end up looking and feeling foolish when they show me the proper way to open a wrapped sandwich with just a twist of a finger tip, or something.
Long ago I developed my pet theory that over-zealous Japanese wrapping might stem from their wet, humid environment. In the summertime especially, Japanis a hot, humid, wet place with lots of mold and mildew. So I came to think that strict quality control laws and over-wrapped merchandise were a kind of public health mechanism and quality preservative. Or, these could just be typically anal retentive affectations. But on the other hand, maybe Japanese enjoy the challenge of over-wrapping and the difficulty that seems to be deliberately designed into the unwrapping process because the challenge of it encourages the virtue of perseverance (an especially great virtue in Japan).