Our Japanese writers are certainly no strangers to American cuisine or at least the lower echelons of it. Whenever in the USA they tend to try places unheard of in Japan or compare easy-to-order fast food fare like McDonald’s.
One place that’s often overlooked on these trips is Denny’s. Already a well-established “family restaurant” (low-priced restaurant with waiting staff) in Japan they just assumed it was more of the same in America too.
However, after his close encounter with an empty gate at Area 51, our reporter Go Hatori was cruising across the vastness of the US and began feeling a little fatigued. He suddenly spotted that familiar yellow sign of a Denny’s and thought it would be a good place to catch a quick little bite.
Little did he know what lay in store…
Dusk had set in when Go pulled into the parking lot of the Denny’s in Cortez, Colorado. Exhausted from his long drive he slowly pushed open the heavy door and looked at the cash register. It was a welcoming sight looking just like the one at a Japanese Denny’s, but something was off.
No one was there to greet him and ask how many people were with him. Go waited there and after a little while began to worry that people would think he was trying to rob the place. So, he helped himself to an empty seat.
Go sat at the table for while and stared at the retro Coke ads adorning the walls in a sleepy stupor. Then suddenly a chirpy voice greeted him with the timbre of an anime voice actress. He glanced over to see the waif-like teenage waitress who must have produced such a sound, but only saw a midriff. This anime-girl voice, it turned out, belonged to a giant of a woman who towered over our seated reporter. He thought she certainly was beautiful, but looked as if part of a race of people who would normal enslave puny men like him.
After Anime Girl left, Go opened the menu he was handed and began to study it. HAMBURGER! and STEAK! were prominently displayed. There were also various sandwiches oozing with cheese and pancakes stuffed with something so that they looked like okonomiyaki. For some reason anything you could order came “with” something else, and chances are that something would be a fried egg.
Of course, Go hadn’t expected anything like Udon or Green Tea Over Rice, but there was nothing even remotely simple or singular like that on the menu. He wasn’t a big eater to begin with and this stop wasn’t really for eating as much as it was to just rest up.
Go was still struggling with the menu when Anime Voice came back and asked for his order. Putting on his manliest and most carnivorous voice, he bellowed “STEAK!!” Then, without missing a breath, shouted “AND!!” before thrusting the question “DO YOU HAVE RICE!?” at her. Clearly used to such American forwardness, Anime Girl gave a big smile and said “Yeah!”
A few dozen minutes later, Go’s soup arrived. The choices for soup were a little much for him and he had trouble figuring out what he should get. It came with several packets of crackers too. Go didn’t know what to do with those so he pushed them aside and took a sip of the soup.
As if burnt by the hot water Go recoiled. The soup wasn’t actually so hot, but the flavor of it was so intense that it caught him off guard. Oddly enough, Go could never figure out exactly what flavor the soup was, but it was very strong.
Then it was on to the main course. Go had mistakenly assumed “rice” meant the same white grains that accompany most Japanese meals, and instead received a dry pile of various grains. The steak looked pretty good, though.
But looks can be deceiving as it turned out to be rather tough when he cut into it. Go wouldn’t say it was disgusting exactly, but it had some kind of big taste. As he cut into the meat blood and moisture seeped onto his knife. It tasted bloody too, kind of like liver. It was certainly very meaty…but not quite like a fine steak.
Go continued to saw through the rough slab of meat with the sound of a file rubbing against leather occasionally broken up by the screeching sound of his knife hitting the dish. And as he gnawed on the rubbery beef in his mouth he thought “Is this American meat?”
Unable to finish everything, Go headed to the register to settle up. Anime Girl was there waiting for him as he put on his meat-eater voice and roared “SORRY! I’M FULL!” Then he repeated “FUUUULLLLLL!” as he mimed patting his imaginary enormous belly.
“Okay!” replied Anime Girl with a laugh.
As she rang up the bill, Go watched Anime Girl and thought she really was a spectacular beauty but way more woman than he could ever handle. And that pretty much summed up Go’s American Denny’s experience. Everything from the waitress to the menu, to the soup, to the taste and texture of the meat, to the waiting times would have been much better if only scaled down a bit.
Adding some rice with a splash of green tea to the menu wouldn’t hurt either.
Original article by Go Hatori
▼ Stay tuned for Go’s next adventure where he inexplicably Photoshops himself into more places he has actually been.
[ Read in Japanese ]