Monday, May 16, 2005

dinner at juju's

You may reach Juju's without much difficulty, if the directions are good, even though the doorway is so small that you might easily miss it if you were distracted by the early crowds of King's Cross. As you reach the end of the stairs, don't be alarmed by the guy holding plastic bags who welcomes you, sort of, because all he wants is your shoes, because you see, Juju's is an AUTHENTIC Japanese restaurant, and we all know that AUTHENTIC Japanese restaurants don't let you wear your street shoes inside, and make unbecoming street marks on the lovely wood panelling. Oh no, that wouldn't do at all. So you pack your oh-so-beautiful shoes in a not so beautiful supermarket plastic bag and carry it with you to your assigned table. And the tables WILL be assigned, make no mistake, for Juju's is a wildly popular place, and it IS a Saturday night after all. Oh no, they don't care if the birthday girl has booked in huge numbers. They get that all the time. So just take your shoes, look for your table among the vaguely cubicle-like seating arrangements and slide your feet under the table with good grace, nevermind if you've never been to a Japanese restaurant before. Ok. Let's get serious. You're in for a Serious cultural experience here.


Order the sake. When they ask warm or cold, say warm- of course! Everybody knows that Sake must be drunk warm. Try not to hear you neighbour saying that it tastes like mouthwash- what does he know! Ignore, somehow, the fact that none of your table companions have ordered sake, and you know THEY'VE been to a Japanese place before, because you see them wielding the chopsticks like natives. Pour the sake in the little porcelain cup and quaff it, and you realize that your tongue has finally tasted something it never has before. Good. One down. Order the food, and wait for the impending culture clash to be played out on your tongue. This is one time you must turn off the tastebuds, because your brain is telling you that it tastes like..well..nothing, but hey there's an abundance of Soy sauce. Dip it. It will end soon, anyway.
It's getting there, you're close to 10:30 now. That's why people come here, to see the ponytailed guy head to the microphone and announce the rules of the Karaoke. Who cares if you can't understand a word of what he's saying or even if he's speaking english. you already know what he's saying. Let the music begin.
Wait what is sounds's the BIRTHDAY SONG!!! for all three lucky people who shared not only the same birthday but the same idea even. well. Now the day has really begun. Try not to make sense of the videos accompanying the singer, it's all a bunch of vaguely appropriate generic videos. Some verses connect with the songs, but most times, it provides an all too deliriously over the top re-interpretation of the songs, and the night fritters itself away with alarming ease.

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