The Japanese no-no

14 Jul

My sister got the best birthday parties. Surprise parties, horse rides, magicians, you name it. One time my mom invented a Mystery Dinner for her birthday. Every kid sat around the table and received a menu. It listed things such as “Chinese No-No” (a fork), “Big hit” (punch) or my personal favorite, “Mouse’s delight with trees” (broccoli cheese casserole). Each child ordered their meal without knowing what they were getting. Not everyone was pleased when their order arrived, though. Imagine getting a fork, tomato soup and grapes when someone else has macaroni and cheese, chocolate cake and Kool-Aid! I’m jealous just thinking about it.

Kua ‘Aina has locations in Tokyo, London and Hawaii.

My point is not that I am the forgotten child who never got a surprise party even though I asked for one every year (I’m over that). Nope. I thought of the Mystery Dinner when I tried to get a free drink refill in Tokyo a few months ago. My friend and I were at a Hawaiian burger joint in Kanda and I ordered guava juice with my meal. It was so delicious that I ignored my common sense, perhaps as well as my cultural deference, and asked for a refill.

Once the girl behind the counter realized what I wanted (after lots of pleading and gesturing), she emphatically denied me. So I walked out the door drinkless, feeling a tinge of homesickness. It was gone in two seconds, mind you, but it’s funny the things that get you. For me, home was DIY pop fountains.

So if I ever put together a Mystery Dinner menu for my future kid’s birthday, I’ll include the famous Chinese No-No. But there will also be a Japanese No-No, complete with a monster-sized cup featuring as many refills as the kids can drink. Passive agressive revenge? Maybe 🙂


4 Responses to “The Japanese no-no”

  1. Marko July 15, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    Yeah… sigh… I miss the free refills. I remember my very first free refill. I was at a Mexican restaurant somewhere around Nashville area, with my good friend Charlie. I got this humongous cup of coke, that overwhelmed my eyes and my heart, just by looking at it. I wasn’t even half way done drinking it when a lady come by with a pitcher full of coke, asking me if I wanted a refill. With the shock and awe in my eyes and the biggest grin on my face, I said YES! 😀

  2. Mary Taylor July 15, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

    I mostly drink water in restaurants
    so I do get refills


  1. McLame or McLegit? « Traveling by Taste - November 13, 2012

    […] And he meant it. Because Mickey D’s is legit over there in Europedom – y’all, we’re missing out! We are missing out on gorgeous lattes in real cups made by a barista who has never touched a fry in his life. We are missing out on watching business meetings unfold amidst brightly colored chairs and carefully avoiding the official-looking man guarding the fountain drinks (why must everyone deny me free refills?!). […]

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