Here in merry ol’ Nondisclosedplaceshire, we have quite a few ethnic supermarkets. I like to hit up the “Middle Eastern” groceries when I’m homesick (although most of them seem to be more like Pakistani supermarkets, or carry mostly Turkish products…still, they do have a few things from the Gulf that I’m more used to), but when I need a Japanese fix, I go- oddly enough- to the little Korean supermarket down the street.
When I walked in, the woman behind the counter barely glanced up. I took my time picking and choosing what I wanted- we’re making maki tonight, and I couldn’t find my preferred brand of shari. A few non-sushi things made it into my basket, too (milk tea, kurogoma, gomashio, black sesame and black bean tea, aburage, and more), and I had quite a haul by the time I hit the cash.
The woman started scanning my items. She seemed detached at first, then a little perkier. When she got towards the bottom of my basket and pulled out a pack of shirataki, she stopped and looked me in the face with a smile. “Excuse me, are you English?”
“No, American,” I laughed, “but I used to live in Japan.”
She got a little friendlier then, and we talked about the English weather before her next group of customers come in- a trio of pudgy weeaboo who made for the Pocky with squeals of mispronounced “Sew-goh-eee!” who drove me out, exchanging a knowing smile with the cashier.
Oh, and yes, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I LOVE BLACK SESAME.