A psychedelic Japanese Indian, an Israeli from Ukraine and a vegetarian Dutch English teacher walk into the coolest bar on earth for thanksgiving dinner. Elvis Presley croons “Blue Christmas” as the bartender sips his whiskey and asks, “Hey, where are the Americans?”
We, of course, were an hour late. I tried to blame my Latin wife, an always successful strategy with my family in Texas, but the Eurasians were having none of it.
Nolico the psychedelic Japanese Indian pushed her headdress aside as she danced in her seat, “You said seven, it’s eight. This is magic quiche Eric made!” I took a bite, wondering if it would make me wiggle and groove as much as she already was.
Alex the Ukrainian Israeli cursed us, “Damn Americans think they’re so important. Would you like some Ukranian salad?” he heated up a pan for fresh falafel, “If it is not good, then it is Russian salad.”
And Eric, the vegetarian English teacher asked if we had brought any chicken and apologized for being on time.
The coolest bartender in the world laughed and sipped his whiskey.
These are my friends in Japan. And they’re good ones. I’ve already told you a little about Alex, the Ukrainian Israeli that witnessed medestroy a restaurant, and I’ve told you about Kensei, the bartender sippingwhiskey and the coolest man in Japan, so today, I’ll tell you about Nolico and Eric.
Nolico is the best dresser in town. Half as a joke, Raquel said to dress up as Indians for Thanksgiving dinner, so Nolico came with feathers in her hair and a headdress. She vanished at some point in the night, and reappeared with dozens of locals. Japanese people of all ages poured through the door. Nolico shouted hello and fed every single one of them while the rest of us jabbered away. But Nolico’s greatest strength is that she married Eric in Holland on the back of a bicycle, and has managed to stay married to him for more than fifteen years.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Eric, he’s just a bit sarcastic. He spent thanksgiving dinner convincing everyone in the bar my wife was british, and then convinced an older Japanese man that she was flirting with him, and the old dirty bastard tried to steal a kiss right in front of me (fortunately his friend whacked him on the head before I had to intervene and end my stint in Japan in prison). So, quite wisely, I don’t believe anything Eric says anymore. He recently tried to explain his behavior by enlightening my about Dutch Christmas.
Dutch Christmas is celebrated on December 6th, and came before American Christmas. It is celebrated by reaching your hand into a mysterious box filled with something revolting, and then--I don’t know--I guess just having a gross hand for the rest of the night. The pinnacle of the celebration is the stinging poems people write for each other in some kind of horrid secret Santa ceremony. I’m fairly convinced this was all an elaborate ruse told to convince me to write a vicious poem about either his best friend Alex, or his wife Nolico, but in honor of Eric, I wrote one about him.
The Lying Dutchman
Eric is a giver, of facts that are not true
He’ll pour you beer from your own bottle, convince you that the sky’s not blue,
If you go with him to eat-it’s fine. He won’t eat that much
He’ll drink instead, and quite a bit, and then ask you to go Dutch
That means he’ll pay for half the meal, a steal! A deal most kind!
But he won’t pay a single yen, he’ll let it slip his mind
Nolico his gracious wife, she’s the one that pays,
Eric wouldn’t dream of it, don’t trust a word he says
Eric threw a party, on the day of Halloween,
For his friends to come, they had to pay, a thought- to me-obscene!
Every year he goes to Holland, so if he’s not around
He’s charging his own students for a tour of his hometown,
When my friends came to visit, I asked sir Eric-chan
To come on out and meet them, to see what’s going on,
He came out alright, he did! For two minutes, or was it three?
We were drinking whiskey, so Eric had some tea
The man, he is a teacher, a giver oh-so-wise,
He wants to quit--don’t think he won’t--once he gets his prize,
Though the two of us are rivals, we both teach English for our work,
Eric wants me to teach his classes, what a lazy jerk!
We’re working on a project because Eric begged me, ‘please’,
While I give my sweat and blood he just insults my Japanese,
It’s fine, I think, I don’t speak it well, his criticism’s fair,
Though when I mess up, he laughs so hard that those around me stare,
But I wouldn’t trade him for a better friend, an easy find I’m sure
I’d have my pick of better dressed, more handsome, more demure,
There’s kinder folk, with finer taste, men I’d friend with ease
But Eric laughs when no none does, at childish jokes like these
Merry Christmas Eric! Don’t worry about giving me a gross box or anything!
Joe Darris Mitchell lives in Takayama Japan and goes drinking with all these lecherous cretins when he’s not teaching English. If you enjoyed this post, why not write a dirty poem for one of your friends?