Friday, March 7, 2008

Hai, Hai

This place is like Cheers with rice paper lanterns.

I picked up take-out at Kyoto Restaurant in Alexandria, VA, because it was the closest restaurant to my hotel. When I walked in, there were ten patrons in there and despite the fact they were spread out--sitting two or three to a table--they were all talking to each other. Conspiracy-theorizing on D-Day and Pearl Harbor.

There was one waitress working, buzzing kitchen-to-dining-room. Every time a customer caught her attention she would say “Hai, hai.” (“Yes, yes” in Japanese.)

And this massive guy, who could probably trace his ancestors back to the Pacific Islands, always said “Bye, bye” and laughed. They all laughed.


The Massive Guy: “What’s 04?”
Richard: “What do you mean, ‘What’s 04?’ I thought you came out of 04.”
TMG: “I came out of 06.”
R: “Oh. 04 is Logistics.”

Richard and The Massive Guy did most of the talking, with an occasional comment tossed from the other tables.

“Twenty years ago, I wanted to conquer the world,” said Richard. “Now, I just want to work ten more years, take my money, and go home.” He slumped as he sucked the remnants of his rum and Coke off the ice cubes in his glass. His defeated outlook wasn’t helped much by the fact he had settled for rum. Kyoto ran out of bourbon yesterday.

But he smiled, because as he left he received in unison a “See ya, Richard” from the whole crew.

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