By: Brion Boyles
Back in the late ’70’s when I was in the US Navy overseas, there was a tiny, kimono’d, silver-bearded old man who sold hot, steaming soup and grilled, spiced octopus on a stick from a little cart at the mouth of an alleyway, near the platform steps of the Shiori train station in Yokosuka, Japan….
All thru the frozen winter rain or snow, as each train would empty of its throngs of Japanese commuters to swirl around and past him like a stone in a fast-running river, he would deeply bow a dozen times and quietly chant in soft Japanese, “Oh, honorable traveler—sample my humble offerings, my meager gifts…Oh, gentle customer, allow me to tempt you with my simple, savory offerings,….oh…..” and so on…until the seething crowd gradually ebbed away….
Then, he’d see a swaggering knot of pea-coated sailors approaching, and he would jump up and shout, “HORAH! LOOKEE MY DERISHUS NUMBAH ONE HOT SMOKEY OCTOPUSSY! —-PUSSY! PUSSY! ONE STICK PUSSY, ONE HUNNAHD YEN! —-ALL SAILAH LOVE MY HOT PUSSY ON STICK! YOU PUTTA THIS PUSSY IN MOUTH, YOU BUY ALL TIME MY NUMBAH ONE PUSSY!”
…and then the next train would pull in…”Oh, kind-hearted stranger, look upon my meager treasures, my poor gifts…. oh…”