I’m frustrated at Japan. This whole trip has seemed like a total waste. I had this grand impossible vision of my vacation being just like A Cook’s Tour, eating crazy new meals that were all just fantastic. I haven’t had a good meal in two days, and it is really starting to bother me. The worst part about it is that I’m sure I could make things somewhat easier on myself if I just had the balls. I could just waltz right into some joint that in no way caters to foreigners and ask for “chef’s special.” Or take the guidebook along and show the waiter Kanji words of food I might want. But what if I walk into a tempura joint and ask for yakitori. Then I look like a dumb ass American and bring even more disdain than I would have received walking into a place I didn’t belong. See, for all the talk of Japan being welcoming to people and the wait staff at restaurants expecting us to be awkward and ignorant, I get this strong sense every time I wander down a dimly lit alley that I know is lined with tiny restaurants that I don’t belong there and am not welcome at all. And that is part of what is so frustrating to me right now. I just want to have a good meal.