Friday, September 07, 2007

Cacahuate Japones

A few days ago I wrote about some Japanese peanuts I'd gotten at a grocery store. They were quite good and I wanted more. So this morning while in the parking lot of Dollar Tree, I noticed that in the next shopping center over there was a Mexican store. It was actually called something like "Mexican General Store". So, after I was done ogling the cleavage of the 19 year old in the inappropriate-for-work top ringing up my sad purchases at Dollar Tree, I went over to the Mexican store.

The food selection wasn't anything radically different than what I'd seen in the little Mexican sections of local grocery stores, but the ambiance was totally foreign. The store was also empty of people except a woman and two small children, a boy and girl. The boy, I noticed, was holding rather long stick.

As I walked through the food aisles, I kept noticing random things on the floor: bottles of water, bags of tortillas, etc. I guessed the brat with the stick was going around batting things off the shelves while his sister followed closely behind.

In addition to food, they had shoes (Reeboks and cowboy boots), soccer jerseys, big western-style belt buckles, Virgin Mary candles, loads of CDs by people I'd never heard of, and a wall full of DVDs and videotapes.

I had trouble finding the peanuts. Even though I studied Spanish in school, I can't speak it or read it. I wondered if I would even be able to ask if they had them, but the only word I could remember was "Japones". Thankfully I didn't have to do that because I eventually found what I was looking for. They had several varieties of Japanese peanuts, but I couldn't quite get to them. The brat with the stick and his sister were sort of in the way. I said, "Excuse me," and squeezed by. The grinning brat seemed to want to hit me with the stick. The woman, who I guess was his mother, quickly came up and took the stick away. So, stick-whacking averted, I selected three kinds of peanuts and paid. (And at twice the price of Piggly Wiggly.) I don't think gringos come in here that often because the woman behind the counter seemed vaguely unnerved. So unnerved in fact that she went and short-changed me by 76 cents, but I didn't bother to try and correct her. She wanted me out of the store and I just wanted peanuts. I began to wonder if anyone, even Mexicans, ever came into the store.

The peanuts? Well, the variety with the geisha girl on them aren't very good. And as far as ethnic stereotypes go, a geisha is better than a cartoon coolie-hat-wearing peanut-man, I suppose. The type in the bag on the left are pretty good, but nothing special. The chili ones are quite good. So, as far my future purchases of Japanese peanuts go, it's offensive coolie-hat dude and the chili ones.

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