an open letter to my ex-toaster oven.

when my canadian friends brought you over to my place for the first time, i knew it was going to be a difficult transition for both of us.  they told me about your past, and how you had fallen on some hard times.  just by looking at you i could tell you’d done nothing but hang out in a tiny, dusty recycle shop for ten years.  i was saddened, but hardly surprised, when they told me you had sold for a measly 700 yen.

i guess in a tiny kitchen like mine, there is no room for pride.

a $7.00 toaster oven.  when i think “$7.00 toaster oven,” a dusty metal box with no door that somebody built a fire in comes to mind.

which, sadly, isn’t far from what you were when you came into my home.  but i am a cook who believes in second chances.  so i took you in.  i cleaned you up as best i could, and sat you atop my tiny little refrigerator.

i’ll admit, when we first met i doubted that you could ever amount to anything more than a kitchen fire.  but every time i used you to toast my rolls or finish a frittata, you gave it your all, and i couldn’t have asked for anything more.  you were a knight on horseback in a world which had already invented the gun.  you were like a receptionist who used punch-card computers for twenty years trying to compete in a windows 7 world.  you were a wooden, single prop plane in a world where men had been to the moon and back.

suffice to say, you were doomed from the start.  but i believed in you.

towards the end, we had our fair share of fights.  i yelled and cursed at you.  once, during a particularly heated argument we had, you melted the top of my fridge.  i still proudly sport the scars on my knuckles from when you burned the bejeesus out of me while i was toasting some dinner rolls.  remember that time i tried to make gratin with you?  man, did that turn out awful.

in retrospect, i wasn’t as understanding as i should have been.  i remember throwing your rack across the kitchen because apparently blind, stupid people who have never set foot in a kitchen engineered you.  but it wasn’t right for me to hold you responsible.  you were made that way, and it wasn’t my place to try to change you.

sure, my new toaster oven works.  yes, she’s bright red and gloriously shiny.  she has a temperature dial that doesn’t lie and a timer that goes past 15 minutes.   she even came with three different racks and an instruction manual.  but she doesn’t have even close to the same character as you did.  after all, you were born in the 80s.

goodnight, sweet prince.  thanks for all the good times.

sincerely, the poor man.


an ode to makoto-chan (and mekemeke).

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i have this friend.  two of my really close (canadian) friends who, at the time, happened to live right next to the snack bar he owned and operated introduced me to him.  and when i first stopped by his restaurant, we instantly hit it off.

makoto has a little bit of a belly, a shaved head, and a laugh like a clown.  i have never seen him wear any shoes other than sandals, even in winter.  he loves to drink, he loves to sing karaoke after he closes up shop, and he loves to meet new people and ask them all kinds of questions (some of which are far from wholesome).  he has a collection of cell phone photos of himself taken in public places during the wee hours of the morning, in most of which he is super drunk and as naked as a newborn child.  in other words, he epitomizes the word goofy.

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