The Wonders of Ducky Duck

With five days under my belt in Japan, a couple of things are clear. Most obviously, the folks in town eat very small portions. My first two restaurant visits were disappointing not by the quality of the great food, but due to the portion size. I’ve learned to go back to the menu and just roger up more grub. I’ve had a few eyebrows raised, but there is nothing quite as disappointing as going to a restaurant and leaving hungrier than when you trotted in. I’ve returned to the Navy Lodge and eaten nutrition bars just to flesh out the tiny meals I’ve ordered over here.

I was poking around the local mall and spied a restaurant by the name of Ducky Duck. And inside sat a salad bar, waving me over. Hey American, fresh veggies! Come on down! If there is one thing that California’s got on Japan, it is the raw greenery. The veggie scene is very different in the Land of the Rising Sun. The folks here tend to either cook or pickle ’em rather than serve them raw. (Before you get excited over the prospect of pickling, I earlier bought a strange pickled plum and seaweed concoction that braced my tongue and nearly forced me to retch. Now I’m very wary around the whole pickling process. I can eat anything, but that, whatever it was called.)

A very official-looking waiter sizes me up when I tell him the salad bar. He then waves me over to it. And, I say, this too. Then I point to what looks like the largest thing on the menu. A mound of beef, rice, curry, and egg. I feel like a conquering Roman, like an American overusing his resources. Sorry world, I am hungry. Both? he asks. Hai! I reply happily. Both! Dumbfounded, he shushes me off to go conquer. One trip only, he adds, sensing my viking-like tendencies to pillage and plunder.

I trot over to the salad bar and look around. No one appears to be watching me. As a bona fide Soup Plantation expert, I plan my attack. First, I put lettuce in the tiny soup bowl and pack it down with the tongs. The, on go the cucumber and tomatoes and the heavier stuff on top. I drizzle on ladles of various dressings. And then I go back to the veggies and really push them down into the bowl. I sprinkle the top with sesame seeds. It is a work of art. A pound of veggies in a three by three bowl. Is the waiter nearby? I look around carefully. Nope. But there is a shy waitress watching me from the edge of the kitchen. Busted. I give her a big, dumb smile. Walking back to my table, I wonder where the sumos eat. Surely those boys could put it back. . .

25 thoughts on “The Wonders of Ducky Duck”

  1. Dear NavyOne, it would seem on your one of many excursions into the ‘world of fine dining’ in Japan and all other Nipponese delights you forgot an ‘r’ in your above description …located somewhere within the above paragraphs…good luck…and I offer my condolences on your smaller portions but there always is a recourse…cook your own…good and nutritious food abounds where both God and the US has transplanted you…take care….k

    1. Hmm, a missing “r” you say? I don’t see it. I have the world’s slowest internet connection here in the Navy Lodge, so it makes posting very challenging…

      1. Navy One: I’m sure you didn’t mean this: Fist, I put lettuce in the tiny soup bowl …wasn’t that supposed to be ‘first’???..anyhow I’m really not that anal….but there you go….k

  2. Your experience is a sorta reverse-validation of what most foreigners say about OUR restaurant portions in the USofA: “They’re HUGE! How could could any one person eat so much food?” I’m not kidding — I’ve heard that a lot.

    1. Buck, I will second that motion, and carry it unanimously… The portions in the US are positively gigantic in comparison to other countries I have visited in the Western world, which includes the UK.

      I recall telling the waitress in Key West, that the pizza she delivered to our (large) table was about the same size as the the lid on my garbage bin back home (the old ‘top-cat’ type ). What was more amazing is that they actually had another size going up!

      How is a man supposed to quaff a gallon of ale after eating such?

      Eat small, drink large…

    1. NavyOne, I’m putting your name forward for Red Cross parcels, you’ll wither away to skin and bone over there!


      1. I am sweating my brains out too. I usually sweat through both my t-shirt and normal shirt and my pants too. And my backpack straps. I don’t know why I am like an open faucet. I would be embarrassed, but I can’t control it…

    1. RGR that. Tonight I jammed over to KFC and got two legs and a large ice tea. And this was after a full dinner. You gotta eat!

  3. I think sumos live in dorms and have a “training table”….so they don’t have to worry about restaurant portion size until they retire.

    When I was at university and watching the football players out on the town, they’d get lettuce leaves and arrange them around the edge of the bowl, sticking up several inches above the rim — then the heavy stuff went in the bottom, and the lighter stuff on top so the leaves wouldn’t bend and let the 2-3 inches of salad above the rim of the bowl fall off!! Sweet – you’d think they were engineering majors, or something.

    A photo or two of your exploits would be fabulous…..


  4. Ruby: Yes, the New Sanno is on my list of places to go. And thanks for reminding me.
    LS: Huh, interesting. That is a first heard for me. Makes sense.
    Earl: I am not much of a picture guy, but I’ll keep an eye out for a kodak moment.

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