Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tokyo Scrabble (1)

A few weeks ago I told you about my clandestine trip to Tokyo. A little late, maybe, but I’m back with the news (no longer quite so new) report. The specialists know what I did there—played Scrabble—but the question is when and where.
Jason and I started in a businesslike manner at the Google Japan headquarters, surrounded by hundreds of computers. Of course, we played the real thing, using a board. Yet the adrenaline rush was missing, so we went to a karaoke place. Nothing to get your blood pumping like having to play the lyrics of a song! Carmen says there was no mystery, no charm to the whole thing—half amused, half angry, she says she’s haunted by the image of her husband peacefully reading Scrabble lists on some stone steps, while she was in ecstasy at the magnificent Hindu temples in Khajuraho. I don’t dare contradict her (if you’re married, you know what I mean), but I have to remind her that men would rather choose fun over… well, over a lot of things. And karaoke Scrabble IS fun.

The Scrabble marathon continued with a couple of hours at a family restaurant, where we played until 5 in the morning. Unfortunately, even legendary heroes need a break (if Achilles hadn’t gone to sleep, Patrocles wouldn’t have had time to steal his armour and… my apologies, it seems that my wife planted a mythology bug in my computer), so we started again the next day around noon. At a Chinese restaurant that served authentic Chinese food (not the Japanese-style Chinese food that is so common here) and where Jason and I could brag about our linguistic skills. The only inconvenient was the size of the tables: they were too small for the board. I guess it had been done on purpose: overwhelmed by the hordes of Scrabble players, the owners of the restaurant had adjusted the tables to an unsuitable size. Tactics similar to the burning of the fields and poisoning of the wells used by Romanian peasants in the Middle Ages when threatened by the Turks. World, beware, the Scrabble freaks are coming!

To be continued...

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