Japanese Lessons

in homage to Obasan & all the regulars
at the Kyushu Hanten, Hirakata-shi, Osaka, 1985-86

Slurp your soup as loudly as you can.
Otherwise the cook might think
you don’t really like it.

Never set your bowl down empty
unless you want more. It’s best
to leave a bit of broth undrunk.

Don’t finish your sentences all
the time. It’s rude.

Speak Osaka dialect & the blue-
collar guys will pay for your drinks.

Never express a strong opinion
unless you’re drunk. Then
anything’s O.K.

In the upside-down world of drinkers
there’s only one rule: even
if someone curses your country
& calls your girlfriend a whore
you must never take offense.

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