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Chopsticks January 27, 2010

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Ramblings, Up and Away.
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The wife prepared an oriental dish for dinner the other night, complete with a chopsticks-and-bowl table setting. This was both something different and a pleasant surprise.

“Dear,” I asked, “where’d you get the chopsticks?” These were the real deal and not the disposable stuff one can get from the supermarket; a nicely crafted wooden set with fine narrow tips. For some reason, I just couldn’t place where they came from.

“Don’t you remember?” she replied. “We got them in Singapore.”

So reminded, I did recall:

We happened to be passing by Takashimaya and discovered a display of Japanese crockery and china that appeared to be on sale. As we didn’t yet have a bowls and plates to match an oriental motif (you never know), the wife suggested it might be a good idea to see if there were any we liked. I agreed, and thus she set about to try and put a set together.

This task proved to be a little more involved than we anticipated, as the items were sold by piece — except for the chopsticks — and had different designs in varying amount of stock. So bowls, trays, chopsticks and all other manner of items had to be mixed and matched to get just the right look and feel for our liking. At first, it was enough for her to piece things together on her own, but soon enough it became necessary to invoke the assistance of a saleslady, who dutifully located, presented and returned items as she worked on the jigsaw puzzle of our imagined oriental table setting.

About an hour later, the wife happily presented her work: a setting complete with bowl, chopsticks and rest, lacquer tray, saucer and a quaint rectangular plate.

Now the set would have been perfect for our needs, except it didn’t make sense to just buy a setting for two or even four. Doing the logistics in our heads (rattling off the number of our family members and/or possible guests we could conceivably entertain at a time), whatever we got had to be a setting of six or more, preferably either suited to eight or twelve. And even then it would have been fine, nevermind the question of how to get it all home, were it not for the price.

All things considered, it was an indulgence we could put off for another time.

So we thanked the saleslady for her trouble, just settling for the set of chopsticks.

As I recalled all of this the wife got started with her meal, but not before quietly remarking, “That saleslady must have hated us.”

Quite right!

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