Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Day I Ordered a Cafe Latte but got Espresso

Coffee Boy... My pretty nice coffee shop. The place selling coffee that mostly resembles the kind I drink at home. I hadn't been there for a while, so thought I should drop by. I go so often that it is the only place I actually redeem anything on my point card! I kind of know the girls who work there too - at least their faces. They know what I usually order. So today I went in and was confronted with a 'new girl'. No problems I thought. Actually I didn't think about it much at all. I ordered my usual hot coffee. A cafe latte. I even said it in the Japanese katakana way cafe au lait (French influence I think). The girl then went on to clarify my order with a new phrase I had never heard before.

Side point... At this stage, I tell people that I have 'situational Japanese'. That means I have learnt how to order at restaurants, buy petrol for my car or shop at the supermarket. You quickly learn the few usual phrases that people will ask. Thankfully for me the Japanese don't move out of the mold too much. It becomes like a dance. Them, me, them, me and back again. At the end of the dance, a meal has magically been ordered.

We both stumbled over this new question before the girl politely added, drip or espresso. I gathered that she wanted me to choose if my latte would be made from drip or espresso coffee. Hmmm I thought to myself, espresso has got to be stronger. Espresso I told her. No worries. She asked me to wait and then proceeded to make my coffee. A few minutes later she came out from behind the counter to present my with my drink. I took it and immediately felt how light the cup was. I opened it and there in front of me was the espresso I ordered. Ahhhhhh! I wanted Latte. Instead of going through the process of explaining this to the girl, I added sugar to the cup and headed over to the supermarket to buy my own milk. Once added, I drank my interesting espresso with milk. Funny things happen all the time. I thought I'd share this one with you.

1 comment:

alex said...

I was doing a Japanese talk yesterday, and one of the people asked me about Japanese - I said it was so frustrating because no matter how good you were, people in shops would always find a new, more difficult way of asking you the simplest of questions that would just confuse you! We have coffee boy here too - thought it was just a Yamaguchi city thing - I love it for the toblerone etc!