Paid the cost to be the boss
He insists that I touch his index fingers. “Calloused” does not even begin to cover it. They feel like the fingers of a mannequin, toughened by countless turns of wooden sticks over a barbecue grill. This dude cooks up yakitori at a little bar outside Senjuohashi Station in Tokyo.
It’s an occupational deformity, physical proof of his work experience.
By way of demonstration, he taps at his iPhone, whose touchscreen does not register his index fingers as belonging to a person. He uses his middle and ring-fingers to navigate the phone instead.
At this point, I’ve been in Japan for a total of two hours, counting the 70-minute ride from NRT along the Keisei Electric Railway. I had stopped for a quick bite before meeting my airBNB hostess at the station.
After dropping off my bag (carry-on only, of course), I found myself perched on a plastic milk crate, devouring yakitori and sipping beer with a gregarious bunch of locals, all of whom were keen to test out their English, and all of whom did better than I did with my woefully meager Japanese.