There are two types of people in this world: those who can get used to it and those who can’t. Those who are flexible enough to go with the flow and learn from their surroundings, and those who struggle and fight, holding on to what they know and refusing to let go.
I was ordering Subway for lunch the other day and had a strange moment of realization: I was asking for jalapeños by saying ホットペッパーもお願いします. Whether or not this is a proper pattern of request aside, why ask for “hot peppers”? Why not ask for jalapeños? Japanese can approximate the pronunciation – ハラペーニョ.
I thought about it for a while and dug up some memories from when I was studying in Tokyo five (!) years ago. I vaguely remember asking for jalapeños at the Subway near the Waseda subway stop and being met with vacant stares or えっ, the Japanese noise of disbelief or confusion. I’d point, and they realized what I was asking for. Eventually somebody must have responded with “ホットペッパー？” because to this day I still use that term at Subway. It works like a charm. Just say the magic word and your sandwich too can look like this:
I got curious, looked around a little and found that the term ホットペッパー is in fact Subway terminology:
If you want jalapeños on your metaphorical Japanese Subway sandwich, don’t fight it; make things easier on yourself and get used to the way they do things here.
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