Recently I stopped at the "Yours" grocery store on the way to school to buy a bento for lunch. It's a container with a few rice balls, a little piece of fish, fried potato, couple pieces of chicken and some pickled vegetables.
I cycled the rest of the way to school and, typical absent-minded me, promptly forgot the bento in my bike basket.
Lunch time rolled around and my stomach was growling something fierce. Peering into the break room refrigerator, I realized my mistake. Probably the lunch was bad after spending four hours sitting outside, but nevertheless I went outside to retrieve it.
Upon arriving at my bike, I saw an empty bike basket. Had I just missed the lunch when I looked in the refrigerator?
Then I saw something hanging from the basket... pickled vegetables.
Looking down, I saw my lunch on the cement floor between the other bikes. Or more accurately, I saw my lunch container.
The plastic bag (which had been taped securely shut) was ripped open. Half the Styrofoam container lay scattered about in large ragged chunks.
That's when it hit me:
The crows ate my lunch.
Every bit of it was gone except for the pickled vegetables, which are, ironically, the only part of the bento that I refuse to eat. Apparently pickled vegetables aren't fit or the birds, either.
For some reason, the voice of Elaine from Seinfeld burst into my head. You know the episode where she tells the lady at the party in an Australian accent, "Dingos ate your baby!"? Well I heard Elaine cackling, "Crows ate your lunch!" With an evil echo like that chorus in the Christmas Story that goes "You'll shoot yer eye out!"
CROWS ATE YOUR LUNCH! (Ate your lunch. Ate your lunch. Ate your lunch...) BWAAA-HAHAHAHAAAAA!
OK, I'm weird. But you have to understand something.
The crows in Japan are freakishly large. Like large enough to eat small children. OK, maybe not eat children, but they actually have been aggressive enough to bloody their faces trying to swoop down and snatch their candy. So says this New York Times article written a few weeks ago. So you see what kind of despicable bastards they are.
They are practically the size of my butterball cat back home. Picture ominous jet black beasts with long curling claws and menacing black beaks. They look like they belong in some Stephen King novel where they'd peck through the skulls of innocent passersby and pick out their brains. When I bicycle to school each morning, their obnoxious cawing carries across the entire valley. I swear you can hear it a mile away.
Nefarious Japanese crow waits atop a power line to swoop down and Take. You. Out!
Back to my stolen lunch. Understandably peeved, I walked back to the office, my stomach still growling, and practiced my Japanese telling the story to the math teacher who sits next to me. He was amused. The crows are, indeed, seen as big pests in Japan, he said. That's why sometimes you'll see trash strewn around places. Crows pick through people's garbage and spread it around. Like this:
Smart little demons, aren't they? Very smart. Take a look at this BBC video story about how they crack open nuts.
But if you think that's clever, consider this battle of wits. Tokyo cleverly started baiting the buggers with meat inside plastic bags full of poisonous gas. Bye bye crows! How d'ya like that?
So anyway. The math teacher and I agreed. The crows are evil.
And I opened my desk drawer and took out my back-up lunch: U.F.O. brand ramen noodles.