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LOVE THAT GOLF
Rick Reilly
August 21, 1989
A CURIOUS AMERICAN EXPLORES THE GAME IN JAPAN AND FINDS THAT IT HAS A FIRM GRIP ON THAT NATION
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August 21, 1989

Love That Golf

A CURIOUS AMERICAN EXPLORES THE GAME IN JAPAN AND FINDS THAT IT HAS A FIRM GRIP ON THAT NATION

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I see. Now, about those salted fish chips.

Yes, I was getting to them. As I've said, in my determination to defeat my Japanese opponent, I thought Japanese, practiced Japanese, and even ate the way Japanese golfers eat. At Fuji Lakes Country Club, surely one of the most beautiful places in the world, sitting as it does on the toenail of Mount Fuji, I came off the course and was served the standard postgolf snack: dried, salted fish and green beans. That and an ice-cold beer. You know, it just doesn't get any better than that.

At Kawana, Japan's gorgeous version of Pebble Beach, only without the seals, I had the traditional "golfer's breakfast" in my room: rice, raw egg, seaweed, soybean soup, dried fish, Japanese pickles and green tea.

Seize the day.

I even ate blowfish, a sushi delicacy that kills about 100 diners a year in Japan. I didn't eat at Steak of Steaks Holytan, however, where a steak costs $175.

You ate the blowfish but not the steak?

I figured the odds of the steak killing me were worse. I also learned how to drink beer at the 28th hole (the Japanese always try to play 27 holes): Your opponent pours your beer, and you pour his, even for fill-ups. To do otherwise would be like opening his shirt pocket and sneezing in it.

Please.

Another thing. The Japanese don't flip a tee before the round to see who hits first. Instead, they draw one of four metal sticks out of a metal cannister. The man whose stick has one notch in it hits first. Two notches, second, and so on. Thus, the expression, "He swings a big stick."

You made that up.

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