Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Diasporic Dining: Oy Yoy Yoy

"Oi Yoi Yoi" by Roger Hilton (1963)
How about Oy for the name of a Japanese restaurant? Or Oy Yoy Yoy? Remember Yayoi Kusama, the famed artist? There's an expression “Oi” which often occurs in Japanese anime which is apparently an untranslatable verbal expression (really just a noise) like Oy, which of course, is a Yiddish expression of either misery or commiseration with someone who is suffering. But in a world where Yiddish culture still continues to have an influence, a Japanese restaurant with such a name would attract droves of customers. In the past Jews went to their Yiddish speaking bakers for challah and now they would go to Oy. The next best thing for the world-weary individual who's looking for something to sooth the indignities of existence is naturally a California roll. Just think.  It’s dinner time and you’re in the middle of the usual argument about where to eat with your significant other and you look up and see the gold embossed Asian influenced lettering of a sign which reads “Oy Yoy Yoy."Surely you’re going to walk right into the cozy wooded interior and order a bowl, maybe not of matzoh ball, but miso soup. "Oi Yoi Yoi" also happens to be the title of a painting by Roger Hilton, which apparently was inspired by the sight of his wife dancing naked on a verandah screaming just those words.

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