Yukkuri Countdown JAPAN
Friday, January 28, 2005
 Fumiyo's Cafeteria Tour

Ate gakushoku at visit school for the first time! The cafeteria is very beat-up looking and colder than base school's. I could only see three elderly ladies working in the kitchen. Compared to at base school, the number of Ss who eat gakushoku here seemed much less; the food is cheaper, and maybe oilier, if that is possible! Still I very much enjoyed my experience. Talking (in English or Japanese) with Ss and other Ts is always good. I think I will eat gakushoku again soon.

Fumiyo, my guide, insisted I try the sansai udon because it's her favorite. Unfortunately there was only enough sansai, or mountain vegetables, topping for one so it was tempura for me. Each were only 230yen!

tempura udon
The tempura was big and crispy and yummy. It was mostly onion and some pieces of carrot. The udon noodles were the fat kind, nice to bite but not too hard and not chewy. The soup was dark and sweet and very tasty, not fishy at all.

After we finished our udon, Fumiyo went back in line to get her beloved poteto, or french fries, and treated me to sasami. Sasami refers to the chicken breast meat that is paired with cheese, breaded and deep-fried. At first I thought the melted cheese was uncooked batter but after a few more bites I was pleasantly surprised to realize it tasted like cheese.

Fumiyo is a great kid. She is always grinning and genki. She visits the staff room at least once a day, probably at least twice, just to chat with teachers. She says hi to everyone who passes by, even if they just nod or mutter a response. In class she wants to answer every question herself. Her hand will shoot up "HAI!" but much of the time her hand will shoot up while she blurts out the answer because she can't wait to be called on. Recently she saw me passing a Thank You card to another S and had to have her own letter from me, so she started writing letters to me in English. She always says her English is no good because she doesn't understand the grammar and such. Well it just goes to show that to truly communicate, there are some things that are important and some that aren't. She's made my time at this school a lot more special. I am sad that she's going to graduate soon, but my hope is that we will keep writing. Today she was telling other Ts that she is going to go to America and homestay with me, but half-jokingly as if it was only her dream; well I think she'd do very well getting by in English and I hope it happens someday!

dango with tsubu-an
After-dinner browsing at the market resulted in me getting some dessert. After having the dango treat the other day, these tsubu-an ones looked good too, and since the package of three sticks were 50% off from 105yen I went for it! One thing that's cool about Japanese markets is their markdown system. In the evening you can usually count on seeing bright red stickers on older goods telling you a discount percentage or yen amount. The date stamp on the package was 05.1.29 9am but the mochi was still nice and soft and chewy. I particularly liked the tsubu-an because it wasn't too sweet or too thick; it was perfect.

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Seize the food, for Japan is time-service only! In other words, this blog is to preserve, share, and make the most of my six months left living in Japan. Yes, I am obsessed with food. Cheap food!

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Location: Tokyo/Saitama, Japan

Life is short so I eat fast, lest it get cold or disappear. I'm currently teaching English in Japan for two years. I was born and raised in California, and will be returning there in Summer 2005. I was ovo-lacto-vegetarian for about seven years but decided to let it go during second year in Japan!

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