Yukkuri Countdown JAPAN
Friday, March 25, 2005
 School Update


I lied about that being the last post. How about a school update. The third term just ended. In Japan, graduations happen in March and new school years start in April.

Not much activity for me. I did start working with the English Drama club members on their new project. The girls who earlier this year were just first year students doing helping roles are now the leaders. I was afraid when they were taking awhile to come up with the next play, and when they did choose Snow White I was pulling my hair when it looked like I was going to have to write the whole English script for them, translating it myself from Japanese. Luckily things were changed so that a real script was found. All we had to do was take a couple hours to cut bits here and there so that the play suited the number of students and the 20-minute time.

Guess what the play is. Cinderella! It's funny because I keep thinking the students are saying die (shinde) when they talk to each other about it.
 
 Shiny picture looks good. I'm Hungry!

Okay this is last post for now. I need to make dinner!


Last week the left pocket got his mom's more-or-less recipe for japchae. We didn't have enough beanthreads or maifun or harusame or whatever you call those noodles, so we used bifun! While making it we ran out of room in our pan with all the random veggies I cut up to use (spinach, carrot, onion, chingensai or Shanghai bokchoy?, hakusai or Chinese cabbage) so we had to put another pan on the stove! This kind of made it easier to taste-test and decide how much/if more soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil was needed. It came out really yummy and it gets tastier the longer it sits. The sesame oil flavor takes time to come out. We finished it all! I ate the last of it!!
 
 (3/8) Trying Curry Udon

In search of yet more tonkatsu my brother spotted not only katsudon but curry udon as well in a lunch set display. This restaurant in the new extension to the department store attached to my train station had other choices besides tonkatsu so I'd be able to get something different. There were nice looking 890yen lunch sets which came with a main choice accompanied by mini don and udon of your choice.


I chose the tomato salad set with a mini negi-toro don and a mini curry udon. I was surprised that the salad had a generous amount of shrimp tempura on top. I was trying to avoid fried stuff but it was yummy! I thought I'd like the negi-toro don because I like negi-toro the best at kaiten-zushi and it was perfect (as far as I could tell!).

Back to the meal...


There was a chunk of fried tofu and pieces of meat and veggies in the curry and I thought it was spicily interesting but it wasn't your typical Japanese curry. I think that's why my brother didn't care for it much.

 
 (3/7) Shinjuku Night

After the Studio Ghibli museum we went to check out Shinjuku.


We tried dinner at a Ginza Lion restaurant building that had several floors with themed foods. Seeing plastic foods that looked good, we went to the floor that was the beer floor. I got this bibimbap. It had lots of flavorful stuff in it and a good amount of very soft beef. It was okay.


There's nothing like Shinjuku at night.


We spotted a nice shiny bright Mister Donut on the corner and decided to have some for dessert.

For a long time I assumed Mister Donut was a Japanese creation because their donuts are smaller and more Japanese (ie. tofu donuts..) than donuts I was used to, however, I recently heard Mister Donut was from America.


Reading this window gave me the final answer. Good ol' San Francisco Chinatown!


Doesn't it look like Homer Simpson? The top two donuts were my brother's and the pon-de-ring was mine. I was pleasantly surprised, it was uniquely chewy; soft as Krispy Kreme but more substantial and not as sickly sweet. Mine was also only 105yen.

We had to get home before the trains stopped running but even after the last train, guess who is open...


My 24-hour friend, Yoshinoya! It was a long night so here is my second dinner, sauce katsu-don. It cost 400-something yen and was, well, Yoshinoya-quality.

 
Thursday, March 24, 2005
 Your Recommendations

The left pocket and I are going to Singapore.

What (and where) to eat?

Thanks in advance, and to those I've already asked!
 
 (3/7) Studio Ghibli Museum
You're not supposed to take pictures inside the museum but as you see I still took a lot outside.



































































 
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
 (3/6) The Mall
We went by bike to the big new mall. It's got a killer food court, not to mention it's pretty and has millions of pretty things inside it. First mission: eat something!


A new item at the LocoMoco place! I think the place's name is LocoMoco. Left pocket went for it and tried the steak locomoco even though the plastic model of it looked shabby and even though meat usually comes really fatty and low quality at restaurants in Japan. He made a good choice!! This meat is perfectly lean. I think it was 680yen.


Woo! The basic hamburg locomoco now comes with macaroni salad and a slice of tomato! (It used to be a few soggy stirfried veggies.) Only thing is that I had to point to the plastic one and ask for the tomato. As for the new macaroni salad...well I'd rather have the veggies. Oh yeah, I got teriyaki (mayo nuki) instead of regular. The hamburg wasn't as soft as I remember it was last time but overall this dish was good. 650yen I believe.

Another mission accomplished:


My brother wanted to get tabi for playing taiko. I had never been to this place but they use the side of their little store for effective advertising! He got a sturdy pair for only 1600-something yen. In Japan, most people I see wearing these heavy-duty tabi are construction workers. In Little Tokyo (LA) I think I paid between 30-50USD for one pair.

Next mission: back to the mall for food!

My brother tried a kare pan, or curry bun?, from Saint Germain's bakery. It's is a respectable looking chain but this particular one, I remember, has the words Pain and Sandwitch on the wall. I know that there's nothing wrong with Pain, but add Sandwitch and it's kinda amusing.


Everytime we see this picture,
foodpocket: Those orange thingies look good.
the left pocket: Those look like those three heads in Spirited Away, those green things.
foodpocket: Yeah, huh. Haha


These look goooooooood. I don't see any blueberry but I guess they're called Blueberry Domes.


These look good too. They're called Fuwa Fuwa Cheese, Fluffy Cheese. That's funny when I think about it.

Ogling the new candy bins smack in the middle of the department store!


I said the candy! ... Can you believe they even label these white breast chocolate?


Back when I was 10 I would get powdered gum wrapped in white paper so that when you blew on one end the powder puffed out the other and looked like smoke. Crazy. I think smoke is gross. I think this is crazy, but then Japan still lets people smoke in restaurants too. =B


This one is cool.

Back at the food court:


Ramen. Actually they called this tanmen. It wasn't so great!
 
Monday, March 21, 2005
 (3/5) Treating Ourselves to Premium Tonkatsu

March 5.

One of my brother's goals in coming to Japan was to eat good tonkatsu. The left pocket looked on Metropolis and it listed Maisen Tonkatsu as the best tonkatsu in Tokyo, so we went, got off at Harajuku and walked down Omotesando to find it.






The left pocket and I got hire cut lunch sets. It came with daikon, onions and almond jello dessert. Only 800-something yen.


My brother got ro-su, which he thought would be softer.


This is the hire from the side.


Here is my example of three ways to eat the tonkatsu, from left to right: sweet sauce, daikon and onion with a ponzu-ish sauce, and salty sauce. If I had to choose one I guess I preferred the thick sweet sauce but I think if I didn't have the variation I'd get tired of its taste.

I'm glad we
went for it and tried Maisen. Thank you Mommy and Daddy!

Later that day...


We looked through the giant toystore, Kiddyland, of course.


I wanted Harvester chicken for dinner. It's got a nice deli-like atmosphere but unfortunately it seemed really smokey. Still, great refreshing food!!
 
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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