Posts Tagged ‘Food’

The vending machines in Japan were amazing. They were almost everywhere, unlike the U.S. They are smaller in size, but carry a wider variety of items. There were mainly drink vending machines where we went, but the other types of vending machines provided cigarrettes, food such as noodles, and some even provided ice cream. That’s right, I said cigarrettes. And there were also beer in some of them. This shows how lax the smoking and drinking age limits are in Japan. While in the U.S. its common to see a vending machine with snack foods in it, however, when I was there I didn’t see any vending machines there with food save for the previously mentioned ones. I heard you could get all kinds of things out of vending machines and that they were everywhere in Japan, yet that wasn’t the case.

Either way, the machines filled with drinks managed to get a great deal of my money while there since we were always on the go. They came with both cold AND hot drinks. I had a coffee drink that was still hot when I opened it. I also had a drink that was more like liquid mixed with jelly. It was delicious, but the texture made me not want to drink it. Either way, I hope to see these wierd vending machines I’ve heard about when I go back to Japan.

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The process at work

Before our final group dinner, I had never heard of Shabu Shabu. It is simply the boiling of meat, vegetables, and noodles at a temperature so high, it cookes completely immediately. The meat was very good with the tartar sauce, which I had never tasted before. It was decent with the soy sauce as well, but was better with the tartar sauce. I preferred the beef to the pork because the pork still had fat on it, but both were still very good. Of course, the rice was good as well.

Cultural story of the night: I asked the waiter for water in Japanese and his response was “Water” in a tone that made me feel like he responded “Hey, I KNOW HOW TO SPEAK ENGLISH!” It was hilarious. Not my fault he didn’t make it clear he spoke English. The restaurant itself was the perfect setting, especially at night.

Parfaits

My final meal in Japan was Pizza from a pasta place in the Aoyama-Itchome subway station. I know, I know, pizza in Japan, especially as my last meal, isn’t very adventurous. When we got there, there it was full, and we sort of had a little trouble communicating with the hostess. But we were able to let her know we were willing to wait for a table to open up and she seated us pretty quickly afterward. ANYWAY, I wish I had known about this place before. There was so much on the menu I wanted to try. But I settled for pizza and a beer. The pizza itself was really good. My favorite part of it had to be the sauce, which I felt was very rich. Had I known it was a thin crust (as Vida put it: “paper thin”), I would have gotten a larger size. Regardless, it was good. Dessert was just as good. The restaurant had three flavors of parfaits: Chocolate Banana, Strawberry, and Caramel. So Vida, Bryce, and I all chose different flavors. Everything was well worth it and I’m glad I was able to enjoy my last meal in Japan. Couldn’t have picked a better place.

On one of our days off, a few other students and I went to Tokyo Disneyland. Thanks to the hotel staff, we had very good directions and were able to get there quickly without any problems. On arrival we learned that the advertised price of 4800 Yen was only applicable to tickets bought online and so we had to pay the regular price of 5200 Yen, but it was worth it. I enjoyed my day there. It was nostalgic because it was exactly the same as Florida’s Disney World only a lot smaller. We split into two groups, the one I was in searched for rides. The first ride was a Star Wars ride in which we toured space with some turbulence. The llines were rediculously long, and we waited over two hours for the Haunted Mansion. The most disappointing ride was the Toon Rollercoaster because we waited in line for 40 minutes and the ride lasted all of 10 seconds. I thought there was more to it than that and just as I was anticipating the next drop, it’s over. So much for that one. Moving on, I had great experiences with the food there.

Strawberry & Custard Mickey Mouse Waffle

When we first arrived we had the ice cream. Nothing special but it was very good. For lunch, we tried Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles. I ordered the waffle topped with strawberry and custard syrup, whip cream, and strawberries. It was very sweet and was one of my favorite foods in Japan. For dinner, I bought the All-American Hot Dog set, which was a hot dog, some fries, and a drink for 780 Ten. It, along with the rest of the trip, was a welcome dent in my wallet.

 

Float during the parade

Other events included the Easter Parade (Disney has a Easter Event through June). It was very lively and impressive with famous Disney characters on floats and dancers dancing around them. I regret I wasn’t able to get a picture of Mickey Mouse though. Overall it was a very pleasurable experience and I don’t regret turning down Mt. Fuji for Disney.

An unheated BBQ unit

So after we visited FutureScope, we went for dinner at a Korean BBQ restaurant. It was delicious. There was all kinds of meat and we were able to cook it ourselves. I had never been to a Korean BBQ in person so it was quite an experience. Wearing my dress clothes around the heat made it slightly uncomfortable, but I was able to endure it. The real challenge of the night was using the chopsticks, something I have never been able to master in over 2 years. Because of that, I left most of the cooking to everyone else at my table. My favorite piece at the table was the chicken with melted cheese on it. I could barely taste the cheese, but the chicken really hit the spot. And as a bonus, I learned that Dr. C is actually #@ years old! Overall, the Korean BBQ was one of the best food experience I’ve had since coming to Japan.

Uncooked food and food cooking on the grill

The Main Course

So Dr. C kept mentioning some really expensive steak made from Kobe beef and that trying it was a must. I was skeptical but after my bad experiences with food, and with steak being my 4th favorite food, I said “why not?” So while in Osaka, we went over to this steakhouse near the hotel. The steak was really expensive: with, or without the meal. It’s the most expensive meal I’ve ever bought. It cost #$%@ Yen! It came with soup, a salad, rice, and a small glass of red wine. It was topped with onions, scallops, and fries, and while cooking it, the chef poured wine on it. It was scary to see the flames rise to at least 3-4 feet in the air as he poured the wine on it. It was placed on a metal skillet-like plate and continued to cook ever after he served it, which was fine for me because I usually don’t eat steak that isn’t well done. The meal itself is hands down the best meal I’ve had since I’ve come to Japan. It was really tender and juicy and even the toppings were delicious. I normally don’t eat onions, but the onions placed on top tasted great, probably because of the wine and the juices from the steak they absorbed. The soup served with it consisted of beef and potatoes and was excellent, an so was the rice. The salad was good, but as I’m not big on vegetables, especially salad, I barely touched it. It was disappointed after I finished the steak and wish I had gotten the large instead of a small. But overall, it was worth the #$%@ Yen I paid for it and I don’t regret buying it!

So I’m a Picky Eater

Posted: May 22, 2010 in Assignment, Culture
Tags: , ,

My hardest challenge besides the language barrier in Japan has been the food.  I am a very picky eater and my taste buds can’t handle the unique style of culinary arts. Being an island, Japan has a high amount of seafood. Seafood is something that I can’t stand and so it is difficult for me to eat it.

Because of the aforementioned “Picky Eater Syndrome”, I find it hard to eat alot here and thus haven’t been eating as much. Some various highlights include:

  • Breakfast at the hotel in Tokyo: Nothing too different. Bacon, eggs, sausage links, bread, cereal, milk, coffee, and tea. Although difference in the menu include rice, miso soup, and something that may be seaweed that I never pay attention to. Overall it tastes good, just a little undercooked for my tastes. I always make a point to eat  a lot since I’m so picky and I don’t know when I’ll come across something I would eat.
  • Dinner the first night: On our first night here, Dr. C took us to a restaurant and ordered a variety of food for us. Most of it was seafood of course, although there were other dishes such as the one pictured below. I’m not sure what it was but it had a tangy taste I didn’t care for. Other dishes included squid tentacles and fish.I actually some shrimp, which I was told taste like Chicken. The verdict: it tasted like chicken – and it was good! Speaking of chicken, I tried Yakitori for the first time, which is a kabob consisting of skewered grilled chicken and onions. It is one of my favorite dishes in Japan so far.

I will be posting more on my experiences with food in Japan soon. Feel free to respond about your opinions of this food.