Japan — Day 006

2015-09-17

I’ve been here for a while. I’ve been to the supermarket, and I have to go back to get some more stuff. I already picked up basic materials for onigiri, miso soup and udon. First batch of rice in the rice cooker (I’m used to a regular old pot on the stove) made more rice than I expected. Furthermore, the “stoves” we have here are induction-heating coils — that is, magnets that magnetically heat the cookware. So it won’t work on glass or what not. Cast iron frying pans are ultra-expensive here, so I’m either looking at pre-coated flimsy crap or getting a cast-iron pan shipped to my house in the US and then having it shipped from there to Japan. Or shelling out at least 100$.

We’ve been doing orientation-like things at Chubu University. So far, we’ve traveled to city hall and registered for health insurance, signed up for various upcoming events, and taken a placement test. Not very interesting.

The highlights have been eating in restaurants. Food here is “expensive,” but with the current exchange rate at 120 JPY to 1 USD, it’s not that bad. Furthermore, it’s only slightly cheaper to prepare food yourself as it is to eat in a restaurant. I got okonomiyaki for 380円. That’s about $3. I got some ramen for 480円. That’s about $4. You can’t even get a decent Subway “$5 footlong” in the states for less than $7. Granted, some people take half of it home for later, but the quality of food here is miles above a Subway sandwich.

Yesterday, while waiting for the city hall stuff to process, we went to Sushiro, a kaiten-zushi (conveyor-belt sushi) restaurant. I shared my table with my two American OU friends, a Chinese OU friend, and the dorm RA (American). 100円 (+8円 tax) per plate, usually 2 pieces of nigiri-zushi per plate. By the time my friends had filled up their cups of tea, I had already grabbed a plate of tamago-zushi (egg) off the belt and made it disappear. Every half-minute or so I saw something I liked and pulled it off the shelf. Having been to sushi restaurants in America, I recognized the look and names of pretty much everything, which expedited my dining experience. Of all the sushi I ate, I had to pass up the aji and saba (two kinds of mackerel, my favorite), the unagi (eel) and the baby ika (squid) — I could have ordered them specifically, but by the time I though of doing so, I would have held up my fellow patrons. Besides, I was having too much fun waiting to see what appetizing dish would come around next. In the end, I had eight plates of sushi and a plate of chocolate cake. Let me tell you, that place is dangerous. I would totally set up shop there from dawn til dusk, hanging out and grabbing sushi off the belt every so often.

Last night I went to Ganko-en, a yakiniku place, with my American OU friends and two Chubu friends. It wasn’t cheap, but one of the Chubu students had a 20% off coupon. All-You-Can-Eat-For-One-Price (about 2500円 or $20, after the coupon). We got the second tier (three tiers in all: 2500円, 3000円, 3500円). There was a ton of stuff — the usual beef muscle meat, beef tongue, various beef organ meats, cockscomb, squid, shrimp, shiitake, hot peppers, green onions — I don’t remember all of it but I definitely ate all of it. There were also soup offerings, rice dishes, kimchi, and more stuff I can’t remember. Dessert was vannilla-caramel-malt ice cream, strawberry ice cream, some flavor of pudding (kind of citric with a strawberry glaze) and cream puffs. Continue reading Japan — Day 006

Japan – Day 002

2015-09-13

Day 0 was landing and eating. My ears were clogged from depressurization so my first exchanges with Japanese in Japan were muffled and I was quite handicapped.

Day 1 was orientation and shopping. Food was pretty great. I mostly scouted the stores, I will do more with that later.

Day 2 is half over. Not only do I need to get a replacement SIM card shipped from home (the old one wasn’t set up for international travel). T-Mobile’s Simple Plan should work, but for now I can only communicate via e-mail. No calls, no text, no LINE. To top it all off, my phone decided to enter an update boot loop. I had to factory reset the damn thing. Luckily, my apps were backed up. Unluckily, all of my videos and pictures were not. By some miracle, my pictures must have synced online, because after factory-resetting my phone and reinstalling everything, I found all of my pictures on the Internal Storage. Continue reading Japan – Day 002