Why didn't I post last week? Because I have a terrible confession to make. It rained ALL weekend so I spent most of weekend hibernating. I know, I know, I'm in Japan. But it's hard to go out in a two-day long downpour! As I keep saying, no one would move to Japan for the beautiful weather. The few times I did leave the apartment, I forgot my camera, so I had almost nothing to report. It's so dreary and all the rain at night makes the alleys that I walk through kind of creepy.
So I decided (on Sunday) to punish myself for barely leaving the apartment--I was going to eat the convenience store sushi that I see every day. I have a problem with the idea of sushi from a 7-11, it just seems kind of gross. I don't know if they have raw fish in them or not (the word sushi refers to vinagered rice, not raw fish), but it still seems risky. On the other hand, millions of Japanese people eat these every day, so it can't be that bad. Right?? Right?? The sushi I find the most interesting has Spam on the top but that isn't sold by my house (but it is sold by my work!). I bought a 3-pack.
It was okay. Not terrific, not bad. Had some sort of tasty sauce in the middle, almost a mayonnaise, that was pretty good. I also bought a hard-boiled egg. I like hard-boiled eggs, but only the yolk. I don't know what they do to the eggs here but they taste different--and not good different. One bite and in the trash.
I also went on a search for butter. You know, sometimes things that are so easy to find in the US are surprisingly diffiicult to find when you have trouble with the labels. I found what I thought was butter in the convenience store by the cheeses. I stood there for a while--butter or cheese? Could be either...finally, I spotted the word "butter" (well, in katakana, but butaa is pretty close). It was expensive but should last the two months, easily.
Another thing I find really interesting in Japan...gum syrup. If you get a cold drink they hand you gum syrup to sweeten it. I've never received gum syrup in the US--has anyone else? It mixes really well but I think it has a slightly strange aftertaste.
I find Japanese fruit to be--actually, fruit outside of the US--to be interesting. There is a lot of fruit that grows in the Philippines or Thailand that isn't hardy enough for the trip to the US. And there are fruit stands around my subway stop.
I bought a yellow fruit, not knowing what it was. It was a mango! Apparently there are a lot of types of mango, one of them being this yellow variety. It was the most ripe and tasty mango I've ever had.
I also like the oranges here. The sad thing is that they are Florida oranges, yet more ripe and juicy than I've ever had--even in season (winter) in Florida! Oddly, they tend to be striped inside.
Last weekend I bought what I thought were oranges--and they weren't. The fruit pictured in the back were very sour, almost like a grapefruit, but the inside was orange. Any ideas? The package says "sunfruit" --assuming I translated it correctly--but that doesn't really help me.
The fruit on the right are oranges and on the left...well, I'm not sure. They are extremely expensive (Almost 1000 yen for 6! That's $10 for 6 tiny fruit!), which interested me. I'm thinking they are Mikan but I could be wrong.
My weekly American food excursion was to Denny's! Every week I pop out of the subway station in front of the Denny's and it's so interesting (and busy). But I've been told that it is NOTHING like the American version. I really wanted to find out for myself but it's not really the type of place I could bring anyone else--I (rightly) assumed they wouldn't be interested.
The menu was full of Japanese food. Not a single Big Slam breakfast OR Moons Over My Hammy to be found!
And "Denny's restaurant sauce"--no idea what that is. It smelled like A1 sauce.
The French fries were very tasty even though they came with a strange pink sauce. No idea what the sauce was--it was almost sweet and had little granules in it. I ate it anyway.
The mysterious fish balls were less impressive.
American black cherries are popular here and Denny's was no exception--they had a whole "black cherry" part of the menu. So I ordered what I thought might be a crepe. The picture in the menu sure looked like a crepe. It was creme brulee. Pretty tasty, although heavy on the "brulee" and light on the "creme", which is opposite of the way I like it. That being said, I don't think I've ever seen a creme brulee on a Denny's menu.
I have a few new snacks to add to the growing list of interesting Japanese snack food (and I've eaten some of the featured items from previous weeks, I'll try to do a roundup this weekend).
Sometimes you come upon foods and have NO idea what they are. This was one of those foods. It had a picture of a processed meat product on the left hand side, so maybe it was supposed to taste like that? It tasted like an overinflated cheeto--really light and airy, and surprisingly good. Still don't know what it was supposed to taste like, but at least it was good!
This on the other hand...one bite and in the garbage.
First off, the package is creepy. Why is that guy so excited to eat the talking corn? If I saw talking corn, I'd run away from it--probably straight to the psychiatrist. But this guy, he's excited. It tasted EXACTLY like corn on the cob, if the cob was a Cheeto, which really grossed me out.
On one of the junk food blogs that I read, the reviewed Tubuto caramel corn and I though...I could try that! Apparently, my package is enjoying a nice ice cream float, which looks much tastier than the caramel corn, which I haven't tried yet. On the right side is a mysterious product that I'm thinking will taste like steak, considering the kid is carrying a piece of meat that is about the same size as his head.
If you've been reading this blog, you know that I think Japanese fashion is very interesting. One of the things that makes it interesting to me is the fact that American fashion standards have almost nothing to do with Japanese fashion choices. For example (and I apologize for the picture quality), this guy:
He obviously thought he was quite fashionable, he had the spring in his step of somebody who thought he looked HOT. And he had a mullet. Totally had a mullet. And I've seen so many mullets in Japan, you'd think I was at a giant Journey concert (sorry Ben)!
In non-food news, one of things that confused me the most when I moved into my apartment was how to turn on the main lights. Nothing seemed to do it. I spent a while without them before figuring it out. It wasn't that big of a hardship--the lamps worked and so did the bathroom lights, but it was still annoying. Eventually, I noticed a button that looked like an emergency button. I was getting desperate at this point, so I pushed it. It wasn't a button at all, but a hole. So I took the stick on my keychain and shoved it in--and the lights came on! It's apparently a way to make sure you turn off the lights (and the AC) when you leave the apartment.
I'm not the only one confused about it--in the middle of last week I saw a very confused Indian lady. She stopped me and asked me how to turn on the lights--and I was able to help! So at least my idiocy helped someone. And it's an easy way to remember your keys when you leave the house.
I was fooling around with the buttons in my apartment trying to make the AC work. I finally got sick of not having an AC (it is super humid here) so I decided to push buttons all over in an attempt to make it work--and I finally did! But, unrelatedly (to me at the time), I couldn't get any hot water. And when I say there was no hot water, I mean there was NO hot water. It felt like ice was pouring from the spout. I suffered through a few ice showers, but it was terrible. The problem? While in my button pushing frenzy, I had hit a button (outside of the bathroom, by the fax machine) that controls the hot water. Silly me--I thought all buttons dealing with the bathroom would be IN or NEAR the bathroom itself! At least this problem got fixed fairly quickly.
My last thought of the blog...I love love love these lucky money cats. You see them in almost every shop in Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. A raised right paw brings you money while a raised left paw brings you customers. The colors even have meaning, with white cats usually meaning purity and tricolor/calico being especially lucky.