Got questions? Interests? And are they all about Japan? Then you have come to the right place! From anime, to manga, to food and culture- this discussion page has it all! Just submit your comments, questions, or...well...anything, concerning Japan! I will do my best to answer as many questions as I can. As far as discussions, there is no limit to how many people join the discussions! Come one, come all! Just make sure to keep it cool, mellow, and clean!
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Discussion Topic 1: My experience with Japanese Traditional Food (and Western Food).
The food you see above is a traditional Japanese dinner we had at the Kyushu Onsen at Unzen. It consists of sashimi, panko breaded fish, beef roll up, rice, mochi, tamago, salmon, soy sauce, beef curry, broccoli, and more seafood. Honestly, I love seafood so this worked out perfectly (except for the stuff in the shellfish shell. I was too chicken to try it).
Now, my plate set was different from everyone else because I am lactose intolerant (aka can't do a ton of dairy). The hostesses made sure I did not receive any dairy products in my food. I really liked the sashimi more than the beef roll-ups. Yes, Japanese eat a ton of fish, specifically raw fish. BUT the sashimi was slightly cooked (in other words, it was rare, not raw). I dipped the sashimi in soy sauce and it was the best fish I had ever eaten with soy sauce. It was tender, easy to swallow, and it was light in texture. Since this food was served in a traditional Japanese dining room in Kyushu Hotel, we students sat on the floor with a pillow cushion and a back rest (which was comfortable, surprisingly). The decorative plates and presentation of the food was absolutely beautiful and detailed. So, whenever you would like to try traditional Japanese food, make sure to stop by a traditional Japanese hotel or restaurant.
Continuing on the topic of traditional Japanese food, I would like to discuss how filling the food is here in Japan. Take this beef curry for example:
When Dad and I were in the Haneda airport going to Tokyo, we stopped to get some dinner before checking in to our hotel in Ginza. Dad looked at the picture of the advertised beef curry and thought it was like beef and rice with gravy. He was willing to try anything at this point since he was really hungry and could not wait until we checked in at the hotel. So, we sat down at the restaurant (forgot the name of it), ordered beef curry, and we scarfed it down. Little did I realize, Dad actually liked it (and he's a picky eater). SHOCKING!
Any who, I tried the beef curry myself and it was really filling. The first time I tried it, I could not finish my plate. The texture of the curry was that of gravy, the consistency was slightly thick, and the taste was that of salt, some mild spices (possibly ginger) along with onion and tiny hints of garlic, and the way the curry pairs with the rice helps even out the salty with the non-salty.
The food here in Japan is cooked differently. Instead of feeling overly stuffed and bloated, I felt a sort of filling satisfaction (not guilty and not hungry at the same time). It's almost as if the food was cooked so the body knows when it's full. Even the Onigiri is filling:
Okay, I added the pigeon in the mix because he was eyeing me. The Onigiri I ate was a wok fried onigiri. It was rice with soy sauce, tiny chunks of beef, some egg, and possibly some nori. The pigeon was probably thinking, "She's gonna drop a piece of fried rice for me." Nah, lil' bird! You can't have my onigiri. It's my breakfast (and man was it good).
More traditional Japanese dishes. This was our lunch at the Obama Onsen (yes, you read that right. Obama Onsen). More fish, rice, noodles, veggies, and a mini salad. Again, I liked it. It was satisfying for my stomach and my tastebuds (not too salty, and not too heavy on the oil).
Now, what about the westernized food?
The fish and chips (or french fries) were light. Mister Donut's French Crueller tastes much better than Dunkin' and Krispy Kreme, and the Ritz Crackers tastes a tad toastier than the Ritz Crackers in America. In essence, lighter food and satisfying portion sizes.
For those who are planning a 2-3 week stay in Japan, just know you will more than likely lose weight due to the walking and the small food portion sizes. Here's why:
Nagasaki University of Foreign Studies has to conduct a health check for all JASIN students and international/national incoming freshmen. When I had to weigh myself, the scale read my weight as 49.2 kg (108 pounds). I was 110 when I arrived in Japan and I lost 2 pounds within my first week of being here. Not to mention, the food here does not make me feel so full that I get sick to my stomach. Now, I am only sharing my experience with Japanese food with you all. I am not, in any way, saying that this will happen to everyone (different bodies= different experiences). In summary, if you all are looking for local delicacies or willing to try Westernized food in Japan, I would recommend trying it all!
April 25, 2016
Topic 2: BOOK OFF/HOBBY OFF
Coming to Togitsu, I did not think I was going to find a closer manga shop (at least closer in distance from my University). I was wrong! Book Off is my new favorite book store because they sell manga gently used for 100 yen (that's about $0.90 - $1.00). That is ridiculously cheap!! Above is the Black Butler Manga I got for my friends (you know who you are). Together, it is 200 yen. Now, granted, it is in Japanese. Duh! But, the best thing about buying manga for that price is it helps with those trying to learn Japanese. Since I have been here, I have bought upwards to 12+ manga, all under $30.00. That's a bargain!
The reason why it is so cheap is because Book Off is a second-hand shop, carrying manga, video games, cards, and other anime merchandise that became a surplus for anime and manga stores/bookstores. I will take a picture of the shop when I go back to show you all what it looks like on the outside (I don't think they will allow me to take pictures of the inside, though).
Not to mention, Book Off is not just a book and gaming store. Hobby Off, which is on the second floor, is also tied to the same building. Hobby off has all the anime figurines such as this one:
Sorry about the bleh quality (lighting and glare issues). This is a Cheria figurine I found for about $24. I wanted to get it but I didn't know how it was going to fit in my suitcase without it getting squished. Any who, there were Jojo figurines, One Piece figurines, Attack on Titan figurines, Hatsune Miku figurines, etc. Not only that, but Hobby off carries trading cards (Pokemon, Yugioh, etc) and other trading cards you can't find in America or online (for cheap). Like this one:
And this folder:
Word of warning though: This place is addicting and will subtly force you to buy more stuff. Get only what you can fit in your suitcase (or you can ship things back, but that can be a hassle sometimes).