That’s right, eel is all the rage this summer!! At least it was in July. Here’s some eel I feasted upon at a restaurant that serves mostly eel! It’s squishy, kind of like soggy fish, but not like ludafish. I was hungry, at ate this meal like it was my last, and it was good. If you haven’t tried it I recommend doing it at least once. If the taste reminds you of a dirty hippy, you know “earthy”, then you lost the unagi lottery my friend… so try again! If you’ve never had the earthy flavored eel, it’s like eating good eel with a handful of dirt (give it a try!).
This is my first experience with Chugen. Chugen (also called Ochugen) was originally a day that people gave gifts to the ancestral spirits. Shopping at Iwataya was amazing, there was one huge area dedicated to picking out gifts and a waiting area for sending them out. We sent the gift of… fish eggs! I took this picture with my camera phone. I didn’t think of taking a picture of the entire store, doh. The first picture were the choices we used, the 2nd picture are the eggs and fish stuffed with eggs.
The first Friday this August we went to a summer festival. I don’t know the official term besides ‘awesome’! Most people wore a yukata (looks like a kimono) or jinbei (shirt and shorts outfit), Fireworks lasted about 90 minutes, and the vendors sold crazy foods. It was about hot, about 85 F (29.5 C) with 90% humidity.
There were breaks between some of the firework explosions to announce sponsors of the event on a loudspeaker. I’ve never seen this before. I wonder how much an ad placement costs. One sponsor was Coca Cola and a big bottle of coke lit up near the end, but I didn’t get a picture of it.
Kids were using a flat paper net to catch goldfish, and turtles! It was ¥100 per try and they were doing great even though the net break easily. Food like grilled meat on a stick, takoyaki, dangly tentacles, and other mystery meat ran ¥400-500. Here are a few pictures.
I was craving a bubbly soda and I’ve hit the jackpot! I’ve seen soda in the (estimated) 16oz/500ml plastic bottles just like the U.S. but they run about 150 yen. A while ago I went from convenience store to convenience store to see what the different stores offered and I found a 500ml can of Coca Cola at the Daily Yamazaki for just 100 Yen!
First of all before your journey you’ll need 100 Yen. That’s right, tax is already included in the price!
Next, you’ll need to find a Daily Yamazaki convenience store. It looks like this (I got the picture from Wikipedia)
And here are some pictures of the beast of a drink!
If you’re ever in Japan and you’re craving something cold, sweet, and cheap I highly recommend the Tiramisu which you can find at Family Mart. This inexpensive Tiramisu is made with one layer of chocolate cake, one layer of vanilla pudding, and coffee + cocoa sprinkled on top.
The price… 105 Yen.
The satisfaction… 80%
It seems to have more pudding and fluffier cake than the 300 Yen Tiramisu’s at 7-11, but it’s nice because it’s light, sweet, and delicious. I took some pictures so you can see it in action!
This what 105 Yen looks like. This is all you need to get this party started. Reminds me of a quarter and a big penny with a hole in it.
And this is what a Family Mart looks like (picture taken from Wikipedia)
And this is the Tiramisu. The conbini clerks also give you tools to conquer your quests. Today’s weapon of choice is a tiny tiny spoon.
As I open the container I see it has Japanese writing on each side. I can’t read it so I assume it says “Tastes great! Only 105 Yen hellz yeah! Fat free and calorie free, just like the State Fair food you eat once a year back home! You should try to put it on a stick and deep fry it some day. Enjoy! / 140ml”
And here it is in the final stage of life. It took 2 minutes to devour with the tiny spoon. I like the spoon… it forces me to slow down and enjoy things.
When we first moved to Fukuoka we stopped by Costco with some friends. One of the items I bought was 9 pounds (4.08 kg) of Quaker Oats which I eat for breakfast a lot. I ran out this week but luckily we went to Costco a few weeks ago and I grabbed another box. Sure you can buy these online at a few places in Japan but it costs an additional 500-700 Yen for the box. Buying direct from Costco costs around 1200 Yen for this box. Anyway, it’s huge. The box is huge, the amount of Oatmeal is insane, and I say this because I’m more adjusted to smaller things and less quantity. I thought I’d share some pictures so you can see what it’s like.
Here are the directions. As you can see there are instructions for food service preparation and the two bags come to a combined total of 102 servings.
Here’s the box with the 2 bags of Oatmeal that was inside.
Here’s are some details.
This is after I filled up my small container that lasts about 2 months. Now I’m good to go!
Yeah… I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it or not but I’m 15 minutes away from 6 Starbucks Coffee shops here in Fukuoka. Now that’s going north, south, and east. I haven’t checked west yet…. there’s probably 3 more that way somewhere. One of the Starbucks is across the street from another Starbucks and about 3 blocks or so from another one down the side street.
So here we are… going into the Starbucks that’s inside Tsutaya.
For the record… Tsutaya is pretty sweet. It’s 6 stories and you can rent DVDs, CDs, buy them, get books and magazines, and enjoy some Starbucks. The DVD releases that have been out for a while usually run on a special that’s 4 DVDs for 1000 Yen. I’d say about $9-10 US.
Here’s kind of a cool photo (You can buy a Starbucks mug like this online).
And here’s a picture I took from Starbucks of Starbucks across the street while enjoying some coffee with some friends.
By having so many Starbucks so close to me I’d have to say
- It’s kind of crazy in my opinion
- They are is busy and the city is big
- I love it!
I forgot to include this picture so here you go! What’s interesting is right when we entered the Yahoo! Dome there was a cell phone company giving us king size snacks that taste like Cheetos. And there’s a snack bar, just like any other baseball stadium, but instead of beer, brats, and burgers they sell beer, yaki soba, takoyaki, and ramen. The prices were about the same. I just can’t imagine watching a game in the stands while slurping on some ramen using chopsticks while drinking beer. In that scenario there’s just too much going on. Of course I say this now, but just wait… in a year I’ll be doing it.
How do you get your drink on for only 300 Yen? Easy, hit up the shochu fair at the Yahoo! Dome here in Fukuoka! We went to the shochu fair the other Saturday (Feb 9th) and it was pretty sweet. This was our first visit to Yahoo! Dome (home of the Softbank Hawks), here’s a picture of my fiancee, Mai, at the top of the stairs.
First of all, what is shochu? It’s a distilled drink and I’ve seen 20%, 25%, and 40% strength with most of them being 20-25%. There are over 20 varieties and the most popular main ingredients are potato, rice, or barley. How does it taste? I’d say it tastes similar to sake but less fruity, it has a bite, and the 40% tastes like whiskey. If I were to create shochu from existing drinks I’d take sake, remove the fruity flavor and smoothness, then I’d take Gin and remove the pine tree flavor, and mix them. If you want to know more, here’s a wikipedia link. Shochu ranges in price and you can get a good brand for 900 Yen or up. If you missed missed my liquor price check post, check out my alcohol prices in Japan.
All, or almost all, of the Kyushu Island shochu distilleries were present at this fair. It was 300 Yen in advance, 500 at the door, and you got sample as many different types of shochu and plum wine as you wanted. Each taste is about one shot or half of a shot so you definitely had to pace yourself and luckily it appeared that everybody was doing just that. Also they made you get a bracelet showing that you’re not driving home before you started your shochu adventure. The guys handing out the 40% shochu were giving me about 1-2 shots worth every time! I ask for a little, then that’s 1 shot, it was crazy.
POTATOES HOOOOOOOO! That’s right, rollin VIP in the JP yo. We visited one of the booths from Kagoshima to enjoy a tasty sample of their sweet potato shochu. The people at the booth and Mai got to talking about Kagoshima and their shochu. The company is one Mai’s friends favorites back in the U.S. so we bought two small bottles for 500 yen as a gift which were connected nicely in twine. As an added bonus they gave us a big bag of sweet potatoes to go along with it! How awesome is that? Word on the street is that Kagoshima is famous for sweet potatoes. I have yet to eat a sweet potato while drinking shochu made from potatoes, but it’s on my list of things to do. The second part of our VIP status happened when we were at a booth who insisted on giving me a double shot of the strong whiskey type of shochu which was 45%. And then they gave us two small bottles for free. That was surprising and very cool of them. He kept saying “It’s good, it’s good!” and I kept thinking “It tastes like ass! It tastes like ass!” but I got to enjoy some last week and he’s right, it’s good. *Note: Sweet potato shochu is not sweet.
Here are more pictures from the shochu fair. First I want to start with my favorite ones. The first one is Mai puring some shochu from a barrel
Fans of MXC will appreciate this one! Hideo Higashikokubaru is now governor of Miyazaki Prefecture.
And now here are the rest of the pictures I took. After the Yahoo! Dome we headed over to Hawks’ Town and I’ll post about that in the next few days.
I had some nabe (pronounced: naw-bay) the other night and it was the bomb! I’m going to throw in some terminology with pronunciation on this Japan it UP! entry. This tasty dish is a soup or stew that’s served in a clay pot because it stays warm after the flame is turned off. You can make nabe for two but we usually eat it with friends and everybody grabs frood from the same pot.
Â This time our nabe was filled with a soup, udon noodles, carrots, cabbage, crab legs aka ‘kani’ (pronounced: Connie), and some sausages. I think the sausages give it a western style taste and this time we used cabbage instead of “hakusai” (pronounced: hawk-sai, or hawkseye) which is Chinese cabbage. We cooked it on a burner right on the living room table. The table is called a kotatsu (pronounced koh-ta-tsu). A kotatsu isÂ a table used mostly in Japan and is a wooden table covered by a heavy blanket with a built in heater underneath to keep you warm. Great for warm winters! Bad for people with dust allergies. I’ve never had it before coming to Japan but here they have nabe restaurants which are very affordable. If you get the chance you should enjoy some nabe with a group of friends. Maybe there are some restaurants in your country that offer nabe, but it might take some investigating to find them.