A Bit O Random

June 16th, 2009 Posted in Food | No Comments »

The Mister Donut here constantly revamps its offerings. It is nice because each time you go in you can find something new, but frustrating when you find something you love, it isn’t there anymore. Oh how I miss you, honey glazed.

I was pleasantly surprised when I found these on the shelf when I visited today.

Really, how can one resist a miniature hamburger and fry donut set. I haven’t eaten it yet, I have just been looking at it with admiration, but when I do, I will let you know how it is.

More Noticing

October 9th, 2008 Posted in Daily Living, Food | No Comments »

Last week Friday, I went to Takayama with all my first-year students and teachers on a one-day school “excursion.” For some reason, that is how it always gets translated. It makes me laugh.

Anyways, while in Takayama, I went out to eat Hida beef (a local, delicious, speciality) at a Western-style steak restaurant. I always love the way the Japanese imitate the western-style. Mostly they do ok, they have seen tons of western movies and tv shows, but it is always a little strange and awkward.

At this restaurant, what ended up being the most amusing, was watching my co-workers try to fumble through an entire meal with only a fork and steak knife. Most restaurants you go to, especially those that have meals which are intended to be eaten with fork/knife/spoon (Italian, Steak, etc), also offer chopsticks. And, in my experience, the Japanese usually opt for using the chopsticks, especially if they are eating salad.

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July 25th, 2008 Posted in Food, School Life | 2 Comments »


A few weeks ago the Future Homemakers of Japan (FHJ) club hosted an event where they were teaching how to make a french pastry. It only cost 50 yen to participate, so I jumped right in.

I didn’t know what the French pastry was, they just kept calling it a Madorenu. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out the English translation. Even though I didn’t know what it was called, I showed up on the day of the event ready to get cooking.

As soon as I entered the room I realized I was ill-prepared. All of the girls and boys had aprons on, and most of the girls had these little handkerchiefs on their heads.

Working Together

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Ryokan Breakfast

July 22nd, 2008 Posted in Food, Takayama, Travel | 6 Comments »

Breakfast Flat Fish

After waking up at the ryokan, we slowly made our way downstairs for breakfast. I knew that it would be a traditional Japanese breakfast, and I was open to the idea (and quite hungry), but when I approached the table and saw this flat fish in front of my place. I lost my appetite, almost entirely.

Breakfast Set

It didn’t help that the other foods offered (tofu, poached egg, pickled stuff, miso soup, etc) also didn’t resemble breakfast foods to me.

I tried to eat it. Really, I tried. But I just couldn’t.

Danielle Not Eating Breakfast

I left the table feeling pretty embarrassed because I had barely eaten the food put in front of me. I had a bit of everything, but just couldn’t manage to take it all down!

Food at the Ryokan

July 18th, 2008 Posted in Food, Takayama, Travel | 2 Comments »

Eating at the ryokan is part of the experience; few ryokans will allow you to stay without also paying for the meals. Most of the time, they seek to prepare uber-traditional meals with a focus on foods and ingredients that are specialties in the region of the ryokan. Soeno, the ryokan we stayed at last weekend, was no exception.

Dinner was served in the dining hall and each room had their own, semi-private area. We were seated across from one another and, in the center of our table was a large open pit with a few coals on it. Before we even arrived, they had begun grilling some fish in our pit and they had set out a tray of starters.



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Flied Frat Fish

June 12th, 2008 Posted in Daily Living, Food | No Comments »

Flat Fish

Our good friend, Tanaka, introduced us to one of his favorite foods at an izakaya (bar) that his friend owns. In Japanese it is called (Kare no kara age) which loosely translates to Fried Flat Fish. The R’s and the L’s in the name of this food are a bit difficult for the Japanese, thus the name of this post.

Anyways, I must say that the first time the fish was brought to the table I was a bit skeptical. After all, it was the whole fish and I generally steer clear of that sort of thing. As a rule, I prefer that my food bear little resemblance to its original form. I don’t care for the powerful, in-your-face, reminders of seeing the whole creature on my plate. Staring up at me.

Despite my skepticism, I gave it a try. This food is a little strange because it is fried more than once. When the whole fish is fried a handful of times the bones become soft enough that they can be eaten. Once you are done with the fried flat fish very little remains on your plate, aside from a few crumbs.

The first time I stayed away from the bones and fins and stuck mostly with the delicious fishy meat, but the second time I was a bit more adventurous. Bones, yum! Fins, yum! Meat, yum! It was all good, except I couldn’t quite bring myself to eat the head. Maybe next time…

Habu Sake

March 31st, 2008 Posted in Food, Travel | 2 Comments »

Snake Liquor

The first time I saw one of these jars, while walking down a very popular tourist strip in Naha, I must have jumped about ten feet in the air before I moved away, as fast as I could. As it turns out, this reaction dulled fairly quickly because these jars of sake were everywhere. They lined almost every liquor store wall that we walked by.

Row of Jars

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More Festival Photos

March 27th, 2008 Posted in Food, Just for Fun | No Comments »

I promised, last week, that I would share some photos of themed food from the penis festival. First up, chocolate covered bananas!

Angus with Bananas

Whole Group Eating Banana

The best thing about this was that once we all posed, some of us more provocatively than others, with our bananas we were swamped by Japanese people that wanted their picture taken with us. The lady on the left was one such person. I guess, a group of five foreigners with chocolate covered phallic bananas creates quite a scene. Who knew!!


March 26th, 2008 Posted in Food, School Life | No Comments »

Last night my school held a Farewell Party for all the teachers that are leaving our school. We have 8 teachers that have been reassigned, 2 vice-principals that are retiring, and 3 members of the support staff that are leaving. The farewell party was a lively affair with lots of food and drink to make sure that everyone had a good time.

One thing I really like about these office parties is that there is random assigned seating. When I walked into the party I had to take a number out of a little box and then I had to walk around and find the place that had the same number. This means that everyone has to sit by new people instead of having the same old people and departments hanging out with one another. For me, this means that I usually get a chance to talk to people outside of the English department and get a little closer with my other colleagues. It also means that I have to use a lot of Japanese.

Last night I sat next to a Phy Ed teacher and a Japanese teacher. Both of them made a huge effort to use the little english that they had, and they also enjoyed talking in Japanese with me, even though they had to speak very slowly and use very simple words.

The funniest part of the night was when the Japanese teacher put his sashimi (raw fish) onto his personal grill to cook it. Immediately I was reminded of the experience we had in Sapporo with Eric and Virginia. I just sort of looked at him for a moment, in surprise, trying to figure out how to ask him if he likes sashimi. Finally I was able to come up with the question in Japanese and I asked him.

“Sashimi wa suki desu ka.” (Do you like sashimi?)

“Iie. Karai.” (No, I hate it.)

So, there you have it. Another first for me in Japan. This is the first time I have met a Japanese that doesn’t eat raw fish. Given how common it is in Japanese cuisine, I can only imagine what a pain in the ass it is. At least, at this particular restaurant he had the option of cooking it himself.

Engrish Tuesday – Okinawa

March 25th, 2008 Posted in Engrish, Food | No Comments »

Sorry the blog has been a bit quiet over the past few days, we snuck away for a long weekend in Okinawa. It was fun, albeit a little cooler than I would have liked. I was expecting a tropical paradise, but they had a bit of a cold snap while we were there. Actually, it was warmer in Nagoya, near Gifu, than in Okinawa for much of our visit. Oh well, can’t win them all.

Anyways, much fun was still had. We really liked this one little burger joint that we stopped at. Good burgers and fun atmosphere, very close to the beach. And, as it turns out, they had some good Engrish too.

Outside of Restaurant

We Don’t Speak English

Inside Restaurant

It’s true, they didn’t speak much English but they did give a service hard.