Since I'm here in Japan where everything is a day ahead, I decided to celebrate Mother's Day twice! Why not its my day.So one Mother's day in Japan I got dressed in my cute panda tea and set my sights on finding a coffee shop that my guy friends told me was in the area. Well now he owes me coffee because I did not find said coffee shop. Of course I didn't give up, it was my day and I was going to find coffee. It was a Sunday morning and it seems like everything in the area was closed so I headed for a Shell station. Gas stations have coffee right, nope. This gas station only have gas but the attendant was nice enough to draw me a map to the 7/11. Now of course the 7/11 would have coffee, it would be gas station coffee but coffee none the less. Well if they had coffee I didn't see it because I was taken aback by the amount of prepared foods they had. Most of the dishes we meat based but I was lucky enough to find a few vegan options . I settled on the soba noodle, kimchi and oj. Yes I know orange juice and kimchi don't go together but it seemed that with all the travel I have caught a cold and I am trying to load up on as much vitamin C as possible.
What I loved most about my Mother's Day breakfast was the price. I got all that food for 600 yen!! That's 6 bucks US money. Now way I got that at home.
When I opened my noodle container I was a little nervous because it contained extra packages that of course were not in English but no worries I whipped out my Google translate app and took a pic. I told me what each package was. The very small one is grate wasabi, nori strips, the clear package translated to noodle loosen water and of course the big brown package was soy sauce. I'm sure these noodles were meant to be eaten cold but I nuked em because I don't like cold food.
I also found out why the Japanese culture is so thin. They bike EVERYWHERE. So when in Rome or in my case Japan you bike. My next stop later in the day for to the onsen. My host Lisa was nice enough to loan me one of her bikes to get to the onsen. It was about a 20 minute bike ride but because I got lost twice it took me more like 30 or 45 minutes but I found it. For those that don't know an onsen is a Japanese Bath house. There are a bunch of mineral pools set at different temps that you get into....naked. Yep Cassi stripped naked in broad daylight among a bunch of strangers. I decided before I came that I was going to go to the onsen to try to get over my body image issues. Sadly I only lasted about 30 minutes. Being naked is just not my cup of tea but hey at least I did it.
It is meant to spend a great deal of time at the onsen so there is a cafe so that in between or after baths you can eat. Now this was my favorite part of the onsen. So far my favorite part of Japan is the vending machines! Anything you can think to drink are in these machines. I decided on a sparkling lemonaide. It says it contains the vitamin C of 50 lemons.
Ordering food in Japan is very hard if you can't speak Japanese and even harder if you are vegan but no worries I printed of a few "I am vegan" flash cards to take with me. So my meal was a total surprise. I was served tofu with grated ginger and green onions, pickled ginger, miso soup, a green salad and of course rice. I have never in my life eaten just block of silken tofu but eating it with the pickled ginger and grated ginger it was pretty decent. Not my favorite way to eat tofu but hey I'm here to try and see new things.
The onsen also had very small gift shop and look at what I discovered. PINK NOODLES!!! Keithon will hate this but I love it. My host Lisa told me that these are spring time noodles so they are meant to be eaten cold. I can't wait to get home and create a recipe for these.
Now on Monday Japan Time and Sunday American Time I ventured out to Osaka with another housemate because there was no way that I was getting lost on the train. Even better for me he had portable wifi so we had Internet the whole trip. So between the wifi and his Ipad we didn't get to turned around. The most confusing thing for us was buying train tickets. Its like trying to answer a math word problem. You have to decide where you want to go, when you want to get there and what train you need to catch and then you give the machine the matching amount of money and it spits out a tickets that you insert into the turn stall. We brought quite a few tickets, sometimes the turn stall gave them back and sometimes it kept them. It was very confusing.
Our first stop was The Instant Ramen Museum. I have been dying to go here since Bianca told me about this magical place. I won't mention anything else because I am saving it for a blog post all its own. It is that special.
After we left the museum we passed the cute little bakery and I assumed that by the title that it may be s vegan bakery. No such luck but they did have the most adorably teas and since I troubled the woman so much with the vegan questions I had to buy them. They are all themed based on what they do. I can't wait to get home to try them.
Since we spent most of the day riding trains and sightseeing we forgot to eat lunch so once we got to our final train station we went on the hunt for food. The train stations are like malls here. It is amazing. Had I been alone I'm sure I would have spent way too much time shopping. Micheal was craving sushi and that was fine with me because I was sure that I would be able to find some type of veggie roll. Again I whipped out my vegan flash card and the server brought us a American menu. I order the pickled veggie radish and a cucumber roll. It was all they had on the menu. Instead of putting the wasabi on the plate it is already inside the roll. I'll have to start ordering like this when I get home.
Sadly I ran out of chap stick while we were out so I asked Micheal if we could stop at the convenience store inside the station so I could pic up more. Lucky for me the lady at the counter spoke perfect English and she even helped me find some bath salts to try to get rid of whatever this madness is that I can't shake. (yes I know one of them says honey but I don't like to take drugs, I am overseas and beggars can't be choosy) As soon as I finish blogging I am going to a soak.
Aside from the Ramen museum my favorite part of the day was our trip to the 100 yen store! 100 yen is equal to 1 US dollar so this was a dollar tree. Again had I been alone this could have been a problem. THEY HAVE EVERYTHING!! I wanted to grab so much more stuff but I was sharing the day and it was cold and rainy so I only grabbed a few things for Keithon and myself. I am so excited to wear my panda socks.
I'm not sure what tomorrow holds but I know it will be just as exciting as today because everything thing is new. And before I leave Japan I am going to find that vending machine that has panties!