Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 9, 10, 11 - Weekend @ Kaikan

For the next few days, we were pretty relaxed and didn't do much or go out anywhere touristy, so I'm bunching all the posts into one... Most of the weekend was spent with Carey and her schoolmates at the Kaikan dorm. Also, I was having such a good time being lazy that I didn't want to spend time in front of the laptop.

Day 9

We did a little grocery shopping at the nearby mall, which is a short walk away from Carey's dorm. The grocery store seemed a lot like the ones back home, only a lot of different vegetables, and much more prepared ready-made foods. We also stopped by the mall and looked at some cool displays for an upcoming holiday - March 3rd is the Girl's Day festival, where girls buy and display different old-timey dolls. Sugoi, ne?

DSC01726 DSC01728 The mannequins in Japan are creepy as shit! The dolls, less so.

On our way back, we got a true omurice lunch. It was tasty. Other than the raw octopus sushi, I really haven't eaten anything I didn't like... and I think even that octopus was off slightly, because the chopped wasabi-octopus was awesome.

DSC01721 DSC01722 I had a tomato sauce omu, Carey had a cream and crab. They were both pretty awesome.

One thing I really like about shopping/eating in Japan is the no tipping, and all listed prices are including tax. All the basic items that you buy are in multiples of 100 yen, and it makes shopping easy. And no tipping is great, less math at the end of the meal! It's weird there's no tipping, considering that the level of service you get is so much better than back home.

DSC01732 That evening we ordered pizza and watched a movie. As a snacky, I had a onigiri that looked like a taco! It had a tonkatsu (pork cutlet) inside! The fast food here is great.

I also found out before coming that some of Carey's friends were of the nerdly sort and played Magic: The Gathering, a geeky card game.... so I had brought my cards and we played some Magic with them that night. Super fun! Haha, I got along with Carey's friends pretty well because I'm immature and they're all college age. Sometimes being an man-baby works in my favour!

DSC01739 Hahaha, busted! These cool younger kids are actually playing the nerdiest game ever!

Day 10

Not much happened on Sunday. We went for a bike ride, and found a shrine on the top of a hill, right next to the ocean! These shrines seem to be everywhere... and there were people inside, so I just took a pic of a tunnel of gates that led to it.

DSC01735 Very serene, as most of these Buddhist shrines are.

Then we bought some groceries and Carey made an awesome Japanese curry for us in her dorm kitchen!

DSC01741 She's a great cook... it was like a spicy stew! Noms! We ate it for lunch the next day too!

That night we had a night out with the Kaikaners. Karaoke, of course! Very fun, although they were all blank-faced with my classic 80's songs like "Summer of '69" and "Money for Nothing". Still, very fun... maybe a little toooo fun? I've done karaoke a couple times in college when I was at home, and I thought it was lame... but I actually had a ton of fun! Me and Carey kicked ass with some duets: "I Think We're Alone Now" by Tiffany, and "Love Shack" by the B-52's. Maybe the fact that its in Japan, its home country, it makes more fun.

DSC01757 These kids dunno good 80's guitar rock!

Day 11

On Monday, we went to a nearby entertainment mall. We had an okonomiyaki lunch, which is a very traditional Japanese dish.

DSC01777 DSC01776 Thankfully, Carey knew all the ins and outs of how to prepare and eat this dish. She's made it so easy for me to travel and see Japan! This is definitely a place that you need to at least speak the language a little bit in order to get by.

When you go in, you of course have to take your shoes off, and you're taken to your table, which has a built in hot-top.

DSC01765 DSC01775 This one had a sunken floor, so we didn't have to sit in seiza position

You pick your okonomiyaki, so we did a cheese one, and a shrimp mix one.

DSC01766 DSC01767 Here Carey is displaying her expert mixing skills.

You mix it up, and then dump it onto the hot-top and flatten it out like a pancake...

DSC01768 DSC01770 It's almost like an egg plus veggies and stuff pancakey thing.

Then you flip it, and put this hoison-type sauce on top in stripies, and cut pieces off onto your plate and nom it!

DSC01771 DSC01774 Sooooo tasty! It was hot sitting in front of a grill for the whole meal though!

One of the best meals I've had so far! Thanks Carey!

DSC01773 I could easily survive the food in Japan - it's all rice, eggs and meat, my faves!

After the awesome meal, we noticed there was an arcade nearby. Oh noooooo, they have claw games! Ogh nooooooooossss! After a whirlwind of 2 floors of clawgame, we came back with a pretty good haul... she's getting to pro level, she got a couple of box prizes!

DSC01785 Box prizes are incredibly hard to win.... and she got 2 of em this round!

It was a great chillax weekend... just food and hanging out and drinking with her school chums. Next up we go to Beppu! Woooooooo! Bring on the onsen (hot spring bath)! Relaxationnaise at the traditonal Japanese Ryokan (inn)! Matte ne!

DSC01736 Today's vendy shows how the vending machines are everywhere! Even at a shrine, there's a vendy outside!