Photo Sunday

kotatsu

My colleague is always cold. He says there’s a draft at his legs but I never feel it, even though I sit opposite him. I sometimes wonder if I should introduce him to the Japanese kotatsu.

A kotatsu is a staple in the Japanese home. A low table, with a heater underneath, and a blanket sandwiched under the lid, you sit on cushions on the floor with your legs toasting by the heater. [Read more…]

Photo Sunday

Japan Night Club

For a nice Sunday post I thought I’d reach into my travelling past and find a photo to share.

One cold November I went to Osaka to hang out with a Canadian friend. We did all kinds of fun things like go to Universal Studios, and stayed in a capsule hotel. In the evening, we decided to go out clubbing, and found our way to the above place. [Read more…]

When I Studied in Japan

Study In Japan

Recently I’ve read not just one but two awesome posts about people who studied abroad – the first from the wonderful Rhyme and Ribbons, and the other by the lovely Darling Magazine. Both posts have great insights and advice for those studying abroad – but I thought I’d throw my experience into the mix as well, as I studied in Japan.

I’d been studying Japanese since I was 16 – because I really REALLY wanted Japanese friends. I had this amazing idea of going to live there, when everyone would want to be my friend and that I would live in this heaven of happiness. This was fueled as well by the month-long trip I took when I was 17 with my Japanese class, where it really was everything I had dreamt of – everyone was happy to see us, the food was amazing and it was just so much fun.

I got to study in Japan in my third year (out of four) at uni. The UK uni I went to was Liverpool John Moores and we had sister schools all over Japan. I really wanted to go to Fukuoka or Kurume to be near the classmate I was dating at the time but I ended up being sent to Kinjo Gakuin University in Nagoya. I REALLY didn’t want to go there – it was a GIRLS university (which don’t exist in the UK) and what’s more, it’s a Christian university (which also doesn’t exist in the UK). As the only girl in my Liverpool class, I was obliged to go.

I needn’t have worried – I had THE BEST YEAR and I still consider to be one of the best years I’ve lived so far. [Read more…]

Things I Ate in Japan

What I ate in Japan

Surprisingly, even though I had a LOOONG list of things I wanted to eat in Japan, we didn’t eat a whole lot this time. The reasons were that it was ridiculously hot and also my buddy had a habit of forgetting to eat, so I ended up not eating as much either.

Here are the things that I did eat, however.

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The first day we were TIRED AF after the flight and so we had a shower and then went out for my favourite – cheap sushi. At places like this a plate of sushi costs about 100 yen. If you’re in the UK, that’s about 60p right now. Yeah, go cry into your Yo Sushi.

This was at a place called Genki Sushi, which was cute because you order your plates on a screen then they come to you on these little trains. It was ADORABLE.

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As soon as we got to my Japanese hometown of Ise, it was time for akafuku. These are the purple sweets you see above – pounded rice (mochi) covered in smooth adzuki beans. They are the speciality there, you see, and people come from all over to sit with some green tea and enjoy the cakes. The family-owned business is so important they pretty much control everything in the town, which is kinda pants because they have said some pretty racist things in the past. I should boycot them but if you boycotted everything that is racist in Japan you’d be sat in a corner doing nothing all week.

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I had the icecream in one hand and my DSLR in the other so dammit I couldn’t get the light right here. BUT this is my FAVOURITE icecream, also from my Japanese hometown. It’s tofu icecream. No, really.

It’s creamy, but not in a diary way like with milky icecream. Instead it has such a subtle taste that’s absolutely amazing. It’s pretty rare though so grab it if you see it!

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I guess it makes sense that I ate the most in my hometown. There was so much that I missed. The above curry is one that I used to go to when I felt homesick, because British people feel that curry is a huge part of our identity. However, when I went back home I had some other curry and it wasn’t nearly as good as this stuff. It really is the best in the world. They make the naan fresh – my choice is always the butter naan.

It was so good meeting up with all my friends in Ise. I miss them so much. I think although I have a habit of feeling very lonely at times, I understated how loved I am back there. I got very teary when it was time to say goodbye.

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Over in Osaka we met up with another friend of mine who gave us a great walking tour. Grabbing something quick before parting ways, we found this restaurant that specialised in fried stuff.

People think Japanese food is all healthy but actually they LOVE to deep fry stuff. The above fried things are a massive prawn, and two Japanese croquettes (I think they were minced beef and prawn). That dollop of Japanese potato salad was my favourite though <3

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Here’s a secret – I actually dislike Kyoto. Too many people. Too many cars. They’ve not protected their sacred city well enough to make it enjoyable. So, after an unsuccessfull bike ride in the city, we made ourselves feel happy again with Japanese McDonalds. I had the prawn burger (Japan limited).

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My friend went for the Big Mac, to see how it compared. He said it was around the same as a British one, but the fries “sucked” as they were too salty. In the UK they don’t salt them any more, apparently. The last time I had Maccy D’s was in Germany so I have no idea.

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Green tea icecream. Because it was just too damned hot.

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In Kyoto we stayed in this really cool Airbnb and the girls there pointed us in the direction of this SUPER cheap restaurant. A set menu cost 1000 yen (if you’re in the UK that’s around £6). Above is the one I got on my first night. It was the most amazing kara-age fried chicken I’ve ever tasted.

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…followed by some yuzu icecream!

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These are the best cream puffs in Japan – I can say that with confidence! You can find them on the hill going towards Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. They come in cinamon-vanilla or green tea. The perfect snack!

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Cold udon noodles are perfect on a hot day. Watch out for that raw yolk in there – can make some people feel ill!

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On out last night I had Korean food instead of Japanese – bibimbap. Rice and veg and kimchi… AHHH it’s one of my favourite foods.

So are you hungry now?

What’s your favourite Japanese food?

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