Well it's time for that post. Japan is a fascinating place for the foodie in me and the food is pretty, let me say, different here. While many more people know Japanese food than knew Zanzibari food, I'm going to tell you about my experiences here nevertheless. Maybe you'll see something that we can try together when I get back to America! One thing I've struggled with a lot in Japan is the lack of eating and drinking while walking or doing anything publicly. The Japanese are very private, and this extends to food as well. You don't eat a burrito or drink a coffee while you walk to work, so eating on the go is uncomfortable. Definitely something to get used to, especially once I realized how different it was during my few days in Korea, where everyone had coffee and a snack in the streets.
And I've had some nice fancy meals too!
The snacks are probably the best part of Japanese food. A staple of casual food culture are "konbini" which are the convenience stores like 7-11, Family Mart, and Lawsons. These konbinis are open 24/7 since they must always be convenient. Since this is Japan, everyone is incredibly nice and polite, so whenever you walk into any konbini or restaurant or store or literally anywhere, you are greeted. Also, you can buy just about anything your heart desires at konbinis, from snacks to booze to toiletries to full-fledged meals. And the best part of buying the meals from konbini is that they'll warm up your meal for you and give you a towel and chopsticks to eat it with. The options are literally endless.
Bugles still exist in Japan, and they're teriyaki flavored!
These mushrooms are a gift from the heavens. A cookie stem with a chocolate head, it's bliss.
Look at that little mushroom!
Japan loves European food (mostly French but they do spread out) so they're not hard to find!
Sweets in Japan aren't very sweet which is a huge relief from how sweet things are in America. And most sweets are made from some form of rice. These are rice balls lightly sweetened.
Japan absolutely loves Kit Kats. These are matcha (green tea) flavored
And these are sake flavored. Eat enough and you'll get drunk. Seriously.
These are apparently bean-like sweets. I don't really know what they are but they're amazing.
Red bean paste is a common sweet here and is in almost everything. I'm not a fan of it but it's okay in small portions.
Those balls are takoyaki. They're rice balls filled with bits of octopus and are probably the most famous street food.
Japan is also famous for their over-the-top ice cream parfaits and the hype is worth it.
Of course, sushi.
Matcha (green tea) ice cream with matcha powder sprinkling. The best ice cream ever.
This is tayaki. This pastry is filled with anything from red bean paste to sweet potato to custard. Except the red bean, they're amazing.
Soba (buckwheat) noodles and shrimp, veggie, and seaweed tempura. Restaurants and businesses here can also be hundreds of years old. This is one of the oldest restaurants in the world, sitting at 551 years ago, founded in 1465.
Sweets and matcha
This was some bread filled with matcha ice cream and I devoured it.
Also at konbini you can buy full-on meals. This bento box was prepared so nicely!
Soba (rice noodles) in a hot broth. Great warming dish, I really need to find a place that sells this in Colorado, since it would be perfect for skiing lunch.
This is okonomiyaki. That translates literally to "fried choices". It's a rice flour with bacon on top.
And alas, the famous Kobe beef. It's cooked on a hibachi and pre-cut up for you so you can eat with chopsticks. It's amazingly tender and the best meat you'll ever eat. Order it rare.
So grocery shopping is a bit weird in Japan. I struggle really hard with it since everything's in Japanese and in Japanese only so sometimes I just look at the labels on things thinking that maybe if I look at it long enough it'll just translate but it never does. Also, be sure to bring your own grocery bags or get charged lots of money! And be ready to bag your own groceries. Be prepared to spend an arm and a leg on fruits and veggies though. If it's not a $9 bushel of grapes or a $3 apple, it's a square watermelon for $18!
Pro tip: If you want to save a bit of money, go later in the day. Since the Japanese value freshness more than anything else, the longer food sits out, the more discounted it gets.
There's plenty of seasonal brews to choose from at konbinis. I just loved the design of this one.
There are very few craft breweries in Japan, but of course I found one!
Matcha tea + Kahlua cocktail
Sake of course. Still not a fan of sake, but I keep trying and keep not liking it.
And finally, a whisky tasting at Yamazaki Whisky, who have won more international whisky competitions than any other distillery, so aka the best whisky in the world!
This is only a snapshot of all the options in Japan, but I've already posted too much. I hope y'all learned a bit of something since I certainly have while eating all of this! Thanks!