Today would be the first day of ‘learning’ for us. After our Hiragana and Katakana test, this is kind of an introductory entrance into what Hiragana was, as well as all of the alphabet for Hiragana. Me and Jason had stopped by the on-campus 7-11, where I picked up a nice little fruit drink and melon bread, to give me some energy for the learning that was to happen. The class we went to was taught in much the way of elementary school (Jason was amused that we got to start Japanese elementary school in college), with the teacher drawing out everything, as well as guiding us through the sounds of everything. It was a relatively short class, and once done, we would ultimately be free for a week to study and try to learn Hiragana again, before taking a little test next week to see how much we had learned.
We eventually got done with the class, given our large sheets of homework in which we had to draw the hiragana repeatedly. But once we were released, Jason and I decided to again head off for an exploration of walking. We headed down one of the main roads away from the campus that would run along Daiso, which is the 100 yen shop (equivalent of a dollar general or such in the US). There were plenty of stores along the street that we hadn’t gotten to visit yet, so we decided to take this opportunity to do so.
Many of the stores we happened to wander into were clothing stores of various types, though many of them seemed a little higher-end than what we were ultimately looking for. And there is one thing I learned very quickly…. Japan is not very friendly to larger sized people, be it height or width. Jason found a few things that would fit him, though even he had to look a little, as the average build of Japanese men and women is seemingly different from Americans. Unfortunately, being a larger gentleman that I am, I couldn’t find anything that I could comfortably wear. The largest size of clothing we could find would ultimately be LL, which is ultimately an Extra Large in Japanese standards… it ultimately equated to a Large by US standards. From what me and Jason found, there didn’t seem to be anything larger. And the same would go for pants. Shoes they measure in centimeters, and the highest they go is about 27cm… this is something akin to like a size 9 in the US… so we couldn’t even really buy shoes if we were so inclined.
One of the stores we stopped in along the way really made me think of an Ambercrombie and Fitch (or however its ultimately spelled), seeming like a higher class, kind of preppy place to shop. Of course we still looked around, and were surprised by the variety of stuff they had. They actually had plenty of things in English (or Romanji), and some things I’m surprised they had, such as military hoodies. They had Air Force, Marines, Army and Navy hoodies and shirts. I actually took a few pictures of the shirts and the type of atmosphere this place had, as well as one of the shirts that showed just how difficult translation can be between the US and Japanese languages.
After our wandering around a few clothing stores, we ran into someone who was on their way to a place called Liquor Mountain. From the sounds of it, it obviously had liquor… but another of the draws to it is that it actually has quite a decent selection of imported snacks and foods from the US, so if you were looking for some doritos, or some other food stuffs that you might not be able to normally get within the supermarkets of Japan. All in all, its quite a little walk away from where Proxy Friends is, but likely worth a trip once in a while, when you are jonesing for something from home.
Eventually, after buying -highly- necessary amounts of snacks and a sake to try out, we headed on the long walk back towards Proxy Friends. On the way, we actually passed a katsudon place (fried pork cutlet with rice, cooked onion and egg) that looked good, albeit a little pricey. After a bit of time back in Proxy, Me, Jason and our friend Declan would actually decide to go out in search of Ramen, using directions our friend Nicole gave us. But after probably a good 10 or 15 minutes of looking around, we were unable to find the place, so we decided to go to the katsudon place that we had seen earlier during our trip home.
The atmosphere of the place was pretty good, with lots of dark woods, and a visible kitchen. As we sat down, we browsed the menu, we did see that it was a bit pricier than another katsudon place that was near Proxy… but as we were already there we decided to give it a try. Trying new things is part of the reason for coming to Japan, right? The food finally came, and I’ll admit, it definitely looked good. As opposed to the place we had tried near Proxy, this was actually a meal set, rather than just a bowl of katsudon. The sauce that went with it was amazingly good (according to Jason… I wasn’t necessarily the most hungry, so didn’t try the sauce). But it definitely had a visual appeal to it… worth the roughly 1500 yen? Maybe…
The meal (along with many others) were teaching me that I was not a fan of miso…. at least not miso soup. It was similar to the fact that I found out I was not a fan of green tea, which is highly unfortunate, as it is EVERYWHERE in Japan, from restraunts to convenience stores to vending machines. And I don’t like it. 😦
But after the meal, we headed back to Proxy and promptly took a rather nice hot shower and hit the sack!
End of Day 7!