Store Visits – Clothes and Food! (March 22)

Taking the advice of a friend, I am going to be trying to do my blog posts a little more differently, as suggested. I will try to condense some days, when there are less interesting things happening, especially when classes will be starting up and such, and focusing on some of the (hopefully) more interesting things that occur.

Yesterday was more or less spent as a relaxation day, giving myself and Jason a bit of time to recuperate fully from the overnight excursion to the Izakaya, and get our sleeping schedules a bit more squared away. But as classes hadn’t yet started, we decided that we would use this day to do a little exploring at some of the stores a little further away than what we had previously explored. I will admit, all the walking is probably a good thing…. but I hate all the walking, at the same time. Things that would have taken less than 5 minutes to get to back in the states via car now take 20 or 30 minutes to walk to. Sometimes its nice, with appropriate weather… other times, I wish they have built-in conveyorbelts in the sidewalks.

We started out going to a clothing store called UNIQLO, which I suppose was meant to be kind of unique clothes. Anyway, it seemed like a normal enough clothing store, not particularly pricey or anything. Jason was more interested in looking around for clothing than I was. He could at least fit in some of the items, whereas I was a little more out of luck in the clothing department… Japan is just not very friendly for bigger guys. Not in clothes, not in shoes… It really kind of sucked. But I suppose it let me save money to put towards more useful things… like manga, or anime, or whatever.

Jason, being the fashionista that he is, purchased a few t-shirts with designs upon them, as well as some simple white shirts. They didn’t have a lot of stuff that I was necessarily super enthused about, though it could be as much from the fact that I wasn’t able to fit into anything as the actual designs themselves. Anyway, after the bit of clothing shopping, we decided to head to the shopping mart that was right next door. This place was a fair bit further away from Proxy than the one we normally used, but we decided to stop in, mostly to see if there was any difference in the variety of objects. There were plenty of things we found here that our other store didn’t have… its just a pain that its such a long walk away. 😦

Warning – I got a little picture happy here, so there is gonna be a lot of pics of random aisle of stuff. If nothing else, it might give you a rough idea of what it is like to look at the shelves in Japan.

Since I know very little of the language, it is at times like this that I am very thankful that the majority of products have a picture of the object upon it. Otherwise, I have no doubt that I might very well starve to death…. or eat at a restaurant every day for every meal. But even for some products, even though they show the picture of the product, it still doesn’t necessarily tell me exactly what it is. Some things look appetizing… other things not quite so much. The Japanese have a fair amount of sweets, like bagged cookies and such… but they have nowhere near the sugar content that the American cookies have, nor do they look anywhere near the same either. Another thing the Japanese are HUGE upon are curry and instant ramen. In the states, you might find a shelf full of instant ramen, though you have to generally go to the international section to find packages for curry. And Japanese curry tends to be more sweet and mild in comparison to things such as Indian curry.

One of the things I greatly like about Japanese grocery stores is their bentos and fried food selections. You can get a prepared meal for anywhere from 3-6 dollars roughly. Whether its sushi, rice and chicken, fried shrimp or vegetables… its usually pretty good, overall. Another couple things I noticed that the Japanese are very big on are Miso and Soy Sauce. They have more soy sauces than I even know what they would need them for, and supposedly each one is slightly different than the rest, whether its salt content, flavoring, or something else. Honestly, I doubt my palette is good enough to recognize the differences, but they certainly have a variety. The same goes for miso. I am not much of a fan of miso soup, so I do not think miso itself is good either… but obviously, from the variety, the Japanese people love it!

One unique thing I noticed that is quite different from in the states is their readiness to sell liquor in their grocery stores. In the states, if you purchased alcohol in grocery stores, it was usually just beer. But in Japan, they have actual liquor…. hard liquor. Whiskey, brandy, sake, wine… they usually have at least 1 aisle that is nothing but liquor. But at the same time, aside from the nearby Liquor Mountain, I do not actually know if Liquor Stores are a normal thing in Japan. Something to think about… though I still need to actually try a few sake, to see if I can find one that I actually lie enough to try and bring a bottle or two back home to the states with me.

After the grocery store, buying a few things, including a bento or two, we actually headed back to our rooms to relax. The rest of the day was rather uneventful, but it did give me time to look up numerous things in Japan I want to go see, especially in the areas of Kyoto and Osaka.  Part of me actually dreads the point where school and classes actually begins, since I won’t have time to simply go out and explore day to day as I do now…. it will be more confined to weekend excursions. 😦

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