Intros & Ramen! (March 23)

 

This would begin as many of the days were starting to… with us having to attend an introductory class in the morning. The walk to the school, I am finding out, really kind of sucks. Proxy is a good city block further away from the school than I-House, as well as the fact that the University itself is situated upon a hill. This means that there are quite a few stairs and small hills that are required to even get up to the University itself.

Once in the class, we were greeted by our translator, as well as a handful of people that we did not know. They were Japanese nationals who organized events in the area, as well as in the next city over. That might seem odd, but Nagoya itself is actually made of a bunch of smaller cities combined. The one we are actually in is Aichi city…. kind of like how there are suburbs to Kansas City. Same concept. Some of these people spoke about events that would be going on during cherry blossom season, and others that would happen at even further times away, in the next city over. It was educational to the foreign students, as well as trying to get some attendance to the events.

Of course this only took a portion of our morning, as many things were. So after a bit of time with the people who came to visit, we were released back upon the streets of Japan! Deciding that a bit of food was in order, myself, Jason and our friend Declan decided to head in search of ramen. We had found one place, though it was closed at the time that we passed by it. But deciding to venture further down the road, we went in search of a second place that was a fair bit more walking away… by foot, it probably took us roughly 20 minutes to get there. But along the way, got to see some nice scenery… I rather enjoyed some of the views, which spurred me to take pictures obviously.

Finally, after a fair bit more walking, we finally found the place we had been looking for. Heading inside the decorum was rather nice, and we were shown to a booth quickly. Thankfully, like many places in the area, they actually had a menu in english… probably a good thing, given how many foreigners they get, being as close to NUFS as they are. A lot of the food looked rather good, and they had ramen, as well as soba. It took a little time to decide exactly what it was we were going to get. And when the food did finally arrive, it looked and tasted wonderful! Definitely my favorite ramen in japan thus far! The gyoza that we got as well were delicious. We got some fried chicken that was alright…. it was spicy, and I’m not much a fan of the spice. Jason, being the spice lover that he is, actually went for some spicy ramen… from the red coloring, it looked as if it would be spicy… I’m glad I didn’t attempt to try it! After the main meal was finished, we decided to get a bit of dessert…. they went for conventional ice cream cones. I went for custard, which I was finding that I quite enjoy!

Probably one of the larger downsides to this place, is not necessarily how long it takes to get there…. but how long it takes to get back. The walk itself isn’t bad, and again, is rather scenic (I thought). But when your full after a good meal, the last thing you really want to do is walk around. It seemed as though the walk back took even longer than the walk there! I know it was a trick of the mind, but sometimes, it really did make me miss my car. 😦 Declan, on the way back, noticed the McDonalds and decided he wanted to stop in and look for something. Japan for a while had a version of french fries that you could drizzle black and white chocolate atop and eat. He wanted to try them out, so we stopped inside…. unfortunately, he missed being able to get them by a month or two. Disappointed, we continued back on our way home!

Yet as we continued to proceed back closer and closer to Proxy, we came across this nice little sweet shops. Deciding that we were in no true rush to get back to our rooms, we decided to stop inside and take a look around. It was very nice on the inside, and had a LOT of sweets. One of the things I noticed is that their sweets don’t look quite like ours, nor did they appear to contain as much sugar either. Eventually, all of us decided to get something… I got a little parfait that looked rather good. In the US, when you would purchase something like that, they would simply give it to you over the counter after you pay and you’d be on your way. But Japan is a bit different. First, we paid… then they gathered up the items we wanted and took them behind the counter, and actually worked on wrapping them up. They didn’t wrap them like a package, but each one was put in this nice pink box, and then in this nice pink bag, and then handed to us. As we left, Jason joked that between the care they gave in packaging up his treat, as well as how pretty he felt carrying around that little pink bag, that he truly felt like a princess….  so we began referring to the place as the ‘Princess Store’. But it certainly shows just how different customer service in Japan is in comparison to the States.

We headed back to Proxy, and decided to relax after such a good meal…. not much else happened. I am learning where things are though… but I am also learning just how enticing a thought it is to invest in a bike, though I don’t know if its worth it, if I’m only here for 5 months. But walking everywhere certainly takes a toll.

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