Classical Music, Odaiba, Science, and Pancakes! (yes, more pancakes)

Less than one month from today, I will be back on US soil. I think it will be a little bittersweet leaving Tokyo but mostly sweet and filled with good things… from Trader Joes.

The next two weeks are going to go by in a flash as one of my besties is coming to town! I am so excited and it will be nice to be out and about seeing all the Tokyo sites for probably the last time. On top of that, a week from Saturday… we will be climbing Mt. Fuji!! I am praying and hoping for good weather, but either way, I think we will have a great time.

This past weekened, I started Saturday off with a little miscellaneous shopping and then headed to Korakuen where I met up with a coworker and his wife to watch the Sony Concert Band (one of the many bands/orchestras supported by the Sony Foundation). It was a free concert and it was amazing. Classical music is relaxing yet energizing all at the same time. The most popular of the songs was the theme to a Japanese video game “Monster Hunter” (I admit I’d never heard of it) and 1812 Overture.

IMG_2152

Sunday, I ventured to Odaiba to see the Rainbow Bridge (I want to go back to see it at night). There is also a Statue of Liberty Replica given by France to Japan, it was so cute!

IMG_2163

Odaiba is also home to the Museum of Emerging Science, which I thought was awesome. There were so many great exhibits… although some of them required a little too much reading and not quite enough hands on for me.

The highlight of this museum is the large globe made of tiny LED screens. It also projects a demonstration comparing the world to Japan. One of the funniest, yet accurate, facts of all of them was robberies. Using circles to demonstrate, it showed what would be about the size of a basketball (scaled down for my example as compared to the size of the globe) as the world average and Japan was probably the size of a pea, one single solitary pea. Perfectly shows, based upon facts and data, that Japan is such a safe country.

IMG_2167

Oh and I ate pancakes. Ricotta pancakes with banana and honey butter. I sure did.

IMG_2156

Adventures in Japanese Cuisine

Because I have the uncanny inability to sleep in on the weekend (it’s Saturday here) and I’ve been up since 5:30, I thought I’d finally share some of my favorite meals from my time in Japan so far.

The food has been so good and what I like most besides the general deliciousness and variety is that the portions are normal sized. So even if something is rich and indulgent, you aren’t given too much of it, unlike the gluttony present in the US. However, there isn’t an overwhelming presence of fruits and vegetables. Oh and did I mention… fruit here is SO expensive. I think I actually had a heart palpitation when I saw 6-8 strawberries for 500 yen, that’s nearly $5!!

The flavors of Japanese cuisine are simple but delicious. One of my favorite meals has been this udon which has a thin piece of fried tofu on top.

IMG_1793

Okonomiyaki is a specialty of the Kansai region of Japan (Kyoto, Osaka, etc.) and was by far my favorite meal in Kyoto. It is a savory pancake-like dish filled with vegetables, seafood, etc. and served on a hot skillet.

IMG_2057

Unagi is barbequed eel served on rice. It was so delicious, but what isn’t delicious served with BBQ sauce.

IMG_2098

What I have been most surprised by is that fact that some of my favorite food here isn’t Japanese. There is an Indian restaurant that I have been to nearly every Thursday for the vegetarian curry special with the most delicious nan bread.

IMG_2092

There is a pancake craze in Japan. With breakfast food being my favorite, I have enjoyed this thoroughly. I swear, these are pancakes.

IMG_2141

Oh and these crepes. The best 450 yen you will ever spend.

IMG_2066

In terms of beverages, I am obsessed with Chu-hi (pronounced chew-hi) which is a low alcohol content soda-type drink and the most delicious refreshing thing, ever.

IMG_1993

There is so much more: The best sushi you will have in your life. Soba noodles. Tempura. Green Tea/ Matcha everything. The list of delicious goes on and on.

IMG_1966

That being said, I have a list of foods that I can’t wait to eat when I get home including black bean burgers, baked oatmeal, watermelon, general fruits and vegetables. And I am most looking forward to getting back into a full size kitchen and trying to recreate some of my favorite meals from my trip.

It’s time for some breakfast now!