Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Favorite Food in Yokosuka (aka "Things I Ate")

One of the great things about being here in Japan is trying all the neat food. Japan is a place that people from all over the world come to live or work, and it shows. Just like in the US you can get so many different kinds of food. It's fantastic. Here I've had some of the best Thai and Indian food of my life. Ironically, I'm not really one for Japanese food. Sushi is good, but a lot of the food seems pretty basic. One thing that the Japanese have figured out, though, is curry. Indians and Thai people brought curry here and the Japanese have made their own version of it that I think is great. Curry has been a staple since we got here. We've Indian curry (two kinds), Thai curry (four kinds), and Japanese curry. My life has changed forever.
Oh, I forgot about Yakitori. It's like kabobs. Yakitori means barbecue chicken, it just happens they cook it on a stick. Yakitori is delicious; you have to eat kind of a lot of it to make a meal, though.
So anyway, here are my two favorite places to eat and my favorite place to have a snack. The favorite places to eat are in no particular order. I can't be forced to make that choice.

I'll start with Thai Erawan. My buddy Jordan introduced this place to us the first night we went out. We were very disoriented so he was leading us around. Pretty soon we came to this elevator, which I though was odd because it was basically out on the street. Up to this point it had been my custom to enter a building first, then the elevator, but this is Japan. Sometimes there isn't space for it.
Up there on the third floor you can see some windows. That's the place. I'm guessing they rely on word of mouth because if you didn't know it was there, you never would. Also, at the bottom of the picture you can see the elevator. Don't worry about them, though. The place is famous (at least among the Americans). I'm sure they never hurt for business.There it is, on third floor. (Well, actually, it is the third floor.)

Like I said, the food is awesome. Here I'm having a yellow curry. I don't know why they call it that, but all their curries were just called by a color. Most of them were spicy, but this one was just about the flavor.That thing on Chelsea's plate is a rice paper. It's kind of like a non-fried egg roll with some different flavors. Tasty.
At the counter you get a friendly reminder that you must carry cash in Japan. Most restaurants don't take card.

Next is Coco Curry. I love Coco Curry because of the value as well as the food. Thai Erawan is great, but it's just a hair on the spendy side. Coco specializes in that Japanese curry I was talking about. Delicious. Another nice thing about Coco is that it's about half a block away. Perfect for those crappy weather nights we have here sometimes.
Coco is also interesting in that they really try to cater to an international crowd. I can understand having an English menu, but their is in several languages (which they like to show off).Of course the top is English, second from the bottom is Portuguese, so I could read that too, and the very bottom one is Japanese, so I can almost identify some of the characters. The other thing that says "foreigners come eat here" is that you will find no chopsticks. They serve up the curry with a spoon (you can take one home for only 250 yen). Here's a picture inside. The last place is the snack place. Yakitori. Occasionally you will find these little stands that always have people huddled around them. They are always busy with good reason. It's tasty and cheap. The sign says that everything is 70 yen. That's about 85 cents. Basically, you grab and eat and when you're done you take your sticks to the guy and pay for as much as you ate.
At the yakitori stand they have chicken and pork, but if you're really adventurous you can try some hearts and liver too. I'm not a fan, but they seem to sell. It's not really surprising, though, that the biggest stack there is the chicken stack. Also check out his automated cooking machine. He puts raw meat on a stick and it goes through one side, is automatically dipped in sauce, then passes through the other side, and falls out ready to go. Like I said, you would have to eat a lot to make a meal out of it, but it makes for a great snack.

I'm getting to the point that I'm ready to come home, but I'm definitely going to miss the food.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bachelor for a while....

This trip has been incredible. Over the last four weeks we have been able to see so much cool stuff and eat so much delicious food. I'm really happy that I was able to share it with Chelsea. (Incidentally, the food has left us with a few souvenirs we can't wait to get rid of when we get home.) Unfortunately, it came time for Chelsea to head home. Right now she's on the plane and should be landing in Seattle in about 3 1/2 hours. Despite having to leave our house and our dog it was one of the neatest experiences either of us has ever had. We have felt very fortunate that we got the opportunity to come here. I've often thought that one of the best choices I made in my life was to go to engineering school. This is one opportunity that I wouldn't have had if I had chosen differently.

Our time here has also helped me to further appreciate the best choice I made in my life, marrying Chelsea. There isn't anyone I would have rather had here with me. I always had someone to go to dinner with. Now I have to spend almost 4 weeks one my own....but I'll pull through.
I love you, baby. Thanks for coming to Japan with me.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This Reminds Me of a Scripture...

Here's an interesting article that I came across today:

Basically, many, many lawyers met to decide how best to sue Toyota.

As the title indicates, this reminds me of a scripture:
"Now, it was for the sole purpose to get gain, because they received thier wages according to their emply, therefore, they did stir up the people to riotingsm, and all manner of distrubances and wickedness, that they might have more employ, that they might get money according to the suits which were brought before them;...." Alma 11:20.
The "they" here is lawyers and judges.

It's unfortunate that Toyota is in this mess. It's their fault they are in the spot they're in, but the issue is getting out of hand. Perhaps if the same litigious and entitlement minded environment had existed when other historic recalls had happened (like the Pinto) it would have turned out the same.
As for me, I will still buy Toyotas. Who knows, maybe this will make them a little cheaper.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I've really never been that enticed by sushi. Lots of people say it's delicious and that they enjoy eating it, but I've never really eaten it. My sushi experience amounts to a couple of california rolls at the occasional chinese buffet but I'm sure many sushi lovers would say that that barely counts. In coming to Japan I figured if I was going to really try it I might as well do it in Japan. Tonight we went to Point Sushi here in Yokosuka. It's one of the many "sushi-go-round" places here. I don't know if that's what the locals call it, but that's what us Americans call it. Basically, the sushi is on little plates which ride around the restaurant on little tracks. As it goes by you pull off the ones you want. Here's a picture of our booth's control panel. It's very high tech.

On to the sushi!
The way this place keeps track of what you eat is by how many plates you take. Each plate is worth 100 yen (about $1), and after you eat what you took you put the plate in this slot and it keeps track of your tab. You can see the slot in the bottom of the control panel picture. In the next picture there is a really thick blue plate and a red bowl. The thick blue plate is actually two plates which means that item is 200 yen. The red bowl is something that was ordered by someone else so you shouldn't take it.

That 200 yen thing looks like crab or something. The thing on the red bowl is a seafood salad wrapped in some seaweed or something. The seafood salad was good, but I could do without the green wrapper.
After one or two harmless but tasty little bits I decided to be a little more daring. A little plate came by containing three little squid. I thought, "what the heck?" and I grabbed it. Here I am about to tuck into it.

I'm glad I ate it because now I can say I've done it, but I don't think I'll be doing it again. It was a little too squishy.
We mostly stuck to the tamer stuff, but there was something there for everyone.
Chelsea particularly liked these little sweet potatoes.
They had a delicious honey glaze on them.After we had our fill we sat there for a while watching things go by and taking pictures of some of them. Here are some of them.

This one was pretty tame. Tasty too.

Here is one of my favorites. It had some onion and mayo on top. Tasty.

This one looked like it had bacon on top. I don't know what it was, but I will eat it again.

After the squid I wasn't adventurous enough to try this one.

I already didn't like the green stuff, and the fish eggs just weirded me out.

Lastly we have some octopus. Again, I wasn't brave enough to tackle this one. Maybe next time.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Some More Pics

The first night we got to Japan we were pretty wasted and we just wanted to crash. The next night, however, we were ready to go see some stuff. I took a few pictures and I thought I would leave you with my next installment of Japan photos. Enjoy!

The night before we left my coworker gave me 4 jars of salsa that he and his wife make every year.Knowing I could get chips at the commissary and not wanting to wait for some delicious salsa, I wrapped one of them in bubble wrap to take it with me. You'll all be glad to know that it made it just fine, and is very delicious.

So which is it? Irish or American?Check out this beast!! It's a 70 series Landcruiser. I knew that Toyota sells these in Australia, but I didn't know that they sold them here. They are awesome. Some more pictures of them can be seen in my facebook album, Aussie Style Landcruisers. I wish I could take it home, diesel V8, manual transmission, and all.Here's another cool Landcruiser. As you can see, this one is a street machine. If you were to take it off road, you would lose all that stupid body cladding in the first few miles. Note the extra mirror above the headlight. Most SUVs here have that.Here's a picture of Blue Street (it's name possibly comes frombecause of the blue tiles on the sidewalks). It's a fun area.This is a restaurant called Pepper Lunch. We went there with some friends from the old ward who are stationed here. It's cool because your food comes on this skillet that is still hot, but the food isn't cooked. You basically wait until it's done then start eating. It was delicious. The one in the pic has ham, eggs, rice and some cheese. I got one with beef and rice. This is what Chelsea had at Pepper Lunch.After dinner we walked around some of the shops in the area. There are tons of shops around. I like walking through them even though I can't read anything on the packages. Most of the malls have a grocery store built into them and all the grocery stores have delicious looking food out all ready to eat as well as great bakeries. If you get tired of Japanese food you can always stop by the Burger King for a good old flame broiled Whopper. This is down on Blue Street.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Flight

It seems that whenever I fly somewhere I like to take a picture of the airplane. Here is the 777 that took me to Japan. Airplanes are a marvel of modern technology. The airplane is a piece of art, and no matter how many times I do it, I love it. Flying for 10 hours only increases my appreciation of the concept. It is astounding that you can get into a tube in Seattle and only 10 hours later emerge from the tube on another continent. We as Americans do a great job of taking this sort of thing from granted. Not only do we want to be sped to our destination at breakneck speed, but we want two meals along the way, not to mention snacks. I must admit, though, the movies made the time go very quickly.
The seat I got was the isle seat on the last row of the left side of the plane. It was perfect. I don't mind sitting in the back. There's nobody looking at me when I stand up. (Speaking of standing up, the guy in front of my stood for at least half the flight.)

One thing about the flight that I wasn't really prepared for was that we were not going to fly at night. We followed the sun as it tried to escape around the horizon. Of course, we didn't fly due west. We actually flew over the Bearing Sea. Not that you could see it, though. At 38,000 feet we were well above the storms and clouds that make Deadliest Catch a hit series. Unfortunately, that means you don't get to see much. This is what it looked like:
Not much to see but some deep blue sky and cloud cover. You can see a little water down towards the bottom of the picture.

Some ice crystals on the window were a friendly reminder of the not so friendly environment outside:
At some points during the flight, the display at my seat indicated that the temperature outside was a withering -70°F.

I'm glad it only takes 10 hours to travel halfway around the world. This is already shaping up to be a great experience.