Ah the Land of the Rising Sun-- not really sure why it's called that-- the sun doesn't come up until about two in the afternoon (might be a slight exaggeration) and it sets at about four-- I've said it before and it bears repeating here; there are MANY countries around the world that still feel like you're in the United States when you walk through their neighborhoods but not here.
Everything reminds you this ain't Kansas-- and I mean that in a really good way.
From the tiny cars and trucks to the architecture my favorite country outside of the good ol' USA (and trust me it's close-- one too many Snookie's in America) is a blend of the future and the past.
A LOT of it seems like it's out of the 1960s back in the states-- supermarkets open at 10am (can you picture that back home?), and people are ALWAYS dressed well. Nobody walks around in sweat pants or pajama pants or even a baseball hat. I've not seen one single Wangster and the Japanese equivalent is the Bon Jovi boys-- young men with legs that look like twigs with Jon Bon Jovi style hair. But at least they are still polite.
|Veronica is 7 feet tall in Japan, must be the altitude.|
|That's a fully grown man in front of her in line there.|
At a local supermarket-- the amazing Piago-- which is two floors of everything supermarket, food court, food stands, kiosks and a full on department store on the second floor I arrived at opening (10am) and decided to get a bite of breakfast.
First stop, a little food stand called MICKEY'S which enticed me over as he was making what appeared to be a giant OMELET on a grill right in front of me. When asked, he explained that this was being prepared for a noodle dish served later and that breakfast options included soup with a lot of stuff in it.
The next stall over, McDonald's. Back home I don't eat there, here a Bacon Egg and Cheese biscuit would be just about right-- only they don't serve breakfast. You can get a hamburger, a chicken sandwich or anything else on their menu, just no breakfast.
Veronica had gotten a hot sweet potato from Lawson's 100 Yen Store (more about that in another post-- also a great store) and decided to sit and eat it while it was still hot. I opted for a bakery stand that had a few breakfasty looking items-- including a twisted kind of roll that had bacon in it. It looked just a little greasy so I opted for a ham and egg roll.
Or at least that's what it looked like to me.
It was actually a Cod, cream cheese and some king of gello potato roll. The thing in the wrapper is a snack food that tastes like corn on the cob that a demo lady handed to me as I walked by.
I don't know if the Cod was raw or cooked-- and it was certainly an interesting breakfast choice, just not the one I would have made. Put some apples and cream cheese in this amazing bread roll and you've have a nice danish.
The store is similar in some ways to Supermarkets we have back home, but with a bunch of independent vendors set up selling their wares inside. I love looking at the packaging of even the most pedestrian of items-- the graphic design is amazing-- and the store is bustling with shoppers who are patient enough to allow a guy to keep stopping to look at the packaging of everything from candy bars to sponges.
The second floor is a full on department store-- with clothes, shoes, household items, a full newstand loaded with Manga, art supplies (every store has them) and TOYS down in the back. There were aisle after aisle of Voltron, Ultraman, Anapanman and I even spotted two Batmobiles in what looked like old matchbook style cars-- a Keaton one and a Bale Tumbler model.
I opted for an Ultraman magazine that came with a pink Ultraman figure and an Ultraman villain from the new movie. Both very cool.
More soon, and check my Tumblr blog in about 12 hours for a load of pictures from my travels around the city-- the link is at the top of the page.