Monday, May 17, 2010

A Day Off

On the way back home from Nara, it was decided that Sunday would be a free day -- a day for study, but mostly, a day to let our feet recover from all that walking around. We were very thankful for this change of plans, as our syllabus originally had us going to Kyoto on Sunday.

Steph and I slept in until 8:30! It felt very good to get lots of extra sleep. We attempted to do laundry and had a heck of a time trying to decipher the washing machines. Eventually, I think we succeeded, and afterward we both air-dried and machine-dried our clothes. Since machine-drying isn't very common here and is energy-using, you must pay for it at JCMU. The center also has a clothes-drying room, which was really interesting to use. Basically, there are bars across the windows, allowing the outside air to come freely into the space, and dry the hanging clothes faster.

At around one-ish, we left with a group of classmates, walking to the strip mall and supermarket. It was a beautiful day outside and very warm... upon finally reaching the supermarket, we found it was very much like the Japanese version of a Walmart... only busier and filled with things we couldn't read! With some difficulty, we found most of the food we needed.

It's interesting to note that rice -- which we bought -- comes in 5-lb bags at the smallest and is also very expensive. It was the most pricey thing we bought! On the other hand, certain Japanese foods and ingredients, which we are accustomed to paying a good deal for in the U.S., are often relatively inexpensive. Fruits, too, such as apples, are also quite pricey.

Loaded with groceries and hungry, we spotted a taiyaki dealer outside the supermarket!


At one-hundred yen apiece, we grabbed four, and gobbled them down on a bench outside.

Steph and I know almost no conversational Japanese, but between asking the cashier if the store took Visa and telling the taiyaki vendor we wanted four azuki bean taiyaki cakes, we managed alright. There was a whole lot of broken Japanese, broken English, and hand gestures going on, that's for sure.

We took a relaxing walk home along Lake Biwa, and got to JCMU at last! Here's a picture of our haul from the supermarket:

Shopping Haul!

That night, the class got together and made kitsune udon for everyone to eat. Steph and I made onigiri with the rice, nori, and furikake that we purchased. It was a tasty dinner! As the class ate and laughed, Oba-Sensei detailed how he was in a few episodes of Power Rangers... or something. It was quite the night.

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