Posted by: aitzko | December 11, 2009

I eat raw shrimp, among other things.

Yesterday was awesome!  It was funny to be so excited to come to Japan, and then to be doing something as mundane as laundry.  But, it absolutely needed to get done, and I’m glad it did!  I met up with Christine after work, and we went to the Asakusa area of Tokyo.  There’s all these little shops and stores selling all kinds of souvenirs, so we wandered up and down for a while.  It seems that the theme of my trip is becoming cats.  Cats everywhere!  In  Bali, it seemed to me like a crazy cat lady must have come and said, “What an adorable cat sculpture!” and then told all her friends, and the Balinese caught on that cats sell.  But here, in Tokyo, there are zillions of little cats with their paws raised.  Apparently, if the right paw is raised, they’re welcoming guests or customers.  If the left paw is raised, it’s inviting luck, money, and fortune.  If both paws are raised, it’s both!

We also wandered up to a gorgeous temple, and took lots of pictures.  It was really cool to be walking around Tokyo, but it was so cold!  (The girls are bringing my winter clothes with them, so I have a very limited and not-very-warm wardrobe.)  So after wandering for a while, we made our way to Starbucks, and got some hot chocolate and sat down to catch up on the last oh, nine months. 🙂

After Starbucks, Christine and I met up with her friend Hajime, and his friend, who’s name I can’t remember or pronounce, but she was very sweet. 🙂  Hajime speaks excellent English, so communication wasn’t a problem.  Um, also, by the way?  Christine is REALLY GOOD at Japanese!  I was suuuuper impressed.  So Hajime showed us his favorite sushi restaurant in all of Japan.  It’s a teensy, hole-in-the-wall kind of place, but the food was awesome!

Now, I said that I’d try all sorts of things while I”m here.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a particularly adventurous eater, and of all things, the food I dislike the most is seafood.  So being in Japan was going to require some serious branching out.  But I tried almost everything!  I had salmon and tuna and all that, but I also had scallops, and eel, and squid, and RAW SHRIMP.  Christine and I took pictures to commemorate the occasion, and so I’d have photographic proof when no one believed me.  The only place where I drew the line (and Petrie as well) was at the sea urchin.  But it really was pretty delicious.  They just kept giving us more!  There was sake, and this kind of seafood-pudding thing, and green tea, and fish dipped in miso…I actually got pretty stuffed.  The only thing that really freaked me out was when the chef gave this kind of soup to Hajime and his friend, that had the entire shrimp in it.  Like, antennae and everything.  Shudder.

But the food was great, and the conversation was awesome, and I had an absolute blast!  It was partly great just to see Christine again, and meeting her friends was fantastic.  They were really cool, and we got to chatting with the other people in the tiny restaurant as well.  They wanted to know how far Boston was from Philly – most people I have met on this trip so far have trouble grasping just how big the US is.  Haha, my roommate Meinir was shocked to find out that Wales was approximately the size of Massachusetts.

I am attempting to build up my Japanese vocabulary so I don’t feel completely helpless.  I can now say thank you, good morning, yes, no, and that’s about it.  I have some work to do.  Christine and Hajime were teaching me words, but I have to repeat them over and over if I’m going to remember them!  I promptly forgot how to say see you later and chopsticks (unrelated) but I’ll ask Christine again tonight.

Today I’m going to go exploring around some museums, and we’ll meet up with Cait and Moser in the evening!  Can’t wait!  This is going to be fun. 🙂


  1. Now, Asakusa I’ve been to. Felt like such a tourist trap compared to where I usually am in Japan.

  2. I’ve eaten a sea urchin before! It was on a boat off the coast of Croatia. I don’t really remember what it tasted like, but it wasn’t too bad.

    I didn’t know about your blog until I saw the link in your gchat status this morning, so I’ve spent the last hour catching up on all of your adventures. The trip sounds amazing, Amanda. I can’t believe how entrenched you got with the locals in Bali.

    Anyway, I will now spend more time at work reading about the rest of your time in Japan and Thailand. See you when you get back! Can’t wait to hear more about it.

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