Clean and spacious stations!
Time schedules! (For those of you who don't know, I miss this greatly since Boston's MBTA offers no time schedule; at least for the line I use)
Beautiful and modern trains! (Something the MBTA lacks as well)
Spacious inside with lots of bars and such to hang on to when it's crowded!
Gotta love love love the train system here in Yokohama/Japan. They offer ultimate convenience as well as a premium experience; I didn't realize this until I started living in Boston. I must have took all of this for granted for 18 years.
For those of you who don't know, I have been constantly updating my twitter feed @jpinsider!
Now to the main topic of today.
Thanks to California (San Diego), I was introduced to numerous sophisticated and legitimate Japanese supermarkets!
MITSUWA, NIJIYA and MARUKAI being the main ones. I loved them! It reminded me of grocery shopping in Japan. You can find any kind of Japanese food product you can think of at all these stores. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to step into Marukai since I fell in love with Nijiya, but I must say, the selection available at both Nijiya and Mitsuwa is outstanding. Ready-made bentos, thin sliced meats, pickled vegetables, frozen foods, snacks, bread, alcohol and the list goes on.
Now that I am back in Boston/Cambridge, MA, I have lost that privelage. The closest Mitsuwa is apparently in New Jersey...The one and only Japanese "mini" supermarket in Boston is on Newbury street, "Cherry Mart". It's tiny and quite pricey but it is a place to go when I am in need (349 Newbury St).
I've also been to another small but legitimate Japanese supermarket located in
Brookline called Japanese Village Mart (200 Washington St), but
it's too far for me; if you're close, definitely check it out!
Some other alternatvies for a Japanese supermarket may be going to a Chinese supermarket (e.g. C-MART) located in China Town and such, but I question the cleanliness; therefore have stopped visiting. I just don't enjoy the experience there as a consumer.
Recently I've observed many Japanese products being available at large retail chains like Shaws. I've seen Japanese green tea (from O-i-ocha), pre-packaged yakisoba, pre-packaged udon/soba, soy sauce, rice...Doesn't fully satisfy my Japanese heart but definitely a minor option.
(e.g. Yakisoba from Sapporo ichiban)
I used to buy pre-made Japanese products to consume, but now that I don't have
that privelage I've turned to pure, fully homemade Japanese dishes! (Below is my
chahan, Japanese fried rice) Let me know if you would like recipes of this dish or any other dish :)
Remember, I'm more active on twitter as for now. :D
^The ginormous bridge connecting the city to Coronado Island. コロナド島へのエントランス。Coronado island was a great place to take pictures (visit the Hotel del Coronado!), eat at small local restaurants, visiting the extraordinary beach and the small cute shops.
^ What are those things lying around? Wild seals! Children's pool in La Jolla. I personally hate watching sea animals in the aquarium so this was a relief. We were able to stay around watching the seals happily, naturally, chilling around for a long time. Guilt free!
I'm still here; I'm tweeting!
I update my tweets/instagram almost everyday! Will start blogging again once the "new" JPInsider is completed! ;) teehee
Lovin' San Diego! Super Japanese friendly! Why? Japanese Businesses! People are super open and welcoming! So many activities here at day and night! Exploring opportunities! My homesick symptoms have not been showing here in San Diego. In Boston, I cry every week.
So for those of you who haven't been checking out my tweets and instagrams....Here's a preview!!!
@ Sushi Ota. Best sushi I've had in my life! (Including the times I've had it in Japan)
@ Torrey Pines. Perfecto for hiking! ハイキングにおすすめなトリーパインズ。
@ Balboa Park. Remember San Diego is sister cities with Yokohama? バルボアパークにて。さすが姉妹都市。
@ L&L. Best Hawaiian fast food I've ever had. Super recommend. エル＆エル。おすすめのハワイアンファーストフード。
@ Balboa Park
@ Yakyudori. Thought I was in Yokohama for a second. 野球鶏というやきとり屋さん。てっきり横浜にいるかとボケてしまったぐらい。
@ work. Loving my internship! 仕事場じゃい。
Colour contacts in Japan....HUGE
I used to work in the colour contact industry back when I was in HS. Back then, it was only me, my coworkers, and some other girls on the street wearing "Beauty contact lenses". Basically, contact lenses that define the coloured bit of your eye. When the coloured part of your eye looks bigger you...
1) look younger (children have a bigger coloured bit of the eye compared to adults, making them look 'cuter')
2) your face looks slimmer (other attributes of your face seem smaller)
3) you tend to look better in photographs since your eyes are more defined
...benefits benefits benefits!
....These benefits are appealing and amazing to me, but now those contact manufacturers are going a little overboard. They make 2mm diameter contact lenses. Yup, you see some girls who look like ALIENS cause their iris is so big.
So when purchasing "define" contacts, make sure you try them on first to see if they fit you, and make sure you don't buy one which defines the coloured bit of your eye too much!
If you want to give it a try, but don't want something so intense like the picture above, I strongly recommend Acuvue's Define Series. It's a safe bet! :) You can purchase them here: Contact Lens Exchange (For US/Japan/Korean/Chinese buyers)
If you are a step ahead and are looking for Japanese colour/design/extreme/define contacts which look like the picture above go here! This company delivers to the US for only $15(USD) charge, great service as well. When I ordered, the contacts came in only 2 DAYS....They also sent me 2 packs of contact solution for free :) : 007 Contact Lenses
Personally, I do not like the contacts that Japan manufactures since they do not look "natural". Being Japanese with boring brown eyes, I've always wanted beautiful green or blue eyes. When wearing colour contacts, I want them to look as natural as it could be! I want people to ask me "Huh? Are they your real eyes?" , not "Oh, wow your lenses look cool". Through experience, I've found that the Freshlook colour contacts (especially the colour blended series) are the most natural looking, beautiful colour contacts that I have ever purchased. I love them! Go here to go to their website: http://www.freshlookcontacts.com/
I strongly recommend Green and Hazel for people with dark brown eyes like me! :) Hope it helps for those of you looking for lenses! Ask me any questions!
Steve Jobs, ありがとう
As many of you may know, Steve Jobs has passed away. I have been using Apple's products from who knows when. I remember his colourful but bulky desktop PC's in 4th grade...I remember the gray box with the rainbow apple logo....
This news was terrifying to me. Just shocking.
I searched on Japanese websites, and read some of their articles (e.g. MSN), and was very disappointed in the content of the article. Two sentences noting the fact that he has passed away, and a few more paragraphs noting his 'products'. Steve Jobs has left us more than just his 'products'.
Japanese cherry blossoms are transient.
Once they bloom, the flowers only last for up to a week, or a week an a half. So make sure you are on alert if you are in Japan during April and May, because there will be amazing cherry blossoms blooming everywhere. There are roads full of cherry blossoms..It's like going into a tunnel of just cherry blossoms. How romantic is that?
As cherry blossoms only bloom for a short period of time, the Japanese tradition is to celebrate the blooming by having picnics and parties under the trees - "Hanami" (花見) : To watch flowers.
People who are organizing these parties go to get a spot under the best trees very early in the morning as there is high competition! If you go observe these parties, you will see happy Japanese business men who are usually serious, joyful families, and teens just having a great time. All age groups will be at parks for just one reason; to celebrate!
So thinking about such great memories I have from sakura (桜; cherry blossoms), I painted...
Please keep in mind that this is the 3rd painting that I have drawn since 7th grade. So forgive me for the roughness.
The quote written on the right: 明日ありと思う心の仇桜(ashita ari to omou kokoro no ada-zakura). It is a Japanese saying meaning people and people's hearts tend to rely on the fact that there is a tomorrow, but people should not think that way as you never know what could happen. Cherry blossoms like I said only last for a very short period of time. It is also very very fragile. Strong winds and rain could easily blow the blossoms away after blossoming for just a day. So we should always remember not to take for granted the time we are given. There is not always a tomorrow. :)
Sharing my drawings
Sunflowers and the Japanese kanji, "chikara."
力 (chikara) is : Force, power, energy.
"Sunflowers have shown to be selective in absorbing metal, they were able to absorb heavy metals while leaving others － such as iron －behind. This increased their ability to quickly absorb the radionuclides. And, once they have absorbed the radionuclides,the sunflowers are then stabilized, ashed or vitrified and the resulting radioactive waste is stored in a disposal facility."
Sunflowers may give hope and power to the radiation problems Japan is facing.
Pizza = Luxury?
Boston = College town = College students = Late night munchies = PIZZA!
I decided to compare pizza prices and sizes here in Boston and in Japan...
The maximum size Domino's pizza offers in Japan is the XL size pizza which is 48cm (18 inches).
The regular pepperoni pizza (aka "The American Special" on their website) only offers an L size (36cm/14inches), and is...2,520 JPY (32 USD)!!!!
I also went to Domino's pizza website for delivery in Boston...A pepperoni pizza of 14 inches is only 13 USD + tip (994 JPY + tip)!
Other than that in Japan, there were L size pizzas (14 inches) that cost up to 4000 JPY (52 USD!!!!!!). But keep in mind that there are really.... various kinds of pizza..Some pizzas that you have probably never SEEN in your life!
Check it out for yourself -> Domino's Pizza Japan's MENU
As I kid I don't remember eating much pizza at all...I guess it was something luxurious! :D I would not pay that much to feed my kids when I can get much cheaper and better food outside in restaurants. :P
Using my US dollars and exchanging them to Japanese yen this summer while 1 dollar being equivalent to 75 yen average. Taking into account that a bottle of coke is 150 yen and a McDonalds meal is around 600 yen to 800 yen, I had to prepare myself to see my money fly away!
If you want to take out money from your BANK OF AMERICA account (I'm not sure for other accounts!), go to your nearby post office and use the ATM!
Convenience stores which are located anywhere in Japan also have ATMs. However for some reason, I could not withdraw cash from those.
Post offices are everywhere in Japan as well so don't you worry!