Exploring Hachinohe-Squid City

Hachinohe is the nearest big city to where we are living.  Now, the actually town where the base is has a population around the size of the entire island we just left, and is probably the same size around as the whole island, so it seems like a major city right here.  But it's not.  It's also considered a rural area.  Trust me, you are not in the middle of nowhere if you have fast food (the island had NONE!  except the Subway on the base of course). 

Who the heck needs fast food when you have access to all this!  These first pictures are from the fish market in Hachinohe.  Actually, it is more than a fish market, but most of it is fish and seafood (even the weird ones).  In fact, Hachinohe is known as squid city.  It supplies the majority of the squid used in Japan.  This market also has a food court, like a mall, and other little shops.  I love that the base takes these tours out because we felt comfortable enough to come back here the following weekend.

Take a look at all the cool things I found.  If I can remember what the picture is of (we had a Japanese guide to help us and translate), I will let you know.  Some things I never found out exactly what they were.

I loved that you could sample here.  Of course you had to use chopsticks to grab your sample, but you could still have a sample.
 DSC02005 DSC02006 
Crazy looking fish.  I think these are actually the same kind of fish.
DSC02007 DSC02008 
I can't even begin to figure this one out, but I am guessing they eat these little lizard looking things.  YUCK! (in my opinion)
DSC02009 
Do you know what's in here?
DSC02020
If you guessed SCALLOP you are correct!

Some shrimp:
DSC02010 
All kinds of crabs:
DSC02011 DSC02012 
More fish:
DSC02013 DSC02014 
Squid, both already cut up and then whole.
DSC02015 DSC02016
Any ideas what this might be:
DSC02017 
This is a sea pineapple.  I had to ask on this one because it looked so cool.

This lady was working on a massive tuna.  She was cutting it up for sushi use.
DSC02018 
Here you can see the raw fish comes ready to eat (pre-sliced) from the market.  This is known as sashimi (which I know many of you know about because sushi places are so common in the US now).
DSC02019
More fish
DSC02021 
Octopus!  This is with a flopped head.  I only know about head flopping (I love to say that) because we lived on the island.  Basically you flip the head inside out to kill it. 
DSC02022 
More crabs!  Look at those guys.  WOW!
DSC02023 DSC02025 
More scallops and more fish.
DSC02026 DSC02027
This was so awesome.  He is filling these little molds with pancake batter.  The molds are shaped like fish.  Inside goes red bean paste or custard.  After a sample, I was hooked.
DSC02028 DSC02029
We bought some of each...and ate them very quickly.
DSC02032
I love how cute everything looks here. 
DSC02030 
They sell lots of little prepackaged gourmet looking cakes and cookies.
DSC02031  
After the fish market we were taken to see the train station so we would know how to take the bullet train to Tokyo.  Attached was a little shopping area.  The tour guide explained to us about the floats since there was one on display here.  They are very elaborate and tell a story.  They have pieces that open up and fold out, and each level is another part of the story.
DSC02033 
This was too funny not to take a picture of.  They have monkeys up where we are (not like running in our neighbor hoods, but I am guessing in certain areas nearby) and they are mean little monkeys.  So I thought this was a nice mean looking display of the little guy.
DSC02034 
Here is the display from the front.
DSC02035
Next up we went to a Shinto Shrine.  This was really neat.  The Japanese tour guides taught us the proper protocol for washing before entering all the way to the front where you make your wish.
DSC02039
Here is the washing station.  It is very complex and involves quite a few steps for purifying yourself to enter.  Shinto is a religion based on nature.  I thought it was interesting to learn it does not conflict with Buddhism, which is the primary religion here, so someone could be Buddhist and practice some Shinto traditions.  I look forward to learning more about this.  I took a class in Japanese and Chinese religions in my undergrad program and it is neat now to see how these really are practiced.
DSC02065
After purifying, you have to enter the shrine through the middle on the bridge.
 DSC02040 DSC02041 DSC02043
Here we are approaching the main entrance to the building.  Here you have another set of steps to do in order to properly ring the bells and make your prayer (or wish).
DSC02045 
Then you may enter.  Unlike the Buddhist temple, you could take pictures inside here.
DSC02047 DSC02048 DSC02051 DSC02052 DSC02053 
Then we spent some time walking around the grounds outside.  Very cool looking.
DSC02054 DSC02055 DSC02056 
These are so cute.  I see them everywhere now so I am planning to find out more about these.
DSC02058 DSC02059 
I am also unsure about these.  Maybe someone just thought it was cute to dress these statues up, or maybe it really means something, but either way, they were really cute.
DSC02060 DSC02061
These red gates here are called Torii gates and they are the type of gates used in Shinto shrines, but seen many other places as well (on the base too).
 DSC02062 DSC02064 
Here is a close up of the purifying station before entering, and the pond just behind it.
DSC02065 DSC02066 
Last stop for the day was for lunch.  We went to the Lapia Mall.  Yay, a mall!  It is so nice to have a mall around.  Malls here are a little different than the US.  Usually there is a full grocery store inside.  Plus, I love all the different food options to look at.
DSC02070 
There are bakeries galore around here.  Look at all the goodies!
DSC02071 DSC02072 
Seriously...how cute are these?!?!
DSC02073 
The sushi looked amazing!
DSC02074 
These are the donuts from Mr. Donut.  They are too cute.  We decided to buy one each to eat after lunch.
DSC02075 DSC02076 DSC02077 
Speaking of lunch, we both got sushi.
DSC02078 
From left to right, my lunch included: tuna, scallop, raw shrimp, squid, cooked shrimp, egg, cucumber, and daikon, which is a giant white radish, and by giant I mean it can pass as a deadly weapon.  All of the sushi was amazing.  I even managed to eat it all with chopsticks.  I am starting to get good...finally!

This mall features a giant arcade complete with a little roller coaster.  I was just impressed with the ice cream vending machine.
DSC02079 
But after looking at it in amazement, I entered to check out the craziness that was inside.  Here you can see the track for the roller coaster.
DSC02080 
We still had a little time, so we checked out the grocery stores.  I loved looking at all the mushrooms.
DSC02081 
The grapes here look good too.
DSC02082 
Any idea what this is?
DSC02083
If you guessed Dragonfruit, you are correct!

Well, that was it for the tour of Hachinohe.  Later that night we attended the major festival for the town where the base it located, and the parade went right past the base so it was easy to get to.  My next post will cover the festival, with the amazing floats and insane Japanese street foods.

QUESTIONS:  Did you know what kind of shell scallops come in?  Have you ever seen or tried a dragon fruit?  Do you like squid?

6 comments:

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

Love all the seafood and the cute baked goods. We live very close to a Japanese grocery store, and I love looking at the bakery section. Plus, it's very tasty, and not too sweet, which I like.

Mer said...

love squid! i do know the scallop shell :) i have not tried dragon fruit, but i probably would!

i liked all the crab photos :)

Gina; The Candid RD said...

Look at all this fresh fish!! I am so jealous. I can't even imagine this here where we live. Crazy. I do not know what type of shell a scallop lives in, but I do know that I LOVE scallops! And Squid? not so much. Too chewy.

Rebecca from Chow and Chatter said...

fun tour love Japan and the shinto shrines and temples are so much fun hope you get to visit Kyoto one day :-) but a long way south of you

sophia said...

Wow I love that face on the bread!!! There is a name for it but I forgot..it's based on a famous character.
And with fresh seafood like that, I wouldn't miss McD's at all! But how on earth did Subway make it there and not McD? So baffling to me...

Special K said...

Okay....how can you NOT be overstimulated! I am just reading this ONE post. Things I loved were those cute mean looking monkeys, and of course, the doughnuts (CARB-A-HOLIC, I guess). I know it feels like traveling right now and everything is a bit new and chaotic. I am sure that after sometime, you will be able to say which crabs are the tastiest with sake and which ones with chocolate cake.
PEACE to you in the adapatation process!

Post a Comment