Eating Chinese in Japan, Japanese in Japan

It seems Chinese is popular here in Japan.  At least where we are, there are tons of Chinese restaurants.  I actually do not like the American version, but actual Chinese food, in China, is really good.  Now, it is not Ryan's favorite, but he was brave enough to give it a try one night.  I am sure there are better places around than this, but we were at the mall after furniture shopping and figured Chinese would not be that hard to navigate.
The menus here are in Japanese, occasionally in English, and always in picture format.  They offer displays out front, and pictures in a printed menu.  I knew right away that I wanted what looked like sweet and sour shrimp.  This was really good.
Ryan was not really sure what to order, so he went with this mixed basket of fried things.  He wasn't really a fan.  I think some was unusual or unidentifiable meats.  He usually goes veggie at Chinese places, but this looked good in the picture.  Oh well!  At least he tried.
As a side, we ordered some of these.  They are taro fries, and taste a little like sweet potatoes.  At least they appeared to be taro fries!  For all I know this is some crazy tuber I have never seen before.
We were in the mall after all, so a trip to Mister Donut.
This is the next best this to a Dunkin' Donuts, but one thing that is nice is that the donut portions are smaller than the US, and I think that is a good thing.
Another fun experience we had was going to the movies.  This was locally, so it was an actual Japanese movie theater.  We saw Transformers 3 in 3D.  Yes, it was in English.  I am sure everyone is curious about that.  Animated films are almost always dubbed, but the American movies are shown in both Japanese subtitles and dubbed.  You just have to be careful when you purchase tickets to make sure you are going to a movie in English.  The other neat thing about the movies here is that you pick your seats.  Just like if you went to a theater for a play.  It was interesting to see assigned seating.  Even better was the customer service.  Despite broken English (which was 100% understandable and I was thankful for that), she was able to tell me that the seats I wanted were way too close and I would be better off about 3 rows back.  Boy was she right!  Any closer and the 3D would have been unbearable.  Can't wait to go see more movies there.  We also have a theater on base, but I think it is more fun to be out in the local community.

At this theater they offer the normal movie treats, including candies.
They also offer some less traditional fare, like caramel corn and shave ice.  I had lots of fun with my shave ice, but I was worried in the dark I would wind up spilling this on me and staining myself.  Luckily, I was able to eat this without too much trouble.
Leaving the theater we spotted the vending machine.  These are huge around here.  Just about every place you go to has a vending machine.  Some things are just too tempting to pass on trying, so Ryan bought one of these.  I can't believe how bright this can is.  Do they even still sell Mello-Yello in the US?  Seriously, there is nothing mellow about this can.
Well we gave Chinese a try, so we thought we should also try a traditional Japanese restaurant.
Since this is a traditional Japanese restaurant you take your shoes off when you enter.  Then you place them in a locker and take the key with you to your table.
While they offer the traditional seating where you are on the floor, we sat right up with the sushi guy in these little chairs.  There is a small area for your legs below.  Not the same as an American table, but you can sit with your legs under the counter top.
We ordered a few things to try.

We couldn't pass on the edamame.  Again, served cold, but still very good.  Not sure why in America it is served hot, but it seems the traditional way is to serve it cold.
I had some calamari.  This was really good and very fresh.
We split these pretty little cheese squares.  This was cheese in a wonton wrapper and served on a strawberry sauce.  Definitely different, but definitely good.
Ryan had a dragon roll (or I think it was called a dragon roll).  You just can't beat the sushi around here.
Last up, we shared these grilled rice balls.  I believe inside was diakon (Japanese radish), but it could have been another vegetable.
It was a great meal and I am sure we will go back here again.  Now, you remember that we have no shoes.  Wondering what to do when you go to the bathroom?

They have slippers waiting inside that you use.
So glad because I didn't knew what to expect and I didn't want to be barefoot.  They even had a kids pair.

Before I finish this post I wanted to share one more funny thing I discovered at the mall.
Yes, this is an apron for sale, complete with the human anatomy on display.  Seriously, the Japanese have way too much fun!  Of course somethings I am sure I will never understand.
No need to miss Starbucks at the mall.  They have a Tully's!  Actually, there is Starbucks served on base, but it is way more fun to go to a coffee house in the local community.
 QUESTIONS:  Have you ever eaten at a traditional Japanese restaurant?  Do you like Chinese food/What's your favorite Chinese food?  Ever heard of Mister Donut?  Ever heard of Tully's?


Astra Libris said...

I just love every one of your posts - I read them sitting on the edge of my seat, literally! :-) I am so excited for you, and so grateful for the incredible glimpse into your new world and new experiences!!

Ameena said...

I found it really hard to eat in Japan when I visited last year...there was just nothing in English! And being that I only eat veggies and a bit of seafood I had a really tough time.

It's so great to get back to a country I love via your blog!

sophia said...

Loved this post, Melinda! I'm planning to write about Japanese-Chinese and Korean-Chinese food for my school newspaper column. Oh, and there IS still mello-yellow here! I saw an ad at a bus stand for that!

Gina; The Candid RD said...

mm, I love traditional Japanese food (and traditional Chinese food). I think I've had both, but really, what do I know?! I could have been fooled, easily!
That apron is classic. Oh my gosh. I want one!
Thanks for all of your wonderful and thoughtful comment son my blog lately, Melinda. I've appreciated all of your input on the subjects I discuss, as always!

Nicole, RD said...

Traditional Chinese is near IMPOSSIBLE to find in the US. I loved having it in Singapore! And I soooo appreciated the photos, like you said. :) I've had edamamae hot and cold, and I actually prefer it cold. I didn't know til know which was was traditional, though! I love the bare feet -- we ran into that in Thailand and some in Singapore, as well. But one pair of sandals to share in the bathroom? Ehhhhh.!!! I guess, when in Rome :)

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