Japanese Malls, Food and a Car

I have been taking pictures of just about everything I can around here, and it seems I have some pictures building up.  Here are some neat and random things we have discovered in Japan.

First off, they sell hot canned beverages in vending machines.  These machines carry both hot and cold drinks.  After looking at this a few times Ryan finally went for it and bought a hot coffee drink.  Turns out these are pretty good...and really hot.
Living on the island we did not have an actual mall, so the idea of going to the mall is very exciting for us.  Not that we need or want to buy anything but we want to see what they have available (because it is interesting) and we want to people watch.  One thing I noticed about the Japanese mall (the one closest to us) is that there is always something on the weekends to entertain kids.  Here are fuzzy animal characters posing for pictures with kids.  The Japanese know how to make anything happy.  Just stick a fuzzy, cuddly animal on something and you really start to feel happy.  I now know why they are always smiling...everything is just so darn cute around here.
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The food court is upstairs, but in this area just below is where the characters were posing.
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Ever had a real, fresh cream puff?  Apparently I had not either until we stumbled upon Beard Papa's.
This place makes the cream and the puffs right there and the cream filling actually tastes like cream.  Like a little like fresh ice cream.  They fill them right there.  This may be the best cream puff I have ever had.
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Next we peeked into the local movie theater.  They do show movies in English that are subtitled, so we will be able to go to a real movie theater from time to time.  I thought their menu offerings were cool.  You can get regular popcorn or kettle corn.
For lunch we had...
Italian!  Yes, the mall has an Italian restaurant (actually 2), so we decided to try it out.  Ryan ordered a combo meal.  They love their combo meals here.  So he had spaghetti with meat sauce and a small pizza.
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I had pasta with tomatoes.
Then we walked around some more to explore.  It is amazing how many hours you can spend just wandering around looking at the Japanese goods.

I love too that some of the malls have grocery stores.  I am a huge mushroom fan, so when I saw all these varieties I got really excited for what my future cooking might hold.
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Shelves of mushrooms!
After exploring inside, we headed out to the parking lot to look at some tents with traditional Japanese items.
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It was a really fun day, as strange as that might seem just hanging out at a mall, but trust me, it was fun.

We also tried out another Indian restaurant called Delhi.
Always nice to munch on some papadam.
Ryan and I split two dishes.  Couldn't tell you what they were but one had paneer (Indian cheese) and the other was a veggie curry.
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No Indian meal would be complete without rice and bread.  It was interesting that it was plain white rice, not basmati.  I guess if that is the rice the locals like it would be best to serve that.
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After another week passed, and we were getting more settled in, we ventured back out and somehow, unintentionally, wound up at the mall.  See, we were looking for food, while at the same time heading to the Pacific Ocean.  It is not that far away so we wanted to check it out.  But we were hungry, and we were driving and eventually we found the signs for the mall, so we just went there for lunch.

This time we visited the bakery at the grocery store.  It is in the grocery store, but it's own free standing vendor.  They had some amazing baked goods.
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I loved that they served these as whole loafs or half pieces.
The bread was awesome looking.  We even bought some to take home, which made excellent grilled cheese sandwiches.
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Can you believe they have bagels?  Awesome!
Again, something for the kids.  This weekend it was little lego type sets that you could buy and then sit and assemble.  These were big models of the robot type things.
We sat down nearby and watched the kids while we ate lunch.  I had a slice of shrimp pizza and a small chocolate chip scone.  The Japanese loved their baked goods, but they are not nearly as sweet as in the US.  I was surprised when I bit into this scone, but I still liked it.
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Ryan had some pizza too, and then he picked up this thing.  We think it had taro chunks inside with some cream.  Definitely different, but good.
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During our exploring I found Japanese Campbell's.
I have a feeling this place, Karin, will be my favorite place for dessert.
Look at the fun options (haha colors) for soft serve.  They also offer a variety of fresh juice drinks.
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The reason why I love this place is that it is similar to the ice cream I love from Israel.  They take the fresh fruit and the plain ice cream and press it together so it mixes as it is placed into the cone.  It tastes so fresh.  I love being able to taste the seeds in the raspberry, which is what I have pictured here.
There is no end to the fun with the vending machines.  I even found a Yakult vending machine.  This is a yogurt drink.
Not sure if I mentioned this before, but in Japan they use food models to display the menu items and then you look at those and pick what you want to order.  Here are some restaurants from the mall.  Check out the crazy food models.
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Love the kids meal!
Couldn't leave the mall with out taking a picture of a clothing store.
We also did some shopping in town for furniture and stumbled into a Japanese buffet for dinner.
There was plenty here, and plenty we could not identify.  I just looked for me and what I knew was safe I would pick up.
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I love the little trays for getting foods.  These were my two plates worth that I tried foods from.  Lots of good stuff and some that was just so-so.
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Probably the most fun was the chocolate fountain for dessert.  YUM!
Plus they had fun little cakes too.
Oh yeah, before I forget...I got a car!
Haha, stay off the road cause I'm driving around now.  In Japan, just like England, they drive on the left side of the road and sit on the right.
My "real" car is in storage while we are here.  We weren't allowed to bring it because it would just be too expensive for conversions and inspections.  So, Ryan bought his car like 2 weeks before, and after some searching at the dealerships, I bought this car.  I could not resist something called a fun cargo.  Get it...fun...car...go!  I love it!

QUESTIONS:  Do you ever go to the mall to people watch?  Have you ever driven on the "wrong" side of the road?  What is your favorite Japanese food?


Astra Libris said...

I love all your photos! Absolutely amazing!!!

Kristen (swanky dietitian) said...

Wow, I guess I would have never thought they would have all different types of food like we do..Indian and Italian. Looks great!!!
I love that you are sharing these tidbits..so interesting.

Gina; The Candid RD said...

I had a dream (nightmare!) the other day that I was riding on the wrong side of the road.....strange.
I could look at these pictures all day long! I love the Campbell's soup AND I want you to send me one of those cream puffs :)

Roz @ weightingfor50 said...

HI Melinda. JUST found your blog through your comment on Rebecca's Chow and Chatter. LOVE it and will be back often. Great pictures!!!! Thanks for sharing.

Ameena said...

Beard Papas is a favorite of mine...they actually have one here in LA and in San Fran as well!

The truth is that I didn't really care for Japanese food (mostly because I had no idea what I was ordering!) so my hubby and I seeked our other ethnic restaurants. And that's when we realized that Japan has the most fabulous Indian food! I highly recommend it. :)

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