Dining Japanese Style

Wow, it has been quite some time since I posted.  Not that I need to make excuses or even that it matters what excuse I have for being away from my blog so long, but I did want to say I am sorry and fill everyone in one why I have been absent from the blogging world.  First, if you do not already know, I started working at the WIC office on base.  I absolutely LOVE my job!  But in the meantime we had 2 employees leave (one back to the US and one had a baby) so I have been picking up more hours than usual.  I went from a 20 hour work week to 31 hours most weeks.  It may not seem like a lot, but because I have other jobs it means work spills into my evening hours and into my weekends, which means less time to blog.  I am currently teaching 3 classes between 2 different online universities.  In total I have 60 students to interact with and grade the work for each week.  Needless, it's busy.  On top of that I am also taking 2 doctoral classes, both of which I am really enjoying.  

I wish I could say it stops there but I also continue writing monthly for 2 websites and I do some volunteering on base.  Just last week I spoke to the Daisy Scouts about healthy eating.  They are so cute!  My main volunteer role, which I enjoy so much and is a part of my everyday life so I forget it is volunteering, is as a Key Spouse.  Basically, this is an appointed position (appointed by my husbands squadron commander) and I serve as a liaison between spouses/families and the squadron.  The official role helps spouses out when the active duty member is deployed, but because we are so remote, our squadron spouses also work to stay in contact with spouses all the time and plan events to boost morale and keep families connected.  It has been great for the past year and a half and I am now ready to accept my new role as Lead Key Spouse for the squadron.  I am really excited and hope to do a lot of good keeping spouses in the loop about what is going on around base and provide a support network for them here, miles and miles away from their families.

Yes, I do get some free time to take a breather, head to the gym, and enjoy good Japanese food out with friends and Ryan.  Obviously some things, like blogging, get pushed to the back burner.  But I can't complain!  I love my life and all that I do.  Plus, I have some travel coming.  I haven't been to the US since Sept 2011, so I am happy to say that I will be in the States for all of April.

Now, on to the good stuff.  I have some fun food pictures to share.  The first is from a traditional Japanese restaurant that Ryan and I went to with our old next door neighbors.  This was a few days before they moved back to the states.  I am sad because I had become very close with Jasmine and it was great having a friend next door.  We were often over each others places and our dogs went back and forth playing with each other.  So when it was time for them to move back, we made sure to all go out to dinner.
You can see here that it is a traditional Japanese style of dining.  We had to take our shoes off and sit on the tatami mats.  At least here you can put your legs down under the table instead of sitting with your legs crossed.  Ryan is over 6 feet tall so this is a little easier for him, assuming the floor goes down far enough!
We started off with edamame.  Very Japanese!
Jasmine and Andre tried the yakitori, which is meat on a stick.  They made some faces with some off the odder meat choices.  Ryan wasn't even brave enough to try!
I loved the presentation of Ryan's meal.
Still not sure what it is, but it was some sort of meat and onion dish that was cooking in this pot.
Mine was served with a traditional presentation as well.
I had the lobster tempura.  Yes, it was as good as that sounds.  I actually think it was a giant prawn and not lobster, but I am not complaining.  It also came with some veggies.
Next up are some pictures from Coco's.  Now, this isn't the world famous Coco's curry place.  It is a different Coco's that is more like a Denny's or IHOP (minus the pancakes) sort of establishment.  Honestly, we heard mixed things about it, but I loved the atmosphere.  I think because we went in not expecting the curry house we were not disappointed like so many others have been.

One thing I thought was cool was that the menu had calories listed.  It is hard to see here, but it is listed just about the 880 yen.  At least you can see what the dish looks like.
Now you can see the calories a little better.  It is 661 calories, and I think it is 32.2 grams of carbohydrate, but I am not sure if one of these is supposed to be fat.  I need to look into this a little better and see what those other numbers really mean. 
I was excited to see that they offered half portions of some things.  In fact, this looked so good that I ordered it.  Not too bad for 155 calories.  Although now looking at this I wonder if it is 13.4 grams for the fat...or is it protein?  I give up!
Whatever it is, this was tasty!
For dinner I ordered something I don't usually get and wasn't even sure I would like it.  I went with the grilled mackerel.  I was surprised that I enjoyed it this much.  Now, the grated yam (white stuff in the bowl) is definitely not my thing.  Neither Ryan or I are a fan.
It also came with rice and a soup that had meat in it so I just didn't eat it.  I tried to order this not as a set but the server didn't understand me.  Oh well!
Since I didn't think I was ordering the set meal, I ordered bread.  In the end I wound up with too much food.  But that's ok!
Ryan tried out the onion soup.
Dinner for this was a steak.  He rarely gets the chance to eat meat, so he decided to go for it since they had so many steak options.
The best was dessert.  I knew everyone said this place is great for desserts.  There seems to be a strawberry festival going on (no idea why this time of year) and almost everything, everywhere is flavored with strawberry.  So I ordered the strawberry parfait.  Ryan and I shared.  It was really good.
Next up was a trip we made to a cafe for lunch one weekend.  This cafe is just outside the gate for the base.  I couldn't believe we had never been before.
They had a nice set for lunch.  We both ordered the egg salad sandwich and it came with the best corn soup I have had yet.  Corn soup is a very popular soup in Japan.  Just about everywhere that serves soup will have the corn soup.  This is by far the best I have tried yet.
Last up are some sweets.  First are some baked goods that I split with Jasmine and Andre on their second to last day at the base.  They had never been to this bakery and always wanted to try it so I took them there as a farewell.  We picked out a few things and then split them all up.
The items they are most known for is the banana cream filled French toast.  It is heavenly!  Definitely a treat. 
I thought this was a cute way to end this post.  I love the Japanese and this is one reason why.  How cute!  It is a little roll filled with chocolate.  
Well, that is all for now but I hope to post again soon.  Just keep checking back.  I'm still here.  I promise!

One last thing...Andrea is the winner of a copy of my book Train Your Brain to get Thin!  Thank you all for entering.  Congrats Andrea!  The book will be on it's way soon.

QUESTIONS:  What has been keeping you busy recently?  Any travel plans in your future?


Andrea said...

Wow! You are busy!

The traditional Japanese dinner looks like a great experience!

Grilled mackerel is also very popular in Korean cuisine, and I love it.

I'm excited about the book! :) Thanks again!

Special K said...

Teaching three classes! Wow! I am proud of you....

and digging that little critter!

I am traveling a ton this winter, and less in March, but then again up in April (a trip a month, with two weeks in the states in late may/june).

Unknown said...

Hi there,
I just found your blog and its great! I actually am just finishing my dietetic internship and will be an RD in about a month. I am looking at different paths to take and am considering hunting abroad for a dietetic position instead of staying in Michigan. I was an exchange student as prior to college and I fell in love with travel, food, language, and would love to experience life in Japan for a few years. What kinds of opportunities do you think one might find as a Dietitian in Japan without language skills? I have considered English Cooking classes/ consulting, etc., but the ideas of moving with no real stead fast position/visa is scary. Do you think that Dietitians in the US and in Japan are at a similar level? Is there a place for someone like that there?

Thanks, and such a cool blog!

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