Monday, April 30, 2012

Discovering Home

Whew, the weather has been B A D.

That's right, BAD with all caps! It has been switching between heavy rains and moderate winds to summer humidity and heat here in Saitama.

The sun allows for me to take my bike out and around town though, and explore more of Misato and the neighboring towns of Yoshikawa and Koshigaya.

While I'm not a big fan of mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies that tend to come out near bodies of water, I can't deny that I'm very lucky to be surrounded by such beautiful rivers. Foster City had quite a few lagoons, but nothing half as wide as the Nakagawa.

I also found the cutest bridge to cross the Nakagawa, and it reminded me more of a shinto shrine tori than a bridge.

Right over this bridge is a mall called Lake Town. It's one of the rare places with an "outlet" although I have yet to check out how cheap their outlet items are. While before I used to take the train, if I want to visit Lake Town for a look around, I might simply go by bike from now on since the view is so fantastic.

A friend also treated me to some deliciously fantastic 和食 (washoku), traditional Japanese food. There were all sorts of items, including pickled squid, tororo (grated nagaimo yam), burdock stir fry, and more.

Having tororo was a first, and although I had seen it in other food-related shows before, it didn't look particularly appetizing. However, the one bowl of tororo completely changed my mind. It has an incredibly clean taste on the palate despite it being a bit slimy. Some research on the good ol' world wide web also seems to make it fairly easy to make, so I might try it out at some point.

Another surprising instant favorite was the pickled squid. While it did look suspicious with its limp strands of squid floating in some thin unidentified orange-red sauce, my first taste of it had me hooked. The pickling retained the texture of the squid, and the (still unidentified) red sauce gave it a salty bite, which went perfectly with the steaming hot rice.

All in all, a delicious meal with a lot of first-time dishes! I'm super happy I got the chance to try it out (*´ω`*)

Before I met with my friend for dinner though, I managed to find the local library. I also picked up some awesome free books! While my Japanese reading comprehension is by no means up to par, I think the pretty pictures in the books will motivate me to actually pick up a dictionary.

This coming week is known as Golden Week in Japan. Yes, they call it Golden Week in Japan-ified English. It's various national holidays that fall within the same week, so this means I get a breather before I dive back into the world of elementary school education and overactive school kids.

Until then, see you next time!

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