Jodogahama

Sooooo,

Tetsuya reminded me that we went to the beach and I never wrote a blog about it. Ohhhh sad times!  This was a lovely beach trip and ohh so memorable. Maybe I just wanted to save this memory for myself and not share it? Too late now.

So we went to Jodogohama in August, the last week of swimming time. The water here is notoriously cold and Locals say jellyfish inhabit the water after  the Obon period, so after Mid-August.  So our Precious swimming time is very short.

Jodo is a good 1.5-2 hour car ride away so its a full on day trip!

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So we came prepared! There is much to do, they have a visitor center, short hiking trails( which we will go on later), sightseeing boat, a smaller boat ride thingie, and of course, a beach.

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We decided to go on a short boat ride that goes into a cave. Its only 1500 yen per person  or $15 for a 20 min boat ride. Totally worth it!!!!!!

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Pay your fare, get your gear, enjoy a beer while waiting for you name to be called.

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They give you shrimp flavored snacks.  We thought they were for human consumption, we later found out it was for the birds.

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I’m totally prepared for anything.

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Captain Tetsuya ready for duty!

They call your name form a loudspeaker and you meander your way to  the boat.

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Our boat! JK, I wish, you can’t take that into a cave

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Our real boat.

Your adventure begins with a private boat tour around the bay.  Little did we know the shrimp chips were to be tribute to the protectors of the bay.

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YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

We had upset the natural balance of the bay.

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They held Tetsuya hostage until we agreed to give them the leftover chips after our boat ride. They were in Tetsuyas bag so we couldn’t get to them yet.

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Tetsuya tries to learn their flying ways.

Our tormentor is not amused, but leaves us in peace.

Our tormentor is not amused, but leaves us in peace.

Lovely rock islands, there is also a shrine there somewhere.

Lovely rock islands, there is also a shrine there somewhere.

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The entrance of the blue cave. It gets blue on the inside.

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Ok the water is sort of blue. But come on cute couple photo right!

We finally used the last bag of chips for the birds. In exchange for safe passage to the beach.

We finally used the last bag of chips for the birds. In exchange for safe passage to the beach.

ok beach time!

ok beach time!

Jodo is a rock beach, but soft rocks. I saw some people skipping them it was too cute.

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I really regret not bringing my snorkel now.

If you look closely you can see rock colored fish. It took a five minutue conversation like this for me to see them:

Tetsuya: there’s fish

Carrie: no there’s not, where

T: right there

C: no those are rocks

etc, etc, till finally my eyes focused on the spiny little things.

ITS COLD!

ITS COLD!

I alone braved the cold water, Tetsuya’s strengths lie elsewhere.

It was so cold, I had to float on top or else I would start going numb.

It was so cold, I had to float on top or else I would start going numb.

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I also saw some Japanese women in Bikinis!!! I was so impressed. We have been to the beach a few times and have yet to see a bikini that wasn’t covered with a t-shirt like I was in Christian Youth Camp.  We hear it’s because women here don’t want to get tan. So I was so surprised to see two beautiful ladies in bikinis, I miss that sight.  Come Japan, Join me. muwahahahahaha.

 

So long! Till next time!

So long! Till next time!

Don't judge

Don’t judge

So I really really really wanted Cook Out, but real char-grilled burgers are sort of lacking here. Even the ground beef I buy in the grocery store is usually 50%beef 50% pork. So we saw a MC and went for it. I regretted the decision about an hour or so later. As per usual.

Music Festival!

Music Festival!

So the earthquake and Tsunami that rocked Japan was almost 3 years ago, but reconstruction is still under way.

Memorial in front of dilapidated building that has yet to be reconstructed.

Memorial in front of dilapidated building that has yet to be reconstructed.

There are still people living in temporary housing and there is still a lot of work to be done.

temporary housing units

temporary housing units 

Though don’t get me wrong these units are actually not too shabby. But they are rather small, and are supposed to be temporary.

There are a lot of free events to help lift the spirits of the survivors. I went to one of these events over two days.

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Check out the Groovy rainbow decorations

My first reaction was that it was a hippie love concert. lol.

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There were clowns, rainbows and free stuff.

I love a “Really Really Free Market” Don’t you? I didn’t take anything even though they offered, but I did take this lovely photograph!

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They had everyone who came write a message to be posted on the wall.

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A photo within a photo. I wrote a message and they took a photo of it! So then I took a photo to post on the blog

A photo within a photo. I wrote a message and they took a photo of it! So then I took a photo to post on the blog

They also made Mochi! Yes! Finally I get to see how my beloved glutenious rice snack was made in the good old days! Its hard work. You have a mass of rice and you beat it with a giant wooden mallet till its soft and yummy.

Sorry no pictures. Saturday was the first day and I had no idea what was going on and I forgot my camera. But here is an old photo of Tetsuya making it in his hometown!

Tetsuya in his younger days taken by one of his old friends. Who must have realized how terrifying Tetsuya could be if you make him really really angry.

Tetsuya in his younger days taken by one of his old friends. Who must have realized how terrifying Tetsuya could be if you make him really really angry.

Afterwards I ran off, mainly because I find clowns rather unsettling. It started at 10 am and went to 6pm. And you could hear the Music at Tetsuya’s office. Most was decent, we got lucky!

Sunday I came prepared with my camera! No mochi making though. But they did offer free beer- I said I was working though. Something about the alcohol here in Japan upsets my stomach, so I try not to drink much.

Overall cute event. Lots of music some good and some bad, very nice people who are just trying to make the world a happier place.

Sadly though at some point in time I lost my mobile internet. I had a cute little balck card that would give me wifi. So now have to buy a new one. There goes my new future shoes!

As always let’s end with some food:

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So to my knowledge this dish was like Moo Goo Gai Pan over deep fried rice noodles. Tasty but sort of strange combination.

NPR 100 best Sci-fi and Fantasy Novels.

So Here is a very Non Japan related post. But I forgot my camera today so this is what was on my mind.

http://www.npr.org/2011/08/11/139085843/your-picks-top-100-science-fiction-fantasy-books

I’m currently reading through a poll selected list of sci-fi and fantasy books. I discovered the list like 3 years ago and I try to read  book I wouldn’t normally read every year off the list.

I have read less than half.

The ones struck out, are ones I have read whether I like them or not. The ones in BOLD I have either started reading and stopped because I hated so much.

Or I’m not done reading them, as with some series, like Song of Ice and Fire. Obviously that one is not finished yet. And I’ll finish the Dark Tower series when I get to it, lol.  I have a tablet full of Stephen King Novels I’m slowly wading through.

But I’m so done with The Wheel of Time.

The numbering gets real weird half way through. I don’t know why, something happened when I copy and pasted the link. Sorry, but I’m not a professional blogger and that is too much to fix since like probably 2 people will read this blog post. =)

  1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
  3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
  4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
  5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
  6. 1984, by George Orwell
  7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
  9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
  11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
  12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
  13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
  14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
  15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
  16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
  17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
  18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
  19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
  20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
  21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
  22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
  23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
  24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
  25. The Stand, by Stephen King
  26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
  27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
  28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
  29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
  30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
  31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
  32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
  33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
  34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
  35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
  36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
  37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
  38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
  39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
  40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
  41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
  42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson

 44. Ringworld, by LaNiven

45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin ( I haven’t read this one, but I have read some others in the same series which I loved!)

46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien

  1. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
  2. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
  3. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
  4. Contact, by Carl Sagan
  5. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
  6. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
  7. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
  8. World War Z, by Max Brooks
  9. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
  10. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
  11. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
  12. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
  13. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
  14. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
  15. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
  16. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
  17. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
  18. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
  19. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
  20. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
  21. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
  22. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
  23. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
  24. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
  25. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
  26. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
  27. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
  28. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
  29. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
  30. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
  31. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
  32. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
  33. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
  34. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
  35. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
  36. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
  37. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
  38. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
  39. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
  40. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
  41. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
  42. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
  43. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
  44. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
  45. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
  46. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
  47. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
  48. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
  49. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
  50. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
  51. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
  52. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
  53. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
  54. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

Hey you made it to the end congrats!  The secret code weird is Sleepy Hollow. Message me and I’ll send you a happy emoticon in reply!

Beach Biking adventure

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So Tetsuya has been working everyday for the past 3 weeks. Because it’s summer vacation, his tutoring school has been full time. Well this week was Obon, which is a national holiday so he got 4 whole days off! We had the great intention to enjoy them.

 

So we collaborated with his Coworker- Mr. Ushibara, who is an expert cyclist. He is die hard. He cycles everywhere! He even goes to the next town over which is like 30-40 km away, just for funsies.

So Mr. U thought it would be great to go to a really nice beach up north- except that its almost 30 miles away. Miles, not Kilometers

I asked for a closer route. We choose a beach which was about 9 miles away, more to my liking.

Training day!

Training day!

For the past 2 weeks Tetsuya and I have been training, running short distances and riding bikes for about 8 miles. Not much, but then also we don’t want to be tired later.

The morning of, I made us a huge carbo breakfast- French Toast, compliments of Tetsuya’s mom who sent him a giant care package with two whole loaves of bread!

 

Then we were off, we met Mr. U at a Convenience store about 2 miles away and he took us down a mountainous road.

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There we discovered that there is a beach only 3 miles away from us! As soon as it gets sunny again we are going to visit there.

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Our new neighborhood beach!

Unfortunately the water here gets really cold as it is fed from frigid Arctic  waters, but we can manage. Also there might be jellyfish. We will find out!

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The outskirts of town where a memorial was placed after the Tsunami.

The ride was an up and down route, but not too steep. We ended up walking for at least a mile. Went through small community that literally had been wiped off the map by the tsunami. It was very sobering.

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Its a shrine on an island in a bay!

We made it to Otsuchi- which is where we went to the beach a few weeks earlier, but instead of sand we went to a shrine!

 

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We have to cross a large expanse of water to get there.

A shrine in the middle of the bay!

 

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Connected by a giant concrete bridge, it is very picturesque.

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It is also a popular site.

 

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Sadly, the shrine its self is in disarray.

 

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Maybe one day funds will be raised to fix it.

 

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Until then its very surreal, and the clear blue ocean reminded me of Dominica.

Going up!

Going up!

 

Afterwards we made the insane decision to walk up a mountain.

I think there was supposed to be a shrine somewhere around there but I don’t think we walked far enough. ASIF

So we walked

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and we walked

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and we walked

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This sign says you’ve passed the point of no return. You will die up here.

finally as I was about to be like screw it, I’m peacing out we see another something that appears to be flat.

 

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Naturally after reaching the top, to go to the viewpoints we have to walk down. =(

 

WE made it! It’s like a woodland park, with picnic tables and viewpoints.

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So we had a choice- head back or go up to another town to see their beach. Ummmmmmm, no. We got lunch

Then headed back home!

 

So ended our adventure.

Yoisa

So apparently Yoisa is a celebration to brighten up the atmosphere of the city.  After the tsunami, Kamishi didn’t have it for several yeas. But last year it made a come back!

 

So basically it’s a little bit like carnival in the Caribbean.  Not really, but at the time that’s what I thought. On a rainy Saturday, I bemoaned that fact that I couldn’t wear my Yukata but got excited that everyone in the parade would be wearing one!

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People form groups based on school, company, organization and do a nice dance to to traditional Japanese beat.

 

 

Sorry for the long unedited video, maybe one day I’ll learn how to do basic editing.  It is the very beginning of the dance. So people were just starting to get warmed up. One of Tetsuya’s coworkers came with me, and his other coworker was the women in the video coordinating the kids!

Kamaishi Rugby team.

Kamaishi Rugby team.

But everyone goes around the street doing the same beat saying Yoisa for maybe 45 mins? I don’t know, I only stayed for 30 minutes. It was raining and my fragile Caribbean acclimated body was not used to 70 degree weather.

 

 

Before hand they had some more cultural demonstrations,

I'm the creeper who took a pic of children trying to play a game to win goldfish.

I’m the creeper who took a pic of children trying to play a game to win goldfish.

I’m sure the parents are just as happy in Japan to have a random goldfish that will die in a week as American parents are.

Lots of street food

Yum street food

Yum street food

 

It is just a nice celebration.

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My favorite Yukata

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Ohhhh surprise food post!

 

Can you guess what's inside?

Can you guess what’s inside?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you see the octopus tentacle? Yummy! Taco Yaki! Taco= octopus not Mexicanish food

Can you see the octopus tentacle? Yummy! Taco Yaki! Taco= octopus not Mexicanish food

 

Kamishi! Home sweet home

So we headed up to Kamishi City late Monday. And I officially got into my house Tuesday. Its very small, but manageable. Comes complete with a large mini fridge and a washer! But no dryer, everyone hang dries here. And no bed- its sleep on the floor time!

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That’s the kitchen, that’s it. Sink, 2 burner stove and fridge. lol.

Basically my schedule is this. Go with Tetsuya to work in the afternoon, chill there while studying and shopping and walking. Then we go home and get some dinner form the grocery store after hours.

My job is really more free lance. But pays really well. I tried out a practice class on Saturday. Basically there is an English teacher who is in charge and I am the helper. I don’t work very often but when I do I get $60 a pop! But I hear I might get an English conversation class. =)

Here’s to part time work!

But really I don’t have much expenses except food.

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omg food

We are enjoying badminton, swimming, and bicycling through the country side.

Bento lunch after badminton.

Bento lunch after badminton.

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Bento lunch after a hard day’s ride. Are you sensing a trend yet?

Japanese countryside is awesome! Full of small farmers and flowers. They apparently don’t do large corporation farming here. Which makes me wonder why the USA does.

So local farmers have shacks and they leave their goods out with price tags, and you can just walk up/ drive up/ cycle up, and pick what you want and drop the cash in a bin.

The "farmer's market"

The “farmer’s market”

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Exact change only please! Its all honor system. Which is awesome.

 

Kamaishi City is known for its smelting, they have a lot of iron works around down town.

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It also is a port city. After the Tsunami a lot of people left, but they are trying to redevelop  the town. And now they have a mall! Which I love. It makes adjustment easier to know that there is a giant windowless commercial hub that I can just walk around in. I go there almost everyday because it has AC, its pretty, and there’s a grocery store.

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Tokyo Final Part

Final days in Tokyo. I’ll make this as  brief as possible, by this time I was getting tired. Too many people and too much food.

TOO Much Food.

TOO Much Food.

BUT it was so much fun.

 

My new favorite food ever. Goma Dango, or deep friend red been filled sesame mochi ball.

My new favorite food ever. Goma Dango, or deep friend red been filled sesame mochi ball.

We tried to see fireworks Saturday. I say try because we really only heard them. There were so many people. Everytime I am in a crowd like this:

So... many... people

So… many… people

I can only think of zombie movies, where people are in a horde trying to get out of the infected city and someone gets bit and then havoc. Obviously nothing like that happened. But it was just too hot, so we went back.

 

Our last day we returned to the Sumida river- where the fireworks were and had ourselves a grand ole time! With some breathing room. We visted the temple there. Sensouji, is a huge tourist place full of shops and lots of food.

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Can you say tourist trap? but a beautiful one for sure!

We were hot so we got shaved ice. This ain’t your fair grounds baseball game sort of American shaved ice. This stuff has cream in it!

 

 

But the highlight was really Kappa Bashi- only a 15 mins walk away it is my happy place.

Kappa are mythical creatures who live in Lakes and like to eat little boy testicles. They are no comical creatures of lore, and are used in various marketing campaigns. Like Kappa Bashi which is a street dedicated to vendors selling only kitchen and Dinning ware.

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I’m in heaven!!

 

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so many cute bowls!

We ended up just buying a cutting board, but I want to go back

You can't see me!!

You can’t see me!!

 

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Stairs of death. We walked up these stairs after walking almost 8 miles one day.  Walked UP not down, up. We couldn’t find the escalators.  It was a challenge.

Finally we stopped for some authentic Thai food. We walked back to the temple and meandered through the crowds to find a secretive subway entrance that led to a hole in the wall Thai food restaurant.

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So hot.

You can’t see it, but they have a shrine and picture of the King. In my mind this means its about as authentic as I’m going to get without getting on a plane. We sit on plastic stools in sweltering heat waiting for a table to open up for like 20 mins. It can hold maybe 12 people at a time. Finally our turn is up.

We celebrate with canned Thai iced tea and beer.

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Little did we know that is the coolest our mouths will be for the rest of the day.

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He has no idea what’s coming

In order from left to right spiciest to least spicy.

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From left to right- Green papaya salad of death, green curry muy caliente temptation, and ohh so gracious Pad See Ew

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My mouth is on FIRE!

I’m practically crying.

We started off with Green papaya salad- it only had 2 chili in front of the name!!!! so we thought ok it will be spicy but ok. WRONG!

The green curry was not supposed to be spicy, but after the salad everything tasted like scorching culinary hell. But ohh so delicious. Finally the Pad See Ew got there and there were almost no spices. We almost finished everything. Almost, the salad was just too much, the lady said she had accidentally made to much so we got a double portion so in our defense if we had gotten a regular portion it would have been fine.

Let’s just say the next morning we stuck with plain rice for breakfast.

 

We had snow cream afterwards to stave off heartburn. It did not work.

We had snow cream afterwards to stave off heartburn. It did not work.

So Tetsuya’s cousins work a lot because they own a yakitori (grilled chicken) restaurant. Its tasty, but it means we don’t get to see them a lot. But Sunday night they have off so they took us our to dinner with their friends.

One catch…. it was in part of the red light district.

 

Hello Red lights!

Hello Red lights!

Apparently if there is no actual intercourse- everything but the actual dirty deed is total legal. So there were lots of signs that contained random English words like “Love” and “Candy” everywhere. No worries, this is Japan, they have one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

BUT OMG ThE FOOD. IT was soo good. After not having cheese for like 6 days, I was in heaven. It is a total hipster place, including bored looking master chefs with tats and strangely arranged facial hair.

They make their own pickles how hipster is that?

They make their own pickles how hipster is that?

SOOO TASTY

SOOO TASTY

We had flat bread pizza and lamp chops.

 

 

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The two on the end are Tetsuya’s cousin and wife, and the other two happy looking men towards the camera are their totally wasted very friendly friends. lol.

It was very fun. And surprising after all the spicy food, I ate a lot!