Thursday, December 2, 2010

Love from Japan

It's quite late, but I went to Japan during my Thanksgiving Break. Yes, it's a short Saturday-to-Saturday break, but I think I spent my days there pretty efficiently (like, from dawn till dusk?).

During those days, I visited quite a lot of places near Tokyo. The weather is perfect (around 9-17 degrees C in general), although it rained on some days.

At first, I was still too shy to speak Japanese on the plane. My first language wasn't Japanese, by the way, and I haven't had any formal Japanese classes. Surprisingly, as I landed on Japan, words started flowing. At the very least, I could 95% understand whenever I ask for directions or buy foods. I could even ask "what's in that food" and be able to understand what the shop keeper says!

Most of the time, people started to notice that I'm not a native speaker when they asked me to take a photo for them. Instead of counting from 3, 2, 1, I started counting from 1, 2, 3. That is a definite Indonesian habit. I only realized this when people took a picture of me and they count from 3 to 1.

If I were a spy, my cover would have been blown (LOL).

In terms of food mannerism, I think I don't really have a problem. I was still a little surprised when they eat noodles while slurping really loudly. It was rather enjoyable - normally my mum would scold me if I slurp noodles because that would be considered as rude. So, yeah, it was really fun to slurp the noodles as I lift the bowl to gulp the soup. Note: you don't drink the soup with spoon. You drink it straight from the bowl.

Another interesting point is oshibori or hot towel. I'm not sure if it's only me and my family, but we only use hot towels whenever we're done with our food (normally in seafood restaurants where using hands to eat is necessary). It feels good to wipe your greasy mouth when you're done eating. But in Japanese culture, they use oshibori before they eat.

By the way, I was praised for my chopstick-wielding skills. The guy at a nabe restaurant was rather surprised to see me handle the veggies in the pot using my chopstick for some reason :)

Even though I've been eating like a crazy pig, I only gained 1 kg in total. Surprising, huh? I would have gained 3 kg if I were in US. I don't know if it was because I kept walking from morning till night every day and burn my calories, or the food there is naturally low in fats. I personally think that the food is far less greasy than US foods. I can't really say that they have small serving sizes - they're actually quite big.

However, the over usage of salt is just too scary!! They use sauces in everything, and to me, they're really too salty!!

Will post some photos soon... I'm getting really busy with finals and assignments. And to think that I'm still having problems with my sleeping schedule thanks to jet lag, I can't say I can survive the last two weeks of school pretty easily.


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