To me, one of the best perks of living in a big city is ALWAYS finding new things to fall in love with. This happens on a daily basis and is exponentially more true whenever I go to Tokyo to explore or check out a new area. Recently I have collected a few iphone snaps of new things that are all exceptionally amazing...

welcome to Japan people...

TONIKAKU RAMEN. Steph and I met up with our friend Yuki, who took us to his local spot called Tokikaku ramen. Funny story though, the ramen broth here is suuuuuper fishy so I was the weirdo that opted for two bowls of rice instead haha. But, I did have some of stephs abura soba (on the left) and it was bomb (but still fishy). The rice bowls were obviously amazing (I mean, look at all that negi!! (onion) ) and it was a true Japanese experience to be in a cozy ramen bar on a Friday night with ALL MEN. Yep. 

HOMECOOKED AMAZINGNESS. My friend Ayaka hosted a party at her house and her parents fed us some melt-in-your-mouth-deliciousness aka... cheese fondue. That cheese was so amazing and all the fresh veggies made you feel a little less bad for all the calories consumed haha.

FELLOWS BURGER. My friend Yuki and I have this crazy habit of always waiting in ridiculously long lines for things in Tokyo. And our recent LOOOOOOONG (2 hours -__-) wait was for burgers in Omotesando. Why did we wait 2 hours for burgers in the cold with a bunch of teenagers?! I am not really sure, other than the fact that waiting in long lines is kind of a thing to do in Japan and the burger was really bomb. Bacon-avocado-cheese...and I took the selfie to show the size. huge! 

THE BEST KINDA SNACK. Theres this tiny cozy coffee shop at the basement of one of the malls in Kashiwa and they have a good cup of joe with toast and red bean! A true Japanese treat. 

OOTOYA + SAMGYEOPSAL (def had to google how to spell that). OOTOYA is a chain here for classic Japanese food. I always go for the hot pot style Tonkatsu. Never fails. And just the other night Steph, Mina and I had Korean pork belly (aka samgyeopsal) and I just about had the best meal ever. I kept saying "WHY AM I NOT EATING THIS EVERY WEEK? WHAT HAVE WE BEEN DOING ALL THIS TIME??" yeah, with all the pickled veggies on the side...amazing. 

BANANA HOT COCOA. When in Japan, one must try the seasonal Japan-only drinks...this time that was in the form of banana hot cocoa which actually was really good. That yellow stuff on top is a kind of cookie crumble. Starbucks here in Japan feels similar to those back home, except they seem to be a lot cleaner and have better snacks! 

KYUSHOKU (SCHOOL LUNCH) ! In Feb and March I'll be going to a few Elementary and Jr High schools to help teach some classes and what that means is I also get to enjoy the standard lunch set in all of Japan - kyushoku! This was today's meal. Amazing veggie udon noodles, meat and veggie slaw, fried fish (I traded mine in), fruit with mochi, and milk. This meal only costs the kids about $2 and let me tell you...they eat SO MUCH. One boy next to me at 3 pieces of fish...and these kids were 10 years old! . Also, a rule in Japanese schools is you have to eat every single piece of food on your place. The girl next to me didn't like fish but sat there like a champ and downed it. Zero complaints. Just did it. Amazing.

CAFE DE ROPE - unbelievably hip coffee shop in the basement of a parking lot and train station. Tokyo never ceases to impress me. I got coffee with toast that came with butter and a boiled egg with parmesian cheese. SO. GOOD. 


And to end with two other random photos from this week that truly embody life in Japan for me...the pic on the left is me trying to get home on a Friday night back to Kashiwa station. So many people take the train...its nuts. I'm pretty much used to it now, but moments like this just make me laugh and feel like a tiny fish in the biggest ocean. And the pic on the right is a bunch of kindergarden kids walking to school. They all wear yellow hats for safety - very precious and very Japan.

Lots to love about this nation! Thank you Lord!