Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chicago Pizza Factory!

On my first foray to Yanai, a city about an hour south of Iwakuni, I had a chance to explore some of my deepest passions: interior design at NAFCO, puppies at Mr. Max, and pizza at the Chicago Pizza Factory! These are all along Rt. 188: just keep driving south, take a turn toward the city center, and you'll eventually find them. It really does take about an hour.

I stopped at NAFCO because I needed curtains. The size I needed was out of stock, so I ordered them from the customer service desk. I think Japanese people know a lot more English than they let on, because I've found that if I speak slowly in simple sentences, I get understanding nods. I also depend heavily on gesticulating wildly and Google Translate on my iPhone. Anyway, I ordered my curtains and am now awaiting a Japanese phone call when they come in. I figure I'll just wait for an indecipherable phone call and then head back down to Yanai. I should've ordered these at the NAFCO here in Iwakuni, but I was excited in the heat of the moment. The NAFCO in Yanai is way bigger than ours here!

NAFCO was kind of an incidental stop, but I was really trying to make my way to Mr. Max. A friend described it as a Japanese Costco, but I really thought it was more of a mix between a Target and a Pet Smart. I'm really excited to get a puppy soon, so I was checking out some of the little dudes and dudettes at the store. I've always preferred larger dogs with mutt backgrounds, but Joe loves small purebred dogs. He's converting me. The problem is that dogs in Japan cost the equivalent of $1500 minimum and I haven't come across any shelters than have puppies. The other problem is that once you have a pet in Iwakuni, it is not guaranteed that you can bring it back to the states with you after your tour is over. This means that you need to budget about $2000 to ship the dog back on your own. For this reason, there are a lot of adorable adult dogs up for adoption on base. We could probably swing it, and cross our fingers for a free trip back for the pet. I feel strongly about being a good pet owner, and could never imagine finding a new home for a pet because I didn't want to pay for it's flight home. Alright, I'm getting off my soapbox now.

Stripiest cat I've ever seen. Two thousand dollars.

Maybe a yorkie poo? I'm in love with him.

Is this a Boston Terrier? More Joe's style.
Anyway, Mr. Max also has tons of processed snack foods, crazy drinks, a McDonald's, a gaming area with slot machines, and other stuff you'd find at Target, like cleaning and hygiene products.

I was finally driving home on a puppy/kitten/bunny-induced dopamine high when I saw a real, live pizza place - The Chicago Pizza Factory! I accidentally drove past it as my jaw dropped, and swerved back around to pull in. In my state of clouded judgment, I ordered a double-decker pizza split into four topping groups. For myself. Don't worry, it was a few meals' worth of food. The prices are really high, but for a treat once in a while, it was completely worth it. I haven't found any decent pizza in Iwakuni yet.

Reading menus in Japan is so much fun. Your challenge meat pizza can be medium, regular, or large. At today's yen rate, the smallest pizza goes for $30.23. OUCH. Thank you, Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).
I promised Joe I would wait to challenge myself with him.
As you can see, my big adventures have waned a bit. Living the everyday life in Japan is still full of surprises and excitement though. I hope this blog helps share some of the curiosities I find.

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