Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall Activities

Joe's home! No, I can barely believe it either. I have so much more fun sharing experiences with Joe than going it alone, so we've been making the most of our time together by checking out new restaurants and seasonal events in the area. 

I'm really not sure what the purpose of this parade was, but someone posted about it on one of the Iwakuni facebook pages to which I subscribe and we decided to check it out. Eddie came along with us because it's only about a five minute drive and he behaved well until all the noise and strangers petting him got overwhelming. It's okay, Eddie.

Here's a shot of Eddie climbing on my lap to take in all the sights and sounds:

These older ladies were my favorite. They were so poised and their kimonos are gorgeous.

 I'm 90% confident that this mascot is the albino habu snake. I've never seen one, but there is a visitor center near the castle where you can hang out with them (if that's your thing). 

Since the parade, we've decided that this strange green man that appears on everything in Iwakuni is a promotional character for to help Iwakuni lure athletes to train for the Olympics.

We love getting the scoop on new restaurants to try in Iwakuni, so we tried out another yakiniku (a.k.a. grill your own raw veggies, obscure animal parts, and delicious beef) place across the street from Jan Jaka at a friend's suggestion. I've come to partially hate yakiniku restaurants because their poorly translated menus describe normally gross animal parts in the absolutely most disgusting way thinkable. Joe ordered a massive set for himself that included chicken gristle, salted pork tongue (flattened), and a host of other vomit-inducing treats. It did include some tasty kim chi that I snagged off Joe's plate. I ordered some dependably delicious bi bim bap (under ¥1000) and the unlimited soda bar (¥220) while also stealing a few bite-sized pieces of steak from the grill. How would Joe even notice they were missing as he was filling up on all those other horrors?

The grill in action.
You might be figuring out that I hate grocery shopping, cooking in my obscenely small kitchen, and washing dishes without a dishwasher. Well, here is another way of avoiding such chores: Monte Beer! I think the idea is that it's a "bar" and restaurant rather than a brewery, because we didn't come across any new beers on the menu. My heart skipped a beat when I entered the restaurant because it looks like a (Japanified) Max & Erma's! We opened the menu and I was so excited to see American pub food on the menu!

How could you not order a Guinness "harf and harf"? This ridiculous beer was over $5. Blasphemy.
My first Caesar salad in a restaurant in almost a year!
Joe said his burger tasted like meatloaf. This seems to be a common recipe in Japan.
Love the Italianese plate and tasty (but not spicy) buffalo wings.
This is what to look for if you're in downtown Iwakuni (close to the train station). It's hard to miss and the waitstaff speaks good English!

I've been whining since we got here about the lack of cafes and sandwich shops. I was driving around with Joe trying to find a coffee shop I thought I had seen (maybe I dreamt it) when we saw this cute little bakery along the "New Road" (outside the main gate, past Mike's Tex-Mex, before the bridge). I'm thinking we were there around 5pm on a Saturday hoping to drink coffee and eat fancy desserts, but they were closing up shop for the day. I've noticed quite a few Japanese places that do brew coffee only do so between 10am at the earliest and 4pm at the latest.

Heartbroken with defeat, we took home this small consolation prize. I assumed from the color that it would be a mocha, cappuccino, or caramel flavor, but it's important to let go of any silly assumptions like that in Japan. This little treat was bean and lemon flavored with a sugar cookie center.

If you need to see something delicious again, here's Eddie:

It's love.
Through all my traveling, I've never missed food from home so much! Who wants to ship over a combo platter from Al Oumara? How about a sandwich and salad from Panera? Red pizza from Tomato's Apizza? Spicy garlic boneless wings from B Dubs? What about all those pumpkin beers and treats I've been seeing all over Facebook? I'm just getting started! I know you still have them! Put them all in boxes for me.



  1. Harf and Harf... delicious! Kaylie and I mistakenly ordered similar looking desserts once and they were prune flavored.... Yum.... Gotta love Japan!

  2. Sometimes they really hit it out of the ball park though! I have to post a picture of the pumpkin cheesecake I had last night. mmMMM!

  3. Thanks for commenting on my blog! I didn't even know you were out there reading. It looks like you get into some real excitement over here!! I think if I were in Japan I would be a little scared to eat anything. So brave of you to keep trying new things! I'm sending you imaginary pumpkin cookies with my brain right now... Sorry, it's the best I can do! :)