Japan: First Impressions

Originally published 16 May 2006. This is part of a series of e-mail letters I wrote home during my summer teaching English in Japan!

Hi everyone! We just got internet in the apartment yesterday, so now I can write to you!

Well, Japan is beautiful. The food is awesome–I get to eat sushi every day! However, my first experience in Japan involved a heated toilet seat. That might still be my favorite.

On my first Sunday here, Anna (the other American teacher I’m living with this summer) and I went to the Koda’s house (Mr. and Mrs. Koda are the owners of the English school) for a Japanese BBQ. But it’s not the same kind of barbecue you’re probably thinking! We had squid, scallops, shrimp, eggplant and other assorted vegetables, sushi, rice balls, pork, chicken, beef, and other interesting things. It was really delicous. I’m not a salty girl, but I’m liking soy sauce more and more! Oh, and the Kodas have some pets–wild boars!

Grocery shopping is interesting. I love sweet potatoes, but I couldn’t find any when I looked for them. I finally asked one of the Japanese English teachers from here where the sweet potatoes were, and she pointed to these huge PURPLE things! The insides are yellow. they taste a little different, but I like them! And their pumpkins are all green! No orange ones at all. It’s delicious, though. Actually, one of my new favorite dishes is pumpkin with some kind of sweet soy sauce. Mmmm! I get sushi and a side of pumpkin for lunch every day!

Purple sweet potatoes!

Oh, and they don’t have ovens in most homes here (or dryers, which is another story altogether), so they boil pumpkins and potatoes instead of baking. I think there’s a trick to it, though. Every time I try to boil those things, they turn out dry. I’ll have to work on that. And since there are no ovens, that means no baking! (I love to bake.) There’s a way to make “steamed bread,” which is basically a muffin, so I’ll have to learn how they do that as well.

I don’t want to bore you too quickly, so next time I’ll tell you about some more of the food, meeting the Mayor of Ise City, the school where I’m working here, participating in a festival that only happens every 20 years, and probably more! I hope everyone is having a great week. It’s 10:05 am here, and my day’s about to start. Most of you are probably going out for the night or are already out having a blast since it’s 8:05 pm there–yesterday!

E-mail often and let me know what’s going on there. Love and miss you all!

2 responses to “Japan: First Impressions”

  1. Heated toilet seats are so great, especially in winter. I wish more Americans cared for their toilet seats like they do in Japan. Over 70% of all toilets there have a bidet or heated seat so you’ll enjoy them!

    1. I did enjoy them! And I agree, everyone should have heated seats!

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