Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mochi Making and Exploring Roppongi

I really love all of the random events that Seijo lets their exchange students participate in. Two days ago, Me, Daan, Tom, Sabrina, and Kirsty were invited to the Seijo grade school to make mochi and hang out with the 5-6 year-old students.
As always, taking off your shoes before entering is a necessity, but we also had to wear slippers they had. Sadly, they didn't quite fit Tom.
A few dads of the students were there to help make the mochi. I didn't realize that making it was such a process. O___O
The children were all very excited, yelling "Yoisho!" every time one of the dads pounded the mochi with a big wooden hammer.
While the dads were pounding the mochi, the teacher reminded the children of our presence. The exchange students and I were kind of just standing there, feeling like eye candy for the kids. For awhile we were kind of wondering why we were there XD. Then, the teachers had the children lined up and come up to us. We all shook hands and had a little conversation with each student. Since there were about 25 students lined up, it was mainly just "Nice to meet you. What's your name? (not understanding their mumble) Oh! That's a nice name. What's your favorite sport? Okay, bye." in Japanese. And then, we did that again with another batch of kids there. Oh gosh.
The exchange students and I were sitting down and the children were becoming braver by the minute, pushing each other towards us so their friends were forced to say something. One kid kept on going up to Tom and giving him the stink eye, in which Tom would return the stink eye, and then the kid scampered off. XD

After the kids went upstairs, the dads let us kneed and pound the mochi too. ^___^
I felt like Mario when it was my turn.
Hamanaka took some pictures too and said she would send them to us, so I'll probably post those another time ^___^.
We headed inside and upstairs to find that there were a bunch of workers making different kinds of mochi.
The exchange students were then separated into different rooms to sit with the students and try some mochi. Tom and I were in one room and Sabrina, Daan, and Kirsty went into the other.
Here's the plate of mochi they gave each of us. The top left one was dipped in soy sauce and wrapped in nori. The top right was covered in soy powder (like the mochi Grant bought before that came with mysterious powder that we later found out was the soy powder). The bottom right was anko mochi. Anko is the stuff found in the taiyaki (fish shaped bread dessert) and the manako I had a few days ago.
They were actually pretty good. I didn't eat too much since they're kind of like jelly beans where it just sits in your stomach after awhile and I was going to go to kickboxing soon after. ^___^'
Here are the students I got to sit with:
The two girls even knew a little English, but we talked mainly in Japanese about things like Disney princesses, fruit, Animal Crossing, and Halloween.
After staying about an hour more than expected, we headed out. The problem is, the kids wouldn't let us leave. I was dragged and pushed by a few of the students back into the classroom. This happened 3 times XD. One time, they even barricaded the door:
The teacher had to get them out of the way, lolol.
I asked this girl if I could take a picture of her and she didn't say anything and kept on holding this expression:
Aw, halp.
And here they are running up to us again to try to stop us from leaving:
Tom made the mistake of lifting up one boy:
 Which started a chain reaction:
There were about 4 other kids, too. The little girl in the right picture wanted me to lift her up too. She didn't let me put her down, so I was carrying her around for awhile XD. When I lifted her up, I almost hit her head on the ceiling, but she didn't notice. Huff puff, that would have been so bad O__O. lolol.

After many goodbyes, we were finally able to leave. I headed off to kickboxing and had a pretty darn awesome workout. It was probably the last time I will go there since my tickets are now expired =[. I still have a few left. Bah! But I feel like I learned a lot just from watching the other people train and I was also able to talk with and get to know a few people there. So, it was definitely worth it. ^__^

Yesterday, I met up with Grant's friend who he met through school, Luke. We are both leaving Japan soon and want to venture around as much as possible. We decided to go to Roppongi and then walk to the nearby areas, Azabu-Juban and Hiroo.
We got off the train at Ebisu and walked to Roppongi from there.
This fancy-looking temple was along the way:
 We also passed a graveyard that reminded me of the I went to with Grant's family in New Orleans:
We also stumbled upon a really pretty park where ducks swam and fishermen fished. Why they were fishing in this little pond, we did not understand. XD
After the park, we walked further on to get to Roppongi and were in Hiroo at this time. Along the way, we found a sushi restaurant that had some awesome displays. Both of us were pretty darn hungry, so we decided to eat there.
I'm so glad we did.
It was definitely the best sushi I've had in Japan so far. It also came with this amazing egg dish. I think it's called chawanmushi. It looked like pudding, but was made of egg and had mushrooms and daikon at the bottom of the cup. Oh gosh, it was so good.
The bowl with the cover on it had fruit, a little piece of mochi, jelly cubes, and anko in it. A.K.A. dessert. The sauce next to it was like a molasses sugar that you could pour over the dessert. Again, really delicious.
When we went up to pay, the worker told us it was Ladies Day and if we paid together, Luke would also get 20% off. Oh man! So this meal was only about $12! O__O
Then, we continued to Roppongi.
We were trying to find another park that was on a map outside and thought we found it and climbed some stairs. At the top; however, was another graveyard x___X. A little different...
And then we got there! ^___^
 Oh, you know. Just a giant spider and Tokyo Tower.
 Haven't these people ever played Limbo before?
Mohri Garden:
The Asahi TV building was right by it with a ton of Doraemon stuff. Here is Luke being all proper with Doraemon:
 Midas got to them first...
 There was also a giant touch-screen globe you could spin inside an aluminum foil globe. XD
 And this guy.
 After venturing around Roppongi Hills a bit more, we walked to Azabu.
There were a ton a fancy cars along this area. There were also cute independent shops and restaurants. Luke mentioned how it didn't feel like we were in Japan and it really didn't.
After getting a snack at a bakery (omg, melon pan), we walked back to Roppongi to explore a bit more. I definitely have a new view of Roppongi. I really only knew it for its night clubs when the exchange students talked about it and thought it was just a touristy place. Even though there were a ton of night clubs and such, there were also some cool shops we passed. It was just a really nice place to walk around.
Dragon Quest restaurant:
I hope Yuuki knows about that. They were playing the music of the game outside and had this awesome menu. A ton of the dishes looked like Dragon Quest characters. They even had drinks like Elf potion.
 I thought of Grant O___O:
 Well, this was just interesting.
There was a tiny room on the right that had a chair in it with a "Please! Call me!!" sign. A girl probably stands outside in lingerie at night. Good gracious, Japan.
lolol, Bar Milwaukee:
 And an Avatar:
Michael Jackson wisdom for Grant:
 And not the singer XD. I remember Grant talking about him and beer though.
They had a tiny pet shop here like the one in Shibuya. I'm really glad my camera decided to focus on the blanket.
Luke was very disturbed by this alien monkey they had, too. XD I like how you can kind of see his O_O reaction in the reflection.
 This looked important to take a picture of:
Here is a restaurant that Jiro's son owns. Jiro is the best sushi chef in the world. In order to eat at his restaurant, you usually have to make a reservation at least a month in advanced. The meal also costs well over $300. O_O His son made this exact mirrored-replica of Jiro's restaurant. It wasn't open at the time, so we couldn't really take a look inside. x__X
We ventured around a bit more and then went back to Shinjuku. Luke had some dinner plans with friends, so I headed home for the night. ^___^

Today, I'll probably go to the gym and then help Christian with another translation. Tomorrow is Okuma's adventure day with the other exchange students in Chuo. Oh gosh. ^___^



  2. Beth's comments crack me up every time---ha ha. I love all of those kids! Can I have one please? They all remind me of you when you were little.Loved the buildings and kitten and monkey. This whole blog was eye candy for me.