Ticket Machines in Japan

When I first saw these food ticket machines I wondered why? It’s a new addition to the fast food industry in Japan but has not really caught on-yet.

( By the way, Japan seems to have vending machines for everything.)

You put your money in, choose what type of dish you want based on a picture,press the button, grab the ticket and the change. Then you need to hand your ticket to the person working at the counter. They then give you a beeper and tell you that you will be paged when your food is done.

I wondered what are the benefits to the fast food restaurant… Well I guess the staff not having to deal with cash cuts labor time down.
What other benefits could there be for staff and costumers could you think of? The following pick is what I had for lunch. It cost me 800 yen ( 8 dollars )

The dish contained rice, raw steak, corn, egg, and some curry tasting past. The pan/dish is very hot and it’s your job to mix it well allowing the steak to be fried along with the other ingredients.

The concept is not Japanese. It comes from a dish in Korea called Bibimba ( If the spelling is wrong, let me know 🙂

The taste was ok but I will not be going back there. For 8 dollars in Japan, you can get a much healthier meal that will taste better. However, if you do not live here, you may want to give a dish like this a try.

Japanese Melon to Die for

Japanese melonI first heard about Hokkaido melon from my Japanese mother-in-law. She told me for 30 dollars you can buy one and once you eat a slice, you will know what heaven tastes like!

At the time, I thought people were nuts for paying that much for a melon.
Obviously I never tasted one and was 100″ ignorant.

I’ve had Hokkaido melon two times in eight years and I must say with out
stretching the truth, it was the best tasting fruit I’ve ever tried.

Taste is everything in Japan and Japanese people are masters of cultivating taste, especially when it comes to fruits.

There is a place in Japan called Yamanashi ( in English it means mountain pear ) and this place has the best pears, peaches and big juicy purple grapes. I went there once with my family and had a blast eating the fruits, taking hot spring baths and breathing the overly fresh air. It must be noted that Yamanashi has the best tasting water in Japan as far as I know and this is one of the main reasons why the fruit is so tasty.

Speaking of fruit, years ago I went to a super market with my wife and saw the biggest perfectly shaped apple. This apple was five dollars! I bought one and when I got home I shared it with my wife. She was passive about eating it for obvious reasons but after tasting it, I was bouncing of the walls from the natural sugar high and being blown away by the quality.

Do you Like Sushi?

Most of the parties I’ve been to in Japan had tons of delicious food. Cheeses, breads, vegetables, gyoza, (fried meat dumplings) and ALWAYS sushi. The sushi is usually the first to be eaten up so if you go to a party in Japan, make sure you hit the sushi first because it’s not going to last long.

I remember the first time I ate sushi in Japan. It was in Tokyo at a kaiten sushi shop ten years ago. You sit at a counter and right in front of you is a rotating track carrying sushi. You choose the type of sushi you want to eat, take it off the track and pay based on what color the plate is. At the time I went, all plates were one dollar (100 yen) and I thought it was the most interesting experience to note.

The sushi shop I went to years ago was a low grade sushi shop that uses frozen fish and the taste reflected it. I had no idea about how good or how bad the fish was but today, I know what top grade sushi tastes like and have been to sushi shops that charge 10 dollars a plate which has two slices of sushi on it. You can eat ten plates and that will fill you up pretty good. But don’t go to the ten dollar shop unless you got the cash. A decent sushi bar / restaurant will run you fifteen to twenty dollars and it will be good grade sushi.

Japanese people love to share sushi with us so if you come over, you will be taken out for sushi and if you drink beer, you’ll like Japanese beer because it’s high grade. Japanese do not drink American beer. I’ve been told it’s like drinking water. But Japanese beer is another subject I am too tried to get into now.

Japanese Hair Cut

I get my hair cut at the same place every two months. The price is 2,100 yen (20 dollars) with no shampoo, shoulder rub, etc… For the full works, it’s 35 bucks. (no, that’s not me in the photo.)

I go to a place called “Hair Salon Victory” because it’s in a building where I used to own an English school. I became friends with the owner of the Salon and like the way they cut hair so I keep using them. Also, it’s a great way to practice Japanese. During the 30 minutes it takes to cut my hair, I can try to talk about everything under the sun in Japanese.

After you get your hair cut in Japan, the stylist always pulls out a mirror that opens like a book and places it behind your head so you can see the great job they did. After, they ask you if you care for coffee or tea which I never take because of the time factor.

Recently 10 dollar hair cut shops are popping up all over Japan but they do not give you a good cut or service. I’ve tried just to try and will never go back. I remember going and asking the guy to cut the sides short and shave the neck. He smiled to let me know I’m in a 10 dollar Salon! I found that humorous.

My wife pays 100 dollars! Oh, it takes her three hours too. But I support it if that’s what makes her feel good. Hey, I know after getting a fresh hair cut I feel pretty good too.

The man you see in the photos works for the Salon I go to. I had to let you see his hair. He is for sure into it! His name is Osmu, 23 years old, single and likes cars.

Japan Face Masks

Japanese Mask2Now in Japan, it’s allergy season. Japanese people are in pain now with runny noises, itchy eyes, headaches, etc…

When I first came to Japan, I was confused to see people walking around wearing surgical masks. I asked my wife why so many people were wearing these masks and she said it’s because of they have allergies and they may have colds and want to keep their germs to themselves.

When I first saw these masks there was only one color, white. But now, I see people like the one in this pic. “Flower or designer surgical masks?” Now there’s a market for some savvy marketer.

Here is one of my Japanese students having a hard time with cold he’s been trying to shake.

Japanese Mask