Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Japan Trip XV: Chinese Food in Japan

It seems like every time we travel somewhere, someone we know is there to meet us and have lunch or something. This makes sense, because Starmen.Net has members pretty everywhere across the United States.

It just so happens that a few of them live in Japan as well. We started meeting up with them on the third day.

That morning we took a train to an area called Odaiba, which is an island filled with several touristy things to do. Somewhere along the way we met up with Mark, also known as Kyosuke from Starmen.Net. He brought his daughter Luca, who is named after Lucca from Chrono Trigger, by the way, and not Luca, the dwarven princess who owned the nightmare dolls from Final Fantasy IV.

They came up from Osaka, southwest of Tokyo, and were going to be staying the night at our place so that Jeff could interview Mark about his time at Starmen.Net.

Luca, by the way, is an incredibly cute child, and she knows it. She was raised in Japan, and although she understands English, she doesn't have a lot of practice speaking it. She was a pleasant, cute addition to our party for a couple of days.

Our first mission upon meeting Mark was to find food, which was as much of a tough task as always. After a few false starts, we settled on a Chinese restaurant we happened to stumble upon.

We were sat at a large, circular table that managed to fit everyone comfortably. We passed around the various menus, since for whatever reason they only had one of each menu for the table, and each menu contained different sorts of things to order. I'm not sure I understood the practice.

Unfortunately, the restaurant was also primarily text-based, heavy in its use of hiragana and kanji, which meant most of us had no idea what anything was. Luckily, with the addition of Mark to our group, we officially had two Japanese speakers to help us ignorant gaijin out!

That said, I have absolutely no recollection of what I ordered. I imagine it was some sort of chicken dish, but for whatever reason chicken was not nearly as frequent an option there as it is in US Chinese restaurants.

What I do remember, though, was the fact that it was the first time I'd been in a "smoking" section of a restaurant for over a decade. Sure enough, a guy at a nearby table was puffing away, which had an unfortunate effect on poor Steve, who's particularly sensitive to those sorts of things.

Anyway, I don't remember the food being bad. I think I was just distracted by Luca the whole time, as was everyone. She was our mealtime entertainment.

Having Mark around to assist Lindsay in her translation duties was great, but we had two more Japanese speakers on the way! I'll talk about them and the rest of our experience at Odaiba next time~

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