Saturday, September 12, 2009

My natto experience

There's a school bus??

Bright and early Thursday morning, me and a bunch of the other newcomers were picked up at the house to go to the city hall a five-minute drive away. We applied for alien cards, which will serve as our I.D. while we're here. Since it'll take a month 'til it's ready, some of us paid for a temporary one, so we could go and get a cell phone.
After going to the city hall, Catrine and I walked to one of the many restaurants in this town. I've said that I wanted to try natto, and now I had the opportunity.
Natto is slimey, fermented beans with a stong odor. It was served with a bowl of rice, miso vegetable soup and a raw egg. Soy souce, some mustard and spring onion was added to the natto and stired together, before adding it all into the bowl of rice, together with the raw egg.

Sliney, slimey! When your eating it, it's impossible not to have long, brownish and slimey
strings hanging down your chin.

I was a bit sceptical, but as always, trying to keep an open mind.

It was disgusting. The whole batter of rice and fermented beans were soaked in foamy, raw egg. I only managed a mouthful, and spent the rest of the meal trying to pull one of the mom-I-want-to-be-excused-from-the-table-but-I--haven't-finished-the-meal-lets-try-to-make-it-all-compact-and-jam-it-all-to-one-side-so-it'll-look-like-I've-eaten-a-lot-tactic. I felt a bit like mr. Bean, accidentally ordering a tartar steak.
When we paid the sweet waiter who'd kindly made the effort of preparing my natto at our table by request, asked what I thought. Kine-Kine would have said "it was awful", but Kine-in-Japan-Kine diplomatically said "I think if you eat ナット every day, you will be very 元気 (healthy)".
After my delicious lunch we went to Wondergoo, one of the many stores selling cellphones in Togane. We picked out a phone, signed a few papers (selling our soul, again), and when to McDonald's for some ice cream while they charged the phone for us and settled everything with the telepone company.
McFlurry with mint and Oreos

Vending machines seen everywhere in Japan

Togane, the town I live in Chiba, is a pretty quiet town, with many restaurants, car shops and stores. There's not really any public transport system her, such as frequent buses running, but there's a train station where we can get to school, Tokyo etc. People only use cars or bicycles, and since we haven't got a hold of our rented bicycles yet, we have to walk everywhere. And it's faaar. The (walking) Norwegians are the only foreigners I've seen in this town so far. School doesn't start until next week, but then I'll probably see more people.

My phone opens this way too, because the Japanese like to watch TV on their cellphones. It's a bit too flashy for me. Give me the good old Nokia 3310 any day. The manual was only in Japanese (Doh!), and it's starting to become an inside joke among me and my friends how we can't figure out our phones. Japanese cell phones don't have text messaging either - people send each other e-mails on the phone instead.
Slurping loudly when eating is considered polite in Japan. But talking on the phone while aboard public transportation is considered as very rude. All of the phones even have it's on pre-set "manner-mode" button, so you quickly can shut off all sound when you're on the train.
In Japan they're extremely neat when it comes to sorting their garbage. You have to buy special garbage bags in the store, and if you dare put garbage that's in the wrong bag in the container outside the house, it won't get picked up. Public areas are also very clean, as you can imagine. But - there's never any trash cans around! I feel like a spend a lot of my time looking for a trash can, whenever I'm outside and need to throw somthing. And when I finally find one it's usually only for bottles, or something. So I often wind up putting the trash in my bag to throw it at home.

1 comment:

Dag said...

"Det er brusautomater overalt i Japan, og jammen var det ikke noen også på toppen av Fuji. "

Gærne japanere