I’m Nicole and I am studying abroad for a year at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. Although this is not my first time studying abroad and being in Japan, my first month has been quite an adventure. Along with hectic orientation schedules, moving in to a new home, and adjusting to a new environment and culture, study abroad students will explore and discover all sorts of quirky or cool things that they will remember for a long time. Here are a few things that I discovered during my 1st month in Japan that have stuck out to me the most.
Kaiten-zushi (conveyer belt sushi)
Conveyer belt sushi is nothing very new in San Francisco or other areas in California but the food and drinks you can order at Japanese conveyer sushi belt places is something new to me. I love sushi and I can be picky about my sashimi (raw fish). Luckily for me and other avid sushi/sashimi lovers, you can order very-good quality sushi for really cheap prices.
When you go to a conveyer belt sushi bar, you are given a number plate that tells you where to sit. Once you get to your table, you can take as much sushi as you want (and can eat) from the conveyer belt next to your table. Depending on the sushi, the price can range from 100 yen – 200 yen ($1-2); the prices are indicated by the color of the plate the sushi is on. If you can’t seem to find the sushi you want or have a special order, you can order your sushi on the little screen at your table.
In addition, you can order different types of drinks (Cola, melon soda, beer, cocktails, coffee, apple juice, etc.), appetizers and noodles (fried chicken, udon, etc.), dessert (cheesecake, ice cream, 3-colored dango (sticky rice cake), mont blanc, and even pineapple halves!), and even unusual sushi combinations (hamburger sushi, seared salmon sushi with cheese, tuna sushi, etc). The prices do vary but I have not seen anything above 300 yen ($3)– what a deal!
There are several cafes in Tokyo and Japan that are dedicated towards entertaining their guests with certain animals. These animal cafes can range from dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and even owls and reptiles! I recently went to my first bird cafe (Kotori Cafe) in Omotesando with a friend. Depending on when you go you may be able to get a seat right away (my friend and I did) or you can wait up to 30 minutes for a table.
Once you are seated, you can order bird-themed treats and drinks. Below is a picture of my bird-themed cheese cake. It was delicious but for some reason it reminded me of that scary clown from the horror movie “Saw”…
You can pay 500 yen ($5) to hold and touch a couple of birds for 5 minutes and take pictures. Don’t worry, there aren’t any birds that freely fly around the cafe to poop on your head!(: I’ve never held a bird before so it was a cute experience and the birds were surprisingly calm.
The cafe even had a small store selling bird-themed things that ranged from post cards, mugs, bags, notebooks, etc. If you are ever in Tokyo and want to visit this cafe I inserted a couple of links for you to check out. Enjoy!
And… the invasion of Godzilla?!
I realize that Tokyo and Japan is known for some of its “crazy” and “unique” culture differences foreigners are not used to. And I have had my fair share of seeing “unusual” things in Japan.. but nothing prepared me for GODZILLA!
I’m just joking, this wasn’t a real monster. But this thing was huge and it actually moved. Even my native Japanese friends were surprised to see this. However, this type of entertainment is nothing new to Tokyo and I will see more like this in the future! It definitely made a strong impression on me- now I can tell my friends that Godzilla actually “exists” in Japan!