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Why Write A Blog? & Japan Day 2

March 20, 2018

Author: Bianca Yang
Email: ipacifics@gmail.com

I’m writing this post in Fukuoka, Japan. I will be in Japan for the week and then in Taiwan for the week after this, up until 3/31. I will be on Kyushu for the entirety of my stay in Japan. I am traveling with Signet Tours. Signet Tours really is an excellent tour company. They really take care of their customers, from food to accommodations to the buses to the experiences. The tour guides and the company will all willingly do their best to fulfill any of your special requests. The tour guides are all very competent and knowledgeable and responsible. I am sure you will find very little to complain about regarding things the company is in charge of if you go on a tour with them.

I’ve always been disappointed by standard Japanese food you can get in the basements of department stores. Granted, this isn’t high quality food, but I assume it’s what most Japanese eat on a daily basis, if they aren’t cooking.

Before I continue with my complete disinterest in “real” Japanese food, let me share some produce prices in USD, assuming a 100 JY/USD exchange rate:

  1. Orange: $1 - $1.60
  2. Cantaloupe: $82 - $330
  3. Bananas: $3 for 5
  4. Apple: ~$10
  5. Strawberry: $15 for a pack of ~15

Some other produce was sold in sets. For example, a set of an apple, some oranges, and some grapes, perhaps. I don’t remember exactly the prices I saw, but they aren’t any less cheap than the prices I just shared.

Before I talk about today’s disappointing department store meal, let me tell you about yesterday’s food experience.

Yesterday, since lunch was not included, I decided to try some Hakata ramen. I have no idea about the rating of the place we tried, since it we just chose some restaurant in the Canal City mall behind our hotel, but I am pretty sure it was authentic. I was really hoping that I would get some amazingly delicious bowl of ramen with fall-apart-in-your-mouth-and-perfectly-seasoned chashu, but what I got was no better than what I’ve had at Shin-Sen-Gumi in Rosemead. I don’t like Shin-Sen-Gumi. I didn’t like yesterday’s ramen. I’m sorely disappointed.

Today, dinner was no included, so we looked around the Tenjin Underground Shopping Center for food. This underground center is really a wonderland. It spans 12 streets north/south, and it probably has everything you could ever want to buy. We ended up going to Daimaru, a Japanese department store for our meal. Other people in our group split themselves up among conveyor belt sushi and ramen and baked pigs feet. I wasn’t particularly hungry, and two circles around the department store food section didn’t inspire any appetite, so I gave up and bought a plain potato croquette and some yakitori. My travel companions chose some other yakitori and some tonkatsu (NOT TONKOTSU) bento and takoyaki. I don’t like takoyaki, so I have no idea how that tasted, but the rest was uninspiring. Ah…I long for the taste of Taiwan.

I feel like the Japanese foods I like all have to be bought at a restaurant to be good:

  1. Tonkotsu ramen (not sure how I feel about other ramen, since I love the fatty saltiness of hakata ramen).
  2. Katsu
  3. Curry, especially with katsu
  4. Eel rice
  5. Nigiri and rolls

Japanese bread is also sad. There are piles upon piles of bakery as far as the eye can see in Japan, but I have yet to see a Japanese bakery that arouses any desire in me. Bread should have life to it. It should glow with freshness and the life that the baker put into it. I feel like all the Japanese bread I’ve seen has been dry and lifeless. Everybody’s taste is different, but I think some things about food presentation and quality are universal.

Now for some good things. I found raspberry Kit Kats again! This is by far my favorite flavor of Kit Kat. The raspberry is so nicely strong against the white chocolate base. This version is also not overwhelmingly sweet. I bought some Beni Imo Kit Kats yesterday because it’s a Kyushu special (I think), but was sorely disappointed because it tasted nothing like purple potatoes. Beni Imo was also insanely sweet. (Apologies for mixing the bad into the good section).

Also, the candy in the image is amazing! It’s so juicy and tasty. It’s also limited edition, so I’ll have to slowly savor each piece.

I almost forgot to talk about the weather. Today was quite cold. We went out to Yufuin, and it was probably near 30 deg Fahrenheit. Fukuoka, when it’s cold, is no loser to Hokkaido! The rain held itself together yesterday and this morning, but we really got some water this evening. We spent most of our time inside, so the weather was not a huge impediment to our travels.

Now to talk about why I write a blog. I felt recently that I should stop writing to an audience and that my blog should just be for myself. A couple days after I had that thought, I realized that I had little reason to record interesting thoughts on my blog. By the time I have time to write my blog, I’ve likely already satisfied my intellectual curiosity about whatever was interesting to me that day and have nothing more to say on the topic. Thus, the only real motivator for my writing my blog is the potential audience I can reach. I don’t know who that audience is, and I don’t care right now. All I need is to maintain this sense of purpose for an unidentified audience while I write.