Today after work I stopped into the Japanese grocery store. I prefer these to the ones available on base because lets face it, the produce is WAY better (it's not brought in on a cargo ship/plane), they don't use pesticides here, and organic is a way of life not an expensive trendy option.
In shopping at the Japanese grocery store you are always taking a risk, unless of course you speak Japanese or can read one of the three alphabets that they utilize...none of those I can do, but I enjoy the adventure! It's always fun to get home and prepare dinner wondering what exactly it is that you're eating/cooking!
One of the things that I love about the Japanese grocery store is the size of the carts and the system that you must follow. The carts are tiny, picture the smallest carts available at US grocery stores and make it even smaller, now you get the idea. They literally are crafted to fit a basket (also smaller than their US counterparts) on it. This is the proper way to commandeer your shopping vessel.
So in between produce, what I believe was tofu, and then the very fresh fish section was a woman set up (Costco style) with samples. She totally roped me in with her display of very bad English, the words she did know was music to my ears "Okinawan treat". Speak no more. I stirred the mixture around, it felt like a gooey pudding and had some sort of brown sauce on top (syrup?), following the lead of my eager Japanese counterparts I shot the treat right down the hatch...and almost gagged it back up. This was not a treat. First of all the consistency was horrible. Very thick, gooey. The "sauce" was like a peanut/soy sauce. Not at all what I had hoped for when she said "treat". I learned a very valuable lesson today, don't let the Japanese sample ladies make you the brunt of their jokes! Just say no.
I was able to get some amazing items at the grocery store, so all in all it was a win! Japanese pumpkin is amazing, if you've never had it, find it somewhere...immediately...and steam it. Beni-Imo also amazing. It's the Okinawan purple sweet potato. Japanese cucumbers, fantastic. I purchased some sushi for dinner, I'm hoping it was tuna, but I guess I'll figure that out when I take a few bites tonight. I was also able to get a steamer that will fit into the "skillet" that I have to cook with in the hotel. This should help with all of these amazing veggies that I now have!