Sleeping in church? not quite

Mito Travel Blog

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Like I said on the previous entry, I couldn't sleep. And I mean not one bit. I didn't even try. I stayed up till 5 playing excite truck, and the sun decided it was tired of sleeping, so he joined me. I decided to go for a run, since my thumbs were super sore by this point. The run was great. The street was empty save some people walking, and the weather was brisk. What a great way to start the day!

By the time I got back, I was finally a little tired, so I showered then hit the sack for a few hours. Whenever everyone else was up, I finally rose and got ready. Today we were going to church as it was Sunday morning. I had been to Mito on Sunday's before, but I had never gone to church with my brother. I didn't really know what to expect, because I knew they did part of the sermon in Japanese.

We got there right on time so thankfully there was none of the usual awkward talk to strangers. The service was good for what I understood of it. The songs you could either sing in English or Japanese, and they had the translations for both on the projector. There was a guest speaker from the states, so that was cool to see. He was from Chicago, but was born in Australia (or New Zealand). He had gone to college with the pastor or at least one of the pastors from the church.

When the sermon was over, I was introduced to everyone, and so were a few other guests. There was a holiday for old people sometime that week I think I understood, so the older members of the church were presented with a gift card to somewhere. Once we were dismissed, we hung around for a bit to talk to people. I knew several of my brothers friends from past trips, so that was nice to met up with them again. We were going to go out to eat with the guest speaker, but decided against it. Instead, we headed over to the Keisei mall to eat.

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After church, we went out for lunch, as I did not cook pancakes like I did the day before so we were hungry. We went down the road to the Keisei mall, or at least what I have unanimously dubbed the Keisei mall. It's a huge department store in central Mito with Keisei on top. I assume it is probably just an add for the railway, so to be safe since we all know what assuming does, it is the Keisei mall! This is a pretty sweet store. It is probably 800 stories tall and from the top, you can actually look out around Mito and the surrounding prefecture! All of the dinning options are on the top floor, so naturally we headed here. We decided to get Chinese food as I had not had the Japanese version. I assumed it would be far inferior to the well respected, cheap American version, but I was wrong. I have no clue what I got, but it was a spicy chili based ramen sort of thing. It was lovely! And it left my mouth a little on the fiery side, which is always welcome.

We notied that just down the road we could have gone to a "western (as in wild-west) type restaurant. I wish we would have gone here for 1 reason only. They had a bunch of relic signs with cowboy expressions on them. One is probably my favorite sign I have ever seen anywhere, as I am sure not many Japanese understand the depth or full meaning (not even the guy in the cowboy shop down the road from my brothers apartment). The sign stated "Wipe the shit from your shoes before entering." Truely poetic in my humble opinion!

Anywho, we continued down the 800 stories marveling (or at least I was) at everything you could ever need or imagine. There were whole floors for clothes, toys, home products, etc, until we got to the bottom floor. This was a grocery store that I think I have been to every time I have been to Mito. It never gets old. There are all kinds of food here that you don't see anywhere outside of Japan. Fruits and veggies, meats, fish, roe, any kind of prepared Japanese food you want, dried fish, dried sake (ok, porbably not), imported goods, sweets, everything. I love grocery stores, and I really love foreign grocery stores. We wandered around a bit, until we got seperated from each other due to the size of the place. It took about 30 minutes of searching, and of me thnking I had pissed my brother off somehow without knowing it, which in turn lead to him ditching me here. This was not the case, and we did eventually meet up and head back home without any more hiccups.

alicegourmet says:
Japanese loves Chinese food. That's why you can find Chinese food there. Really like the Japanese stores because they have a lot of fun products. I definitely will spend hours in checking out the stores.
Posted on: Nov 22, 2009

Once back at home, we played a little more excite truck, which was the recurring theme of this trip. I eventually decided it was time to cook, so off to the kitchen I went. This kitchen is probably the smallest I have ever had the pleasure of cooking in, and it is a little different than an American style kitchen. There was a two burner stove, a sink, a microwave oven (an actually oven option in it, which I had never used before), a toaster oven, and a fridge. I am used to cooking with my own pots and pans, so it's always a challenge to switch out. It didn't take me long to get used to theirs though and off I went.

The first step was to make the Italian Sausage and brown it with the onions, I then turned this into the tomato ragu for the lasagna. This required both stoves and the biggest pots he had, which weren't big. Next was the noodles. Then I prepared the cheese part. Since I think a 9x13" pan is illegal in Japan, I had to use 3 smaller pans to assembly. I was just waiting for this whole process to turn out really bad, and not work, but to my surprise the lasagna turned out really good. The toaster oven and the microwave oven both worked really well, and at the same time! I am surprised it didn't blow a circuit breaker, but like I said before, the new apartment is new and improved! The lasagna ended up having a nice golden cheese topping, and was heated through. What more could you ask for!

alicegourmet says:
To be honest, I think most of the Americans are being spoiled by the space they had in US. I bet it's a great challenge for you to cook in a small space. I'm glad that the lasagna turned out good. :)
Posted on: Nov 22, 2009
photo by: ErinPatty