How could I have left out the best part of my Saturday excursion? Stupid katakana, distracting me…
Anyway, as the band concert wound down, I was starting to get hungry. I’d eaten a late breakfast and a scanty lunch (a bunch of raw okra, and seriously, it was awesome at the time), and so now that it was 4pm or so, I was ready for a snack at least. I began imagining what I would eat when I got home at 5, since the bus left at 4:30 from the stop near the school.
But the school nurse was there! And she said she also lived in my part of town (rather close to my apartment, actually), and offered to drive me home! Huzzah. People drove me home from school every day for about the first week I was in the office. It actually got kind of frustrating because I wanted to try doing it on my own, catching the bus, handling shit and all… but after two days of catching the latecoming slowish bus home, I began to really appreciate the rides, so I am now quite happy when someone offers to take me back to my side of town.
One of the ALTs back in Yamasaki had been texting me, so I was in a mild hurry, which only made me happier not to be taking the bus. I made broken Japanese conversation with the school nurse until we got about halfway back. Then she gestured to what looked like a grocery store over to the right and pulled in, asking me something. I shrugged to myself, figuring, whatever, if she needs to get a few things on the way home, who am I to complain, right? I’m still getting back sooner than if I waited for that bus. Then it occurred to me that a grocery store has food, and since I had money with me, I could buy a snack. Win!
As we approached the store, she pointed out a sort of takoyaki stand. Takoyaki is… well I don’t want to say “octopus balls” because that gives the wrongest impression I can imagine. But, that’s what it is. Some kind of batter with stuff like green onions and other savories, and chunks of octopus. Cooked up nice and hot and round in a sort of little dumpling. Yes. So my thought at this point is, screw buying an apple, I’ma get me some octopus balls!
But then I realize that our school nurse is trying to tell me she wants to buy me some. So far, most Japanese people I’ve met have been really curious as to how I’m handling Japanese food. Can you eat sushi? They want to know. Even with raw fish?! You can even use chopsticks? They don’t really know who they’re dealing with, right? That I’ll eat nearly anything. So I’m not sure whether she wants me to try octopus balls because, as an American, this will be new to me and exciting (and/or freak me out), or what. But she’s being so nice, and I really am hungry, so I let her. While they cook we glance through the store. When we get back outside, someone else is making taiyaki, which is like a waffle batter with redbean paste or custard cream inside. In this case, shaped like a fish. It looks and smells so good that I feel the need to buy one of these also. But before I can begin to voice that opinion, Utsumi-sensei asks for one of each (redbean and creme) for each of us, to go with our takoyaki.
There are those fishy pastries now. Yes they are on top of my new computer. What?
I bit into one of them as we got into the car, and the redbean paste was so freakin’ hot, it burned the hell out of my tongue (like, my tongue actually bled the next day.. I’m not kidding around and neither was this pastry). So I put it back in its little paper bag until I got home. To take these photos and enjoy my really really delicious afternoon.
Did I mention I love redbean paste sweets? I do. And these takoyaki were killer. When I get a car, I’m going to that stand. I’m taking all my friends with me.