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Sunday, August 7, 2011



okay, first, breakfast ;)
melon mochi on the left, banana cake thing on the right. both delicious!

today was the day that we met up with some of the students that i had last fall (when i helped teach english to the foreign exchange students at kent state). i made some great friends, and today was the day we got to visit them in japan! we met natsuki and mari in ikebukuro and off we went to their university (rikkyo university).

isn't it gorgeous?!

there were a lot of kids there because today was "open campus" when high schoolers come to look at the university and check it out. we even got to sit in for part of one of the classes! hah! it was really cool!

they were also serving kakigori, which is basically like a snocone, because it was HOT today!

yum yum yum! here i am with mari (left) and natsuki (center)

soon, my friend tomo joined us, and they led us to a department store. i had no idea what was going on, i thought we were just shopping to escape the heat for a bit, but then we got to a floor with a ton of yukata!

they HUGELY surprised us and told us they were going to buy us our very own yukatas to wear for tonight since we were going to a matsuri!!!! :D oh my gosh, i could not BELIEVE IT! they are too nice! so we looked around, and they picked one out for me to wear and dressed me up in it to see how i looked. they loved it! and so did i!!!!! (more photos later on in the blog). so, we got mine, and then went to get erik's

seriously SO. NICE. of them! real yukatas are not cheap! i was so surprised i wanted to cry from happiness! we put them on later on in the night, so keep reading for that and photos ;)

afterwards, we were hungry, so we went to go get some ramen for lunch! tomo has a favorite place, and OMG it was SOOOOO GOOD.

this style ramen is where you pick up the noodles on the right, dip them into the sauce/broth on the left, and then eat it. it was like a pork/fish combination and it was to DIE for. sooooooo good.

afterwards, what better thing to do than purikura! purikura is basically like, "print club" and it's where you go into a giant photobooth to take pics with your friends! it's very popular among girls in japan. here is an example of one of the booths

they make your eyes bigger and your skin smoother, so the end result for boys sort of makes them look pretty girly hahaha...after you take the photos, you can decorate them digitally on computer screens adding stars, hearts, cupcakes, writing, anything, really. here is the end result! hahaha...

love it! this was our printout, but they also e-mail the photos too, so i'll get those soon from our friends :)

we walked around a bit more and i thought this was cute

then my friend kato joined us, and we went to the imperial palace where the emperor lives! 

here is kato, tomo, and mari (left to right)

tomo saw the tokyo tower from a distance! really cool to see it from here!

so beautiful...

haha! i know this is sort of random, but someone on the textfugu forums really wanted to see japanese ducks, so here you go!!!! they were far away, but i got them for you! ;)

more pics of the grounds...

so pretty!!!
but then....

oh. no. it's okay. it's just a statue. phew! ;)

then it was time to get into our yukatas!!!!!!!!!! a store let us use their changing rooms to change into them, and a lady working there even helped natsuki by putting mine on me! so nice of her!

here we are!!!!!!!!! in traditional yukata!

i LOVED the bow in the back, and my hair piece!!!!!!!!!!

on the subway hahahaha ;) 

and here we are arriving to the matsuri! it was AMAZING to see in person!

so beautiful!

drums at the top and music being played while hundreds of people gathered around

those women in the center were dancing, and everyone on the ground was following them and doing the same dance. so cool!

look at all the people! this is just ONE section of the whole circle!

us having the BEST time!!!! we were SO happy!
in the back is kato and tomo. in the front is natsuki, erik, me, and mari :)

afterwards, we waited at the station because my friend ayumi was meeting with us too! i took this photo while we waited :)

everyone in yukata everywhere!!!

after ayumi joined us, we headed off to get some dinner. we were going to a monjayaki/okonomiyaki place!!!
here are some pics during our beautiful night walk!

AND WE SAW THIS!!!!!!!!!

so rare! a cicada coming out of it's shell!!!!!! unbelievable! 

here we are at the restaurant! japan is so smart...the spaces are all so small so the seats are where you store your bags!

let to monjayaki begin! monjayaki is like okonomiyaki, but more watery. we got fish egg kind! those are the red fish eggs on the left

here it is simmering for a bit

the dots are fish eggs!

omg it was sooooo good. i WISH they had these kinds of things in america! you cook your own stuff! they just give you a super hot plate in the center of the table, and it's great for friends to gather by! but i dont think they trust us in america to not burn ourselves haha...or if someone burns themselves, they will probably try to sue the restaurant in america or something....sad, because i want this in america!


next was this one! pork okonomiyaki

you just mix up all the stuff in the bowl and pour it onto the griddle, wait a bit, then flip it. it's like a savory pancake.

erik brushing on the okonomiyaki sauce :)

tada! so pretty!

mari cutting it


i was stuffed by this point, but they ordered 2 other kinds. clam, and this one here is natto! i tried a bite of both even though my tummy was full and they were both yummy!!!

here i am with natsuki and ayumi!

and here is the restaurant from the outside :)

what an amazing day and night. seriously...we have the BEST FRIENDS!!!!!!!! they showed us so many amazing things, and i still cannot believe they bought us yukata :) we thanked them so much. 
here is the beautiful walk home:



  1. I love kakigori- I am reading your blog posts and I keep adding more and more things to eat and do on our “next time” list. I remember seeing the “kaki” flags but we had always just eaten something and couldn’t put any more food into our mouths.

    That is so cool that you got to go to a university! The pictures looked awesome.

    I NEED to know where you went to get tsukemen for lunch- do you remember the name?

    I HAVE seen those purikura, but we never went into one. ((off to add to my “next time” list) Thoise pictures turned out SO cute- SO Japanese!

    The yukatas look great on you both. What’s funny is that my sister was at the same matsuri as you! Going to a matsuri was one of the top things I wanted to take Darin to, but the ones that we were scheduled while we were there were all cancelled due to the recent events. Maybe next time for us… Did you guys eat anything? Any street food?

    Both your monjayakji and okonomiyaki looked great. Don’t you love the mini paddles you get to use to eat with (instead of forks or ohashi?)

    What a great day!

  2. gah, i'm sorry, don't remember the name of the tsukemen place unfortunately, but it's was my friend's favorite, so he probably knows the name! i will ask him for you!

    and lol about purikura! it was really fun! i had always wanted to do it, but i know it's on a timer, and also all in japanese, so i figured it would be best to do it with my japanese friends too! that way we could all do it together since they are pros at it haha

    thanks about the yukatas! it was such a huge surprise! and omg your sister was at the same one?! crazy! it was so fun and cool to see!!! i really likes the lanterns, music, and dancing :) we didn't eat anything there since my friends were planning on taking us to that monjayaki place, but i bet the food there would have been good! it was SO crowded and SO hot lol...omg i was sweating so much! but, that's like...everyday while walking around sightseeing right now. SO HUMID.

    and yeah i thought the mini paddles were so great! i had never used them before, so they taught us what to do with them. so cool!

  3. The photos of the palace where the emporer lives are so gorgeous! Looks like another amazing day!

  4. awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww I love the yukata!! It's so pretty!!!! Thanks so much for sharing all the pictures!! :)