There’s literally no space for homesickness to kick in when the first four nights in Japan were already spent moving around between two different cities. I was simply amazed and infatuated with the cohesive mixture of urban and rural aura that is Japan. At least I was able to observe that sort of atmosphere in both cities of Nagoya and Inuyama where IES Abroad held their orientation.
We stayed in Daiichi Fuji Hotel in Nagoya for one night before heading off to Inuyama the next morning. Right off the bat, despite the tiny size of the hotel, they offered a diverse array of breakfast dishes, some unique to Japan, while others universal to the world. I’m a giant foodie, someone who is obsessed with any kind of food I happen to encounter, someone who appreciates the way certain fish is cooked or the particular style of eating indicative of cultural importance. That would be me! What left the biggest impression on me within that breakfast selection was Nagoya’s special red bean paste and sweet milk cream combination spread that you smear on a piece of bread. The nutty, yet creamy texture of both ingredients and the contrast of the maroon and beige colors seemed to make the act of eating more fun than it is.
Can you spot the red bean and cream spread?
Although I can write a whole paper ranting on how much I adore food, I should talk about something else as to not bore you to death. As a group of 14 lost kids simply following our two awesome Japanese IES abroad coordinators, we suddenly reached Nagoya station and split into two groups for a mini tour around what seemed more like a confusing maze than a station. I could tell that I’m going to love this city not just because of its cleanliness but also because it’s not too crowded, but enough to see lots of interesting people walking around. Not to mention, everyone from old to young, had great fashion sense! After the tour, we headed straight to our awaiting bus to Inuyama.
Nagoya Station is a maze...
Look out for the golden clock
aka the way you won't get lost in the station
Pink and olive color combo work pretty well
About an hour later, the atmosphere changed 180 degrees but the combination of the rural and the urban was still present. Quiet streets, traditional wooden 1-story houses, mini vans, street food shops painted a perfect picture of a touristy city that was able to preserve the perfect image of the peaceful life in the countryside. Grandpas and grandmas were mainly selling at their small counters fried dango or rice cakes, souvenirs or teapot collection.
A kind grandma gave me a fried dango with the warmest smile
First fried dango!
I bought a dango and tried it for the first time. A personal exploration of the town and its people continued on from there…
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<p>Hi there! I'm Kristie. Currently a junior at Tufts University majoring in Quantitative Economics and exploring other areas of passion like marketing, community service and photography. In my free time, I like coming up with cooking recipes using seasonal ingredients in the market to create dishes that have a hint of my Vietnamese upbringing. Reading food blogs, taking pictures, watching Miyazaki movies basically sum up my life. Having lived in Russia, Vietnam, America, I love traveling and always feel the hunger for a new adventure, a new place and new culture. From friendships to random encounters with strangers, I'm excited to experience it all during my semester abroad in Japan.</p>