After two months in Japan, I have finally figured out that socializing in Japan involves a lot of food. I think this is because of the structure of class periods.
Classes at Nanzan are structured into four periods. There are two morning periods, then there is a small break for lunch before afternoon classes start. The latest period starts at 3:15 p.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. Sometimes you can grab dinner with your friends after the last period of classes, but I find that lunch is more popular. Almost everyone is out from class for lunch and for commuters, it’s a convenient time to spend time with classmates.
From what I’ve experienced, finding cheap lunch and dinner options in Japan is fairly easy. You can get a filling meal for $3-$7 depending on how much you get. There are also many small restaurants around Nanzan so you can always try out a new place. You also have some American fast food, such as McDonald’s, but I haven’t gone yet because you can get better food for less at smaller locally-owned restaurants. Also, if you have a seafood aversion, like me, don’t worry because you there are many non-seafood options available.
One of my favorite chains that I’ve tried is Mos Burgers. Mos burger is a Japanese fast-food restaurant that sells burgers, fries, and vegan burgers! If you are looking for fast-food and don’t recognize any other restaurants, I recommend Mos Burgers. Japan does burgers right. I have never tasted better burgers in my life that I always crave burgers, but I try to opt for Japanese food.
Also, while you could survive on eating out every day, dormitory students also cook! Homestay students have breakfast and dinner provided by their host family. Being Mexican, I love spicy food. Finding spicy food, however, is difficult. So, I did what any reasonable person would do. I bought a juice blender, because it was surprisingly difficult to find an actual blender and made my own salsa! Personally, I do a mix of cooking and eating out.
Going out to eat is something I enjoy with friends! It also is a popular option with my Japanese friends! I also think it’s a part of getting older, but I enjoy navigating menus in Japanese and attempting to figure out what is what. It’s also a good way to start learning new kanji and memorizing new words! Since I have been going out to eat with friends, I have improved immensely at ordering. Before, I had no idea what I was doing, but I can now order semi-fluently. I also don’t feel as nervous anymore interacting with Japanese employees.
Anyway, I find that going out to eat with friends is a really nice way to go out and explore the area. It also is one of my favorite ways to keep my social life alive in Japan. Also, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to Japanese students! They are very welcoming and will exchange Line IDs with you!
Eating out is a cost, however, and if you’re like me, then you’ll probably not want to go out too often but try to take the chances when they arise. I recommend this with all new experiences in Japan! However, don’t forget you can always bring a homemade meal to campus and eat lunch at the cafeteria with your friends!
Until next time,
P.S – Bring Tums because your stomach will be upset for a while as your body becomes accustomed to the different food!
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<p>I like rainy days. Once I saw a triple rainbow. I'm just a female Latinx low-income student studying abroad in Japan, learning to navigate an environment completely different from home. Let's get this パン.</p>