It's weird to think that next Christmas, my family and I may be living in another state. School's almost done, and I'm excited to take my last steps on what has been a long, long road. But, I won't lie and say that I'm not scared. I'm more comfortable with school. I know how it works.
These past 4 years have gone by more quickly than even I imagined. Sometimes I fear I forgot to enjoy the moment and just powered through looking toward my goal. Now that I'm almost done and will have to start working full time, I'm already starting to miss studying with friends and getting Christmas and summer breaks. Being grown up isn't half as fun as growing up, but there are other just as important perks I guess.
I hope that pharmacy will end up being as good a career as it seemed in 2007. Unfortunately, gone are the $30k sign-on bonuses and even the abundance of entry-level jobs in the valley. But with a residency, I hope I can avoid counting by fives and dealing with insurance the rest of my life. Here's hoping.
Do you remember the Pulitzer-prize winning author of "The Jungle"? You know, the novel "that exposed conditions in the U.S. meat packing industry, causing a public uproar that contributed in part to the passage a few months later of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act." Or maybe you're aware that another of his works, "Oil!", was loosely adapted into the Oscar nominated and awarded "There Will Be Blood," a stern story about greed, religion, and manipulation.
But did you know that one of the most prominent political writers of the 20th century was behind this? The world will forever be a different place.
When was the last time you went to 7-ELEVEN besides to fill up your tank? In America, 7-ELEVEN is only good for one thing: Slurpees. In Japan, however, 7-ELEVEN is the mecca of delicious snack foods. And, they're literally everywhere. According to wikipedia, of the 34,200 7-ELEVEN stores around the globe, 12,349 of them are in Japan with 1,577 in Tokyo alone.
Sounds like a lot, right? That's just the 7-ELEVENs! In Japan there are other convenience stores that borrow the 7-ELEVEN business plan and they're as ubiquitous. They bring the tally to 42,345 total convenience stores in Japan, a country the size of Montana.
There's Lawson! Family Mart!
Sunkus...really. or even ampm...
But the shear quantity of stores doesn't make them good, no. That's left to the convenience and the selection of delectables.
Here, for instance, you see an amazing assortment of beverages.
A good chunk of them are coffees and teas, but there are still many fruity drinks, drinkable yogurts, and assorted sodas.
Here are some vintage Japanese sodas (Cheerio and Ramune--it tastes like Smarties, in a good way! and you have to open it by popping a marble through the neck. Fun!)
It tastes like the sweat of a mild, gatorade-laden grapefruit...quite refreshing actually. Calpis water is great too, despite the name.
Here's a shot of a great variety of tasty pastry-type breads. I don't know why, but bread in Japan is so soft and fluffy. It blows my mind! They borrowed the word from the Portuguese I think ("pan")
Breads like this MelonPan Karepan (curry-filled) And Dorayaki (technically it's a pancake) Instead of nasty hotdogs, we get fantastic box lunches and yummy onigiri (rice balls). Even hot snacks...like nikuman (steamed meat buns?) Good for warming up your hands on a cold winter's day. and Oden (floating fishcakes and what-not)
This is the closest thing approaching the nastiness of a rotating American 7-11 hotdog.
How about some candy? Chewy and delicious, hence the name: Hi-Chew. Or maybe some gum? This "Sweetie" gum also tastes like a mild grapefruit-- a popular Japanese flavor. Here's some pudding, "purin." It's kinda like flan with a caramel sauce on top. Some gaijin (foreigners) hate the stuff, but I'm rather partial to it. And if a convenience store isn't convenient enough for you, there's always a vending machine.
("Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita, with about one machine for every twenty-three people.  ")
Banana Chocolate Bit Waffled Ice Cream
So convenient. So delicious. I guess when America is as tightly populated as Japan, we can look forward to closer waystations of deliciousness. Until then...
Not that you really care but here are some delicious Japanese foods that I love...very much. (Incidentally, yes, I am hungry.)
Gyoza (pork potstickers)
Miso Soup Soumen (chilled; a summertime food) Raamen (this is how it's done!) Shabu Shabu (see Ghengis Khan (sp)) Soba (buckwheat noodles) Takoyaki (octopus filled doughballs) Tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) Udon Yakiniku Yakisoba This list is by no means all inclusive (Sushi could take up its own blog post). Next time though, we may look at the Japanese convenience store delicacies. Until then...
Addendum... As per Cameron's Request
Japanese Curry Sukiyaki! Ofukuronoaji--- Nikujaga (meat and potatoes! and carrots...)