I’ve been eating dessert literally every day.
My mom will say, “Oh, do you want cake today?” and I’m like “Yes please” and she delivers with dainty chocolate cake slices crowned with chocolate ganache and strawberry cakes with flounces of light whipped cream. Yet somehow they still all taste very light–it’s the whipped cream, my friends. Asians love their whipped cream.
And every morning, I wake up to a gray skyline hazy with blue, and I see tall, stout buildings rearing up everywhere with cars snaking along slender highways. It’s a breathtaking view.
It’s a very different experience living here in Osaka than visiting as a tourist. And on this second visit, I’ve felt more at home. It’s been more slower-paced, more comfortable, a little wistful. (The fact that I’m mostly relaxing than working also helps just a bit.)
So some things that I have learned:
- Japan is abundant with manna, and manna as in bakeries. Sometimes I’ll savor a bit of time and stroll to a nearby bakery to buy bread and pastries–croissants in a delicate swirl shape and flecked with orange peel, Viennese sausage buns with drizzles of ketchup, little chocolate croissants. They’re all hard to resist. There’s even soft challah-like bread with a hashbrown tucked inside.
- People go to work on Christmas. All the stores are open. So I ate a green tea cake donut at Krispy Kreme to feel a bit American and reveled in the fact that I didn’t have to wait an hour like in Houston.
- Sushi has a hidden code for blubber. The more expensive the sushi, the more fat it has. I saw a fatty tuna piece (cost 4 US dollars) draped over a little bed of rice, and the streaks of fat rippled like a glistening river. Made me feel a little queasy. So I opted for the eel instead (which, by the way, was delicious).
- Japanese people embrace bikers. I tried riding my mother’s little red bike one day and nearly plowed into multiple pedestrians, but no one berated me. (Take notes, Houston.)
- Osaka’s Costco has bulgogi beef bakes. Like a baguette-length kolache mottled with baked cheese and stuffed with sweet, marinated beef. Plus anyone can have a nice detox with an acai berry smoothie. Just another reason why Costco reigns supreme in my heart.
- Coffee cups are tiny. How do people in this city stay awake?
- There was an emotionless audience watching the new Star Wars movie. Except for my family. We were quite the rowdy, emotional bunch.