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Browsing Posts published in December, 2009

Boeuf! Haw haw!

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フォワグラと牛フィレ肉のロッシーニ風"

The night before leaving Japan for Christmas back in the US, I grabbed a late dinner. Had a beef filet Rossini style, which has foie gras and a truffle sauce over it. Sounds kind of fancy, right? Except that it only cost me about 1400 yen (USD $15) and it was at Denny’s. Whaaaat?

Obviously, Denny’s in Japan is a lot different from “real” Denny’s in the US. For one thing, their breakfast food is a joke. It’s pretty much the same kind of generic “Western breakfast” stuff you can get anywhere in Japan, even at Yoshinoya in the mornings: 1 egg, two mini sausages, and a cabbage salad. There’s no Grand Slam, no Moons Over My Hammy, no other disgustingly greasy and delicious American breakfast foods. And the pancakes. OH GOD DON’T GET ME STARTED ON J-DENNY’S PANCAKES. Too late. They’re about the size of what we might call silver dollar pancakes if the chef took the size of a silver dollar as a literal unit of measurement. And you only get like 3 of them and they’re dry and gross. Yet somehow they try to market this as a real stack of pancakes you would get at real Denny’s when in reality you’d get more volume if you get your breakfast set with the half piece of toast they also offer. Ugh. In short: don’t ever get J-Denny’s pancakes if you’re expecting real pancakes. You will be angry, disappointed, hungry, and scarred for the rest of your life.

Anyway, the filet I had was good. I’m actually starting to mind J-Denny’s less and less. Even though they have none of the menu items you can get in the US, they have sandwiches and pasta and stuff that are decent, and they have pretty good coffee. Not really college student stay up all night coffee, but decently good coffee. It’s a little more expensive than the other J-family restaurants, but for variety it’s OK. I guess recently they’re trying to improve their image even more, offering gourmet ingredients in wannabe fancy dishes like the Rossini filet I had, or the truffle and prosciutto pasta they offered last month. Kind of interesting, although I’d trade it all for a Breakfast Dagwood or a Moons with fries.

Fuggedaboudit

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December is winding down to a close, taking down 2009 with it and ending the era of years that we call “oh-something” even though I’ll bet people will still be saying “oh-ten” next year which I suppose isn’t totally inaccurate. I’m still not really clear on what the shortened name for 2010 is going to be. “Ten?” “Oh ten?” “Twenty-ten?” “Steve?”

That’s not important for another few days though. More important is for me to actually get around to writing a blog that I’ve been putting off for weeks, to record the events of the last month of 2009, not really for any particular reason other than me feeling like I should blog more than I do, regardless of the fact that it doesn’t really matter if I write on here or not. But I’ve already started so I might as well finish this up.

The first part of this month was spent with the dreaded JLPT test, which I signed up for back in September knowing very well that I wouldn’t actually get around to studying, and thus have a very small chance of passing. And hey I was right about that! I actually studied for about a week, primarily sitting in “family restaurants” for long periods of time drinking coffee and checking my e-mail and Facebook on my phone while not actually looking at the small stack of books I had brought with me. The test came and went without much incidence. I had to travel up to Abiko city to take the test, which is located approximately 30 kilometers east of THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. As with last year’s failed attempt at passing JLPT level 1, the room was 99% Asians who probably actually bothered to study for more than a week. Oops. At the very least on the way back from the boonies I went to Kashiwa city for the first time where I stumbled upon a Kua’aina Burger shop, which is absolutely awesome and it made me forget that I had just spent more time taking (failing) a test than I had sleeping the night before.

The next part of December that’s worth writing about was the annual Bonenkai, written 忘年会 in Japanese meaning “party to forget the year” which I’m pretty sure sounds like a really depressing and sad reason to have a party. Or is it just me? Anyway contrary to the somewhat suicidal-sounding name, Bonenkais are a lot of fun every year and although it’s kind of a pain in the butt to organize a party with around 30 people at a restaurant where you have to worry about reservations and stuff, followed by a karaoke reservation where nearly everyone’s RSVP is “oh I don’t know yet,” it was totally worth it. I also kind of figured that since there’s a strong possibility that I’ll be leaving Japan before next December, this would be my last Bonenkai so I might as well live it up and make the most of it. Was able to organize everyone together for a good party, so I was satisfied. Thanks to everyone who made it out!

I’m kind of forgetting other events of December, but JLPT and Bonenkai were the most important before coming back home for the holidays. Will write more later.

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