June 27, 2017 – Looks better than it tastes

Due to a last minute change in our trip to Nagoya, I ended up with no plans today. I decided to hop on a bicycle to go pick up some souvenirs.

Getting around in “small town” Japan can be challenging; nearly all of the streets are unnamed and filled with buildings that have difficult to read signs. Back in my teaching days I got around using an atlas of local street maps. Today I had the benefit of technology, and got around thanks to the good people at Google Maps. Google had me expertly weaving around streets that were barely wide enough for a car. Without my phone I would have stayed on major routes or gotten completely lost.

My first stop was a toy store, where “Santa” picked up a cool Christmas present for Tiny Dog. I also got some Japanese exclusive Lightning McQueen stuff for my friend’s daughter, a huge fan of Cars. Next I went to Daiso and loaded up on mystery snacks to unleash on my friends at home. I don’t know what “salt tomato” candies are, but I’m going to find out.

Before leaving the shopping center, I stopped in at Mister Donut for a snack. Back in my teaching days I was not a fan of Mister Donut; being a patriotic Canadian, I like my donuts Tim Horton’s style. MD’s recipe must be more suited to Japanese tastes, explaining why The Penpal prefers their donuts to Tim Hortons. We are able to work past our donut differences by agreeing on cheesecake. Mmmm cheesecake!

Since Mister Donut was right next to where I parked my bike, I decided to give them another chance. I went in and chose from a huge assortment of very nice looking donuts, which I supplemented with an ice coffee. The coffee was delicious, the donut did not taste as good as it looked.

After my donut I took a scenic bike ride back home, driving by my old apartment building and stopping in at the 7-11 across the street. This particular 7-11 will always have a warm place in my heard, having provided about 50% of my meals and almost all of the beer I drank at home for the entire time I lived in Numazu. The clerk at the register was the same, and she may have even given me a look of recognition as I entered the store.

Overall I had a fun, easygoing day exploring and shopping. It was one of the most relaxing vacation days I’ve had so far.

Author’s note: Do NOT eat salt tomato candies.

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