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Buntaro

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Soba (そば) (蕎麦) is another popular Japanese noodle dish. It is different from other types of Japanese noodles in that it is made from buckwheat. Watch as he dips soba into one kiind of sauce at 3:02 and another at 4:44. In addition, during the Edo Period, soba was said to "revitalize your health." Find out why at 3:51.


Cold soba noodles, dipped in sauce, are a favorite dish to be eaten during the hot summer. Take a look at soba noodles served at a restaurant in New York City.

 
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Yakisoba (fried soba noodles) (やきそば) (焼きそば) is another popular noodle dish in Japan. Take a look at 3:28 to see fried yakisoba ready to be served.

 

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We often see yakisoba for sale at street booths at festivals in Japan. Here is a video that shows typical street stalls at a festival. (A big part of going to a festival in Japan is buying something from the street stalls along the streets at the festival.)

Take a look at the yakisoba (やきそば) (焼きそば) stall at 2:03. (The sign actually says (Ore no yakisoba) (おれ の やきそば) (俺の焼きそば) which means "My yakisoba." There is another yakisoba stall at 6:58 and another one at 11:53.

We also get a good look at an omikoshi (おみこし) (お神輿) portable shrine procession from 13:19.

 

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Okonomiyaki (おこのみやき) (お好み焼き) is a popular food where we mix together several ingredients and fry it on a large hotplate (I call it "Japanese pizza.") Watch from 7:13 as he puts the ingredients on the grill.

"Okonomiyaki" is pronounced by accenting the first and fifth syllables.

 

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Many okonomiyaki restaurants are set up to where your table has a hot plate, they bring you the ingredients, and you cook it yourself at the restaurant. Watch from 3:48 as she mixes the ingredients and from 4:27 as she begins to fry the okonomiyaki.

 

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Teppanyaki (てっぱんやき) (鉄板焼き) is a type of grilled-streak Japanese restaurant that is popular in North America. (This particular video was made in South Korea.) Watch as this guy enjoys making a big flame at 6:58 and 14:29, and 19:36.

 

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Natto is a Japanese food that gets mixed reviews from foreigners. It is fermented soybeans. (I like to say natto is 'sticky, stinky, and stringy'. Needless to say, I am not a fan of natto.)

 

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Have you ever thought of owing your own ramen restaurant? It's a lot of work and long hours. Take a look.

 

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Do yakisoba and chow mien use the same type of noodle?

I don't think so. I have traveled in China and I used to stay at hotels that served a buffet breakfast in the morning. They would always serve chow mein (which was great) but I don't think they tasted the same as yakisoba.
 

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Day in the Life of a Japanese Delivery Worker. (She works long hours.) Sagawa is a delivery company like UPS and FedEx.

 

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Street food stalls are popular in Japan. Take a look at this guy who runs a ramen street stall out of the back of a small pickup truck. Take a look at 0:33 to see his setup.

 

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It is common in Japan to see small restaurants with a small number of seats. (I remember seeing a bar next to Tokyo Station with only four seats.) Here is a restaurant with only eight seats. (I like the box of kleenex hanging from a shelf that serves as a 'napkin dispensing device.')

 
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The JR Train Company gives you a written excuse if you're late due to a late train.

"A Japanese railway company made headlines after it apologised for sending a train off 20 seconds early.

"The idea of "deeply apologising" for the "severe inconvenience" of a lost 20 seconds seemed almost alien to commuters who have to put up with much greater disruption in other countries."

(cont.)


See the same idea in this video's sub-title at 0:01

 

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Would you like to try fried round dumplings made with octopus (takoyaki) (たこやき) (たこ焼き)? Watch the incredible speed at which the cook flips the dumplings from 2:59. He then uses an interesting technique from 6:13 as he transfers dumpling from one mold to another mold (which I can only assume is transferring them from a cooler mold to a hotter mold). And he does all of this with only a single (sharp-point) chopstick.



Watch in the following video from 1:14 as a cook chops up octopus for takoyaki. (Those of you with a weak stomach might want to skip watching this video.)

 

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One of the largest fish markets in the world is in Tokyo. It is called Toyoso Fish Market.

It is a very large place and it is a tourist attraction. Take a look from 4:47 at the tourist observation deck. At 6:13 the man tells how he leaves his van unlocked, and the sellers load up the buyers van for the buyer, even if the buyer is not there.

 

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Here is a good look at a large fish market from down on the floor. (This is Tsukiji Fish Market, which closed when Toyoso Fish Market opened.) Those large blue fin tuna you see on the floor, soon to be eaten as sushi, are very expensive.

One cool thing about Japan is we can be walking down the street and we will sometimes come across a local shrine or temple right on the street. Take a look at such a shrine from 1:15 to 1:19.

 

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Tokyu Hands Store (in Shibuya, Tokyo, and elsewhere in Japan) is the most incredible crafts and stationary store I have ever seen. Not only does it have stationary but it has a huge amount of DIY crafts kits and crafts materials for sale. I spent many a Saturday afternoon taking the elvator up to the top floor, then walking down and looking at all the cool craft kits for sale. Sometimes on Saturdays and Sundays they would have special craft tables set up, where you could sit down and try different kinds of crafts activities. If you visit Japan, Tokyu Hands is a must-see.

(This video is actually of the Tokyu Hands Store in Kyoto.)



The following is a video of the Tokyu Hands Store in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. The Tokyu Hands part of the video starts at 10:08.

 

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A sense of teamwork that can be found only in Japan.

When a bus tour is moving, when the bus wants to back up, the tour guide gets out and helps help the bus driver know how far he is from hitting something. The really cool thing is how the tour guide lady gets out, walks behind the bus, and blows a whistle in short bursts or yells out,

The really cool thing is how the tour guide lady blows a whistle in short bursts to give signals to the driver. Watch from 2:56 to 3:59 and you can hear her gives short beep! beep! ... beep! beep! as she blows on her whistle. From 4:25 to 4:46 she is yelling , "Oh rai! Oh rai!" (a Japanglish version of "All right! All right!") to help the bus driver know where he is.

 

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If you like watching and listening to marching band music, you absolutely must watch the Tachibana (Kyoto) High School Marching Band. They are incredible. Here is a video from one of their Rose Bowl Parade appearances. Watch their dance moves from 16:01.

 
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