Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sunday, 26 JAN 2014: Vikings Buffet

Jake and Gallegos picked me up from my dorm and from there we went to "Misawa's best seafood and children's favorite foods at Miss Veedol Dome Festival." It was the 12th annual festival anniversary and the best part was the local food. Each stand had their special dishes for only 400 yen; not bad for a little experience of the culture in Misawa! We tried the hokkaido noodles (butter, corn, and soybean sprouts included), salt butter corn ramen, seafood chower in a bread bowel, and the red wine flavored paika. The Chowerd bread bowel resembled a meal I once had back in the states at the Minnesota Renaissance festival. Although the dish from Misawa had a clam flavor to it. People were handing out free samples of Japanese curry. All my friends seem to be obsessed with Japanese curry. Before Japan I only knew about the runny yellow curry from Thai restaurants. Discovering brown curry was a shocker for me since my image of curry always looked yelllow in my mind. With our food in hand, we walked over to the white cirucs tent that housed tables, chairs, and a stage. The wind was so terrible and vicious that it ripped at the edges of the tent and the covering couldn't keep out the bitter cold. The weather in Misawa is not usually terrible, as a matter of fact, it is better (in my opinion) than the weather back in Wisconsin. My whole life I've endured cold snowless winters and lukewarm summers. Misawa is not too cold, yet has tuns of snow. The summers are said to be warm and pleasurful. The only downfall is the wind. Misawa's mascots were walking around and taking picutres.   
  They resembled surf clams called "Hokkaigai." The meat of this sea creature is thick and tastes sweet. Generally they grow to about 2 1/2 inches tall. Locals in the Aomori Prefecture area near the ocean dig for them from December-March.
            A geisha came onto the stage infornt of us and began to tell a story in Japanese. She danced and sang the whole time. My friends and I enjoyed it, however, we did not understand anything she was doing. Miyabi and her from from Aomori 
showed up and sat at our table. Miyabi spoke english well and explained the performance to us. The cold chilled us to the bone and we couldn't stand it   
anymore. We left and went to the Misawa Aviation and Science Museum through the POL gate near base. We got a little lost trying to find it (as usual). My expectations were not high, per contra, the experience was great. After we walked through the entrance we came into the plane exhibit. By strange circumstances
the big red plane on display was called the “Miss Veedol.” In Misawa there is an area called the Veedol dome
where a farmers have a market every month on the 9th, 19th, and 29th. We walked inside real airplanes and played with the switches and buttons. The museum even had activities for us to participate in. A room full of glass objects had a small globs in the middle of them where electric lightning boults sprang out. Whenever
you touched it the electricity would follow. In the technology portion (my favorite) had rides and games. 
everywhere. A chair connected to a long bendable and flexible pole allowed you to experience zero gravity.
Another ride resembled a miniature version of the power tower at an amusement park from my childhood
called Valley Fair. Seats were arranged around a metal pillar. When activated the ring of chairs facing outwards
shot up in the air and fell with gravity. Once in a while small, intense boosts sent the chairs flying up toward the
ceiling. A Japanese lady motioned for us to walk into this strange looking room. Estle stood on one end and  I stood at the other end. The Japanese women pushed a button and the whole room started spinning. For
learning purposes we were told to throw a ball to each other as the room spun around on an axel at different speeds. According to science, the ball was going in a straight velocity path even though it seemed like the ball
was curving. An interesting display that fascinated me was something that had the concept of using a string with
cups at either end to communicate from a distance. Instead, there were these giant, metal, concave objects
facing one another from quite a far distance. When you spoke into it the person standing at the other metallic
disc could hear what you said. If possible I would have spent an eternity there, but the  museum was closing and they had to usher us curious onlookers out. Nothing could make me more happy than science museums!
           Our next stop was a Japanese buffet restaurant called Vikings. Just as always, we got lost. Even when
we put our heads together we still end up going in cirlces. Japan has so many narrow confusing roads that its a surprise when you end up where you want to go. We were driving for a good hour or so before we finally  we  located the restaurant. Estle was visibly upset that we wasted so much time driving around. I guess it is one of his pet peeves.
            We paid the entrance fee then our hostess lead us to our seats. No chairs were to be found since this was more of a traditional restaurant. Instead we sat on mats around a table with a grill in the middle. At
this point we were free to enjoy the variety of meats, fruits, vegetable, and desserts at the buffet. No one was
allowed to wear shoes on the area designated for sitting so we slipped on the bright pink or blue slippers at the
edge of the no shoe area. Gallegos turned the grill on and we started cooking. I tried this strange small, red
apple fruit that tasted like pineapples with a hint of coconut. Gallegos had them before and showed us how to
peal the outside to eat the white misty inside. At the vegetable section I found some clear noodles that tasted
like water. The texture was what blew my mind because it had a strange crunch to it. A variety of sushi was
also available that were decent. Estle and I were watching my friend Gallegos eat for a while because he was
chowing down like there was no tomorrow. The intensity and speed he was eating at was beyond normal
human capabilities! He must have a black hole hidden inside him somewhere because he just absorbed the
food. When I couldn’t eat even one more piece of cake, trouffle, deep fried chicken, or subsidence I sat and
relaxed. The sleepiness you get when you eat too much overwhelmed me. Estle, Gallegos, and I talked for a
while. Just to mix it up a bit I asked them riddles like: “what is greater than God, more evil than the devil, the
poor have it, the rich need it, and if you eat it you die.” Another complicated riddle that Estle told was, “two
knights are each guarding a door; one leads to heaven and the other to hell. You may ask one night one
question to find out the correct door to choose. The catch is, is that one of the nights always lies, whereas the
other always tells the truth.” This riddle caught me by surprise and it took forever to find the answer! Eventually
our legs were started to cramp from sitting on the floor, so we left and called it a night

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