I just had an intense, sudden food craving. When I lived in Japan, I bought this amazing sauce/spread stuff. I have no idea what it was called (don't read Japanese), nor do I know what it was supposed to be used for. I used it on bread. It was a tomato paste/sauce with corn kernels in it. I slathered it over inch-thick bread and popped it in the toaster oven. It would come out like a cheese-less pizza, but the spices in the sauce were totally different from American pizza tomato sauce. It was soooooooo good. I could go through a bottle of the stuff in a day if I got greedy with it. Mmmmm, yummmm.
Stupid American food. I miss all sorts of Japanese food. Oddly enough, the only American food I missed while I was in Japan were tacos. Which are, you know, actually Mexican, I guess.
Oh man, I'd love some okonomiyaki. I mean, when I describe it to people as cabbage pancakes covered in a savory sauce and octopus flakes, they look at me funny, but it's really amazingly good. After a particularly long day at work, I'd stop by the Daiei on the way home and buy some pre-made okonomiyaki in a little plastic platter, then heat it up when I got home. And takoyaki. I miss takoyaki, too -- particularly from that street vendor between the train station and the drug store on across the street from my office building. Six little happy balls of fried octopus meat covered in the same sauce as a lot of Osaka foods were. Eat them with toothpicks and inevitably make a mess.
I miss the udon shop below my school, too. Hot green tea in the winter, cold green tea in the summer; those were the only beverage choices, but that was okay, there was a bank of vending machines just outside the door. Yummy, yummy udon, mmm.
And the cakes! Oh, the cakes! Divine cakes that came in tiny little packages, light and fluffy and moist and delicious. But even better than the Daiei cakes were the bakeries. OMG, the best bakeries in the world have to be in Japan. So many amazing bread products, often in cute shapes. I remember the peach buns in May. They were pink dough balls filled with something like sweet cream cheese and soft slices of peaches. So good. My favorite bakery was in Juso Station on the Hankyu Takarazuka line out of Osaka. Such amazingly good pastries. Also, the ice cream shop in Umeda on the top floor of Yodobashi-Camera. I had a sunday made with fudge and ice cream and corn flakes and cheese cake once, and I ate it all in a bright pink room full of giggling young women.
I miss the vending machine that was near my apartment, across from the rice field shrine. It had cold Vitamin CC Lemon in the summer and hot Vitamin CC Lemon in the winter. After the long walk from the train station in the winter, buying a hot drink from the machine to warm my hands as I climbed the stairs to my apartment was so wonderful.