Friday, June 25, 2010

The hills are alive with the sound of Japantown

I know that title makes no sense, but it's just one of those looney weeks. Let me start with yesterday...

Apparently my desk likes to eat keys. That's what I realized when I got to my door. Ooops. Luckily someone within walking distance has a spare set and I just so happened to have friend's spare keys in my purse. Go figure. Crisis averted!

Since I wasn't getting a run in, I figured I'd walk home instead of taking the bus...even though I know there are several mountains between my house and friend's house. I took a little detour thinking I was being slick and avoiding my 3 inclines (you like how I've just claimed them?). Nono. I ended up with this in front of me
and this to the left of me
UHHH. I probably would have turned around if I was running, but since I wasn't, I opted for the stairs. They just seemed a little know, for a mid-hill rest. haha.

I originally planned on a hot date with the DMV today so I could 'officially' become a California resident, but I missed the whole 'you need to bring your social security card with you' thing. For real? O well. Looks like I have a project for next Friday.

Instead of wasting away indoors, I opted to take a leisurely walk to Japantown. I had heard about Japantown from a couple bloggers, friends and tour books and had to see it for myself.

Equipped with an apple for snacking, I strolled down Union Street and popped into a couple of the shops I've run and ridden by so many times before. I also made an extended pitstop at the Lululemon :[ What? I needed a new warm running top! Lucky for me they had one on sale :)
I walked out with the Half Moon Jacket in all black (thought I'd post the lighter color so you could see the deets) and it's SUPER comfy and I hope it will be a good alternate to my favorite PRR pullover so I'm not all stankalicious on runs. A little nervous about the whole hood thing, but I'm sure it'll be fine. I'm sure I'll love having it after a run. Brrr.

I also tried on a couple of capris for fun. I looooved the way the Run:Zoom Crop fit
Unfortunately they didn't have my size in all black, so I took it as a sign we weren't meant to be. I even checked online...double sign. I was a little concerned about the puffiness/extra material in the thigh area, but when I put them on, they fit PERFECTLY. Genius. Waistband didn't pinch and the rear...not too shabby ;p I tried the purple ones on and thought they were really cute, but I knew I wouldn't wear them as much as a black pair. You should check them out!

I hung a left onto Fillmore from Union and woah. Howdy hills. Sorry to be such a baby about these hills. It's not like I didn't know they existed, but I'm from the land of the fairly flat. I'm never prepared for a random mountain when I turn a corner! One of these days I will learn. I will learn what's flat and what's not and how to get around the mountains...I promise :)

My walk down Fillmore didn't involve much shopping/browsing since there were a lot of cafes, furniture and fancy shops (no, I don't really rock the fancy designer-y shops). I did stop to take a photo of a fun restaurant
I stopped for a long time until I could get it right too haha. I don't know what I like so much about this...I think it's the colors and the rough, yet clean look? Mreh? That shadow is a building so I wonder if I could get a better shot earlier in the day. Yes, mega nerd alert!!

Eventually I found myself in Japantown *aaaaaahhhh!*
It was a little cloudy out so I wasn't exactly in a photo snapping mood, plus I was on a mission to find the Nijiya Market. I loved the Japanese market in Bethesda so I knew I had to find a replacement out here. What better place to look than Japantown. Duh!

I wandered into the Nihonmachi Shopping Center from Post Street and was a little overwhelmed by all the shops, cafes and o yeah, the giant Sanrio store. No joke. I mean, it IS Japantown...

I couldn't find the Nijiya Market and was starting to get really frustrated. I walked all around and even followed the mall map! I was about to give up when I saw this little nugget:
Ichiban Kan...Different Things. Dude, the sign just said Different Things. You know I had to walk in.

Apparently it's like a dollar store of Japanese goodies? I immediately headed to the wall of snackies, sauces and condiments just in case this whole mission to the market failed. I quickly browsed the other aisles and found some fun kitchen gadgets, ceramics and toiletries. SO random! I only walked out with a couple items :)

I wandered back into the mall to see if I missed a giant market sign and eventually came to this lovely corridor
It was between the mall and the Hotel Kabuki and I loved the colors and the lighting! I just had to take a picture. Have you noticed a little more zing in my photos lately? Well, aside from the iPhone photos. We've got Jamie to thank for that since he equipped me with a new camera upon his return :) Photos are now brought to you by this little guy:
Hooray! I'd love more than anything to transition into the world of SLR cameras, but I don't think I'm quite ready for the financial or physical responsibility. One day. In the meantime, this puppy has a ton of great functions for me to play with. Hopefully I'll get some good shots this weekend - cross your fingers for sun!

I eventually found the Nijiya Market and it was totally worth getting lost and frustrated. OMG. I walked in and had no idea what to do with myself! They had a pretty large refrigerated section of pre-made foods (side dishes, seaweed salad, bento boxes, rice bowls, sushi, dumplings, you name it!), a massive drink section (alcoholic and non), and decent sized meat and produce sections. Holy potatoes. I need to go back. Again, I was good and only bought what I knew I needed in the short term. *sigh* Don't you worry, I'm dragging Jamie there over Labor Day weekend. I'm sure we'll get into some trouble.

Want to see what I came home with?
Plus my Soba Bento dinner and some seaweed salad for tomorrow
All for the low price of $21 (that's from both markets)! Not bad! The shirataki noodles alone were much cheaper at the Japanese market than at Real Foods and I was so happy to see the brand of sesame oil I'm used to using (yeah, I'm picky about that). The green lunch bag (that definitely says 'lunchtime will make everyone happy') was $1.50 and is a great size for sammiches and snacks or a medium sized tupperware. Plus it's cute :)

My bento wasn't terrible. The inarizushi and futomaki were good (I think it's pretty hard to mess those up unless the rice is bad), but the soba was a little mooshy for my taste. Also, the checkout lady asked if I wanted chopsticks and I said yes. No chopsticks in the bag. Soba noodles are so not the same with a fork. Nope :(

So yeah, that was my day of wandering! I'm off to guzzle some water and sleep so I'm ready for my quickie 7 miler with the running group tomorrow morning. Will report back soon! Nitey :)


Jamie said...

i hope that store has chu-hi. it will be one of the happiest days of my life if i find chu-hi sold in the states.

MarathonVal said...

Shame on you.... now I am lusting after a Lulu jacket!