Since the beginning of January, I started attending a Japanese Immersion class. The class is sort of about what to expect when going to Japan, and it will end soon in mid-March. Yes, I do have some plans of going to Japan this year (eep!), but I'm still earnestly praying that everything falls into place. Anyway, yesterday, our class, led by our sensei and her friend, had a small field trip to Little Tokyo in Makati as a follow up to our lessons on Japanese food and table manners.
I actually have been to Little Tokyo a few times, especially when I was in college. I used to go there with college friends and some friends that are Japanese exchange students. We always eat at Yamazaki, which is half a ramen house and half a grocery store. I also had a fair share of shopping at the various Japanese groceries there for our college organization as well when I used to be the president. My Little Tokyo experience yesterday, however, was a little different, because it was actually my first time eating inside (Yamazaki is outside and at the side of Little Tokyo) even though I've been there numerous time.
Our group ate at Nodasho, which has various Japanese dishes. Some of the other restaurants in Little Tokyo opens late around 5:30pm, and some of them have specialties. For instance, one restaurant mostly serves takoyaki or okonomiyaki. Unfortunately, we weren't able to try them out. For our trip, our sensei wanted us try dishes that are not already mainstream in our country, so we veered away from ramens and katsudons. For my solo meal, I ordered Oyako don, which is a simple chicken and egg over rice dish. It comes with Kitsune soba. For our sharing dishes, we got the natto, the hiyashi somen, egg rolls, and some Japanese pickles. I was mostly excited by the natto, because I've heard a lot about it and it's my first time eating it. Natto are fermented soybeans. They smell really bad, but they said that it tastes really good. They also said that it's good for the body. Upon tasting it, it did taste good, but I'm not a fan of the smell. On the other hand, hiyashi somen is simply cold somen, which is usually eaten during summer in Japan.
After eating, we visited the grocery stores Chotto Stop and Yamazaki. Chotto Stop was the cheapest in the area. Unfortunately, they didn't have what I was looking for, which is the okonomiyaki mix, which my friends and I used to buy. However, Chotto Stop still has a lot in store, such as snacks, sweets, curry mixes, and so on. On the other hand, I wasn't able to take a picture inside Yamazaki because the lighting was discouraging (it was too dim!). But I was able to buy an okonomiyaki mix and sauce. Despite the poor lighting, I still recommend Yamazaki for their food!
Needless to say, I think our little field trip was quite a success. It was a day of many firsts. For some of my classmates, it was their first time going to Little Tokyo and first time to commute for one of them! For me, it brings back lots of memories from college, for I dearly miss my friends! I can't wait to go back again!
For those who want to visit Little Tokyo, what we did was meet up at MRT-Ayala station. Then in the EDSA SM Parking lot beside the station, there is a jeepney station at the 2nd floor, which used to be at Park Square, from which we rode a jeep going to Pasay-Libertad. If you don't know the area, you can simply ask the driver to drop you off at Little Tokyo. They know it, and they are kind enough. Easy peasy!