Umbrella vending machine

In Japan, there is vending machine for everything, apparently. I was so surprised to see a vending machine for umbrellas! Very convenient though.

Umbrella vending machine in Japan

Umbrella vending machine in Japan

If you want to see other vending machines, I also wrote a post about a Japanese vending machine for beauty products.

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Lost in Japan

A collegue of Dennis recommended a nice ramen restaurant to us. Thursday evening we decided to check it out. We consulted the restaurant’s website and concluded that it should be about 30 min. by car. The only thing we needed was the restaurant’s telephone number, to input into the gps. Japanese navigation systems can recognize telephone numbers and connect them to locations. Very convenient in a country where every address is made up out of a dozen of illegible characters. The restaurant is called Tsurukamedo and this is the address: 名古屋市緑区神の倉4丁目194番地  (to give you an idea of what we’re faced with on a daily basis).

Japanese gps

It was the first time we used the gps. We input the phone number and start driving. After 40 min. we arrive at the location where our gps says the restaurant should be. It’s a residential area. Clearly something went wrong. Dennis tries to remember the location from when he checked Google maps before leaving. We drive around for another 20 min., to no avail. The whole time it is raining non stop and the darkness outside gives a gloomy feel to our quest.

The rain and darkness give an ominous and at the same time romantic feel to our quest

Refusing to give up (we’re both quite stubborn), we stop at a convenience store to ask for directions.

conviencience store where Dennis is asking for directions

The personnel is prepared for this kind of situation. They have a map under the counter and even call the restaurant to ask for directions. Japanese people are very helpful. We are set in the right direction: 5 km closer to Toyota city than what the gps first  indicated. After stopping for directions a second time, we finally arrive at the restaurant – roughly 2hours after leaving in Toyota city.

Fortunately the ramen was worth the ordeal. We ate delicious ‘hakata ramen’.

hakata ramen

Interesting detail: you pay your dinner before entering the restaurant, by inserting money in a machine and indicating the desired dish. The machine then spits out a ticket, which you take inside and give to the waiter.

meal ticket machine

Food and drinks

Today was ‘eat at tiny restaurants day’. We found a dodgy looking little ramen shop near the train station. It seemed like a family business. Food is served within 5 minutes and costs only 1100 yen (9,5 euro) for two people, drinks included .

sitting at the bar

seems like a family business

if a lot of senior citizens are there, the food must be good (this principle applies to cultures all over the world)

miso ramen

In Japan, you can find a soda vending machine about every 15 metres. This was a particularly impressive one at an electronics store. They carry not only sweet soda’s but also iced coffee and green tea based drinks.

so many drinks, so little time...

Dinner in another tiny place: okonimiyaki restaurant (okonomiyaki is a kind of food). Again sitting at the bar, which is very common in Japan. Food is prepared in front of you on the hot plate and you also eat it off the hot plate. Beer always seems to come in 50cl pitchers.

okonomiyaki shop

yakisoba

half eaten okonimiyaki (sorry, it looked so good that I couldn't refrain from eating it until after the picture was taken)