Here we go! My very first post on my new blog! For this post, I decided to share a story from my very first international travel experience. This story takes place in Japan. A place that I was very fortunate to visit while studying for my Bachelor’s degree back in 2011. I was part of a two-week faculty-led study abroad trip that involved backpacking to seven Japanese cities.
This was a bit of an unusual trip for me, not only because it was my first major international endeavor, but also because I was traveling with a group of students. Most of my travels up to this point have been solo road trips, so at first I wasn’t too keen on the idea of being in a group, but it turned out okay. I’ll touch on that idea more in-depth in a later post, but for now I want to tell you about a great culinary experience that I had during the first stop of our Japanese tour, Hiroshima.
We had arrived in Hiroshima earlier in the day via train from Osaka. During the evening after a short time in the city, my professor (who I referred to then and still do now as Sensei) started leading us back to the hotel where we were staying, with the idea of stopping somewhere to get dinner along the way. In our quest to find some food, Sensei started leading us down a dark alleyway, which seemed just a little bit sketchy. I wondered where we were going and if we were about to stumble upon some trouble. But I trusted Sensei. He had lived in Japan for a number of years and knew the language and the people, so I followed his lead. My apprehension was short-lived when halfway through the alleyway Sensei opened a sliding door that you could hardly tell was there at all. It blended in quite well with the rest of the building. Upon opening the door, a small restaurant was revealed inside.
The restaurant had a long grill with bar style seating and a small number of tables in the back. I took at seat along the grill. Once we were all settled in Sensei proceeded to help us all order okonomiyaki.
First the cooks spread a small amount of batter on the grill, then topped it with some shredded cabbage. Next they added any fillers of your choice, and for mine I ordered cheese, pork, and oysters. I was delighted to see that they were using fresh ingredients that looked as though they were locally sourced. This assured me that they were going for quality with what they were making. After adding the fillers they cracked an egg into it and whipped it all together, finishing it off with some sauce and seasoning. And I took the liberty of adding their spicy mayonnaise to it as well!
It was absolutely DELICIOUS! I ended up ordering a second one because it was so good. So what first appeared to be a rather precarious situation in a dark alleyway, turned out to be one of my most memorable culinary experiences. Man, writing this post is making me hungry!
I really wish I knew the name of this place. However, considering how inconspicuous it was I wonder if there was even a sign posted anywhere! What I took away from this experience was a reminder to wander off the beaten path every now and then and see what I can discover. Granted that I can do so safely. And to you, my awesome reader, if you ever find yourself in Japan one day. Definitely seek out a place where you can order okonomiyaki, it’ll be well worth your while!
I hope you enjoyed reading my first blog post! Have you ever been to Japan and/or tried okonomiyaki? If so, I’d like to hear what you thought about it. Leave me a comment below and tell me about it! Thanks for checking out my blog, have a wonderful day!