Saturday, July 5, 2014

Dry Ice, Bowling, and Sailor Moon Crystal

It's Saturday night right now (well, technically Sunday morning) and so far this weekend has been a lot of fun!

It started off with a nice day at school on Friday. Okay, not the weekend, but I'll just include it in this post. Anyway... I spent the day at my favorite elementary school. It's very small and only has 22 students! I didn't have any classes in the morning, but I was invited to the kindergarten (which is connected to the elementary school) to decorate for Tanabata (you can click that to read about it on Wikipedia). Besides decorations and writing wishes, there's not a whole lot done to celebrate Tanabata, but I think it's really cute. 

We decorated bamboo with origami and shiny streamers. Then the three kids (which is about half of the kindergarten) performed a dance for me. It was so cute! Later they came into the elementary school to give me a branch of the bamboo as a present. So adorable! I was really happy because I thought that the origami figures of Orihime and Hikoboshi, the characters of the Tanabata story, were super cute.

Last night Jonathan and I went to the mall to get Subway and ice cream. At Baskin Robbins (or 31 Ice as it is often called here), you can get dry ice when you get ice cream to go. It was unnecessary because I live super close to the mall, but we just wanted it. Plus, it was free!

It was sealed up in a paper bag with our ice cream, but Jonathan took it out and put it in water, which made it react more. So cool!


Dry ice is pretty common in Japan. Many supermarkets have dry ice vending machines so that you can keep your groceries cold.

Jonathan and I both had two scoops of ice cream. We both got Rocky Road and Magic Mint Night. Magic Mint Night is dark chocolate mint with popping candy (like Pop Rocks). I actually had it for the first time last weekend. I thought it sounded kind of weird and thought the popping candy might not be good in ice cream, but I was wrong. It's really good! This is just a limited flavor for June and July though. But they always have Popping Shower, which also has popping candy, but it's not chocolatey. Actually I have no idea what the flavor is at all. But now I really want to try it!

This morning I didn't have anything in my apartment for breakfast, so I walked to Circle K. It was only a little after 8 in the morning. It's very unusual for me to get out that early on a weekend! It was rainy, but kind of nice and refreshing. I don't mind rain on weekend mornings. 

I was excited to see some sort of pastry with Frozen-themed packaging. I saw that it had strawberry jam and whipped cream inside, which sounded good, but not amazing, but... the cute packaging! I'm way more influenced by things like this in Japan than in America, haha.

I noticed that it said it is also delicious frozen. I didn't really want it too cold, but I put it in the freezer just long enough for Chip (or Dale?) to show up. I'm surprised it wasn't Olaf, but maybe that's a generic sticker used on other Disney-themed items.

Well, I said that the strawberry jam and whipped cream didn't sound amazing, but actually it was really good. I would buy it again, even without the Frozen packaging. It had a random crepe on top, which was super thin. I'm not sure it added much to it, but it was still delicious.

When I had walked back from Circle K, the rain had pretty much stopped. And fairly soon after that it started getting sunny. Perfect weather!

For lunch, Jonathan and I went to Hamazushi. I had Inarizushi (tofu pockets filled with rice), tamago (egg) sushi, kappa (cucumber) sushi, and California rolls. Jonathan and I also shared some French fries. Their fries are really good!

The other thing in the picture above is daigaku imo, which are candied sweet potatoes. The outside gets a bit crunchy and super yummy!

After a very filling meal, even though we never seem to eat as much as others around us, we went to Round One. We tried to go bowling last weekend, but there was quite a long wait for bowling so we just played darts instead. But today we were successful!

At one point they had their Moonlight Strike Game, where everyone bowls at once and if you get a strike you get a lei and your picture taken. You also get it if you get 9 pins (or maybe you have to get a spare, I'm not sure) and we've gotten that twice before. But today, I actually got a strike. It was really exciting! The lanes on our right and left also got strikes!

Right now they have a Disney theme going on so the picture frame was Disney themed and we also got phone straps. They were blind bags, but luckily I got Minnie, the one I wanted the most! Jonathan got Pluto, which he gave to me.

When we checked out after bowling, we got tickets to play a UFO catcher game for free and 10 free medals (tokens) to play medal games. The UFO catcher machine we could try with the ticket was pretty lame (some Mickey stickers that weren't all that cute), but it was still kind of fun to try. The ten medals didn't last long, but we wanted to try the medal games last weekend but didn't really know how they worked. So it was nice to try them for free and then we ended up buying some more. We got 500 medals for 1,100 yen.

The games are gambling type games, but you don't win any money. You only win more medals to play more games. Last weekend I thought kids weren't allowed to play them, but that was because it was after six and kids aren't allowed in arcades after six.

We tried a couple different ones that were ok, but not too exciting. There was a Mario one I really wanted to try but it was full. We kind of just awkwardly waited around a bit and eventually someone left. 

Medal games are often very large, noisy, and flashy. One even had fountains in it! The Mario one didn't have fountains but it was very colorful and exciting. It was a lot of fun! You put the medals into the machine and aim them into certain slots. When you get a medal in a slot it moves Mario through a game board (like Mario Party) and you can also hit blocks to maybe win some more medals. Even if you don't make it into one of the slots, the medal falls down onto a sliding panel. When enough medals are on that panel, they push other medals off and you get them. There are also various mini-games that can be activated by achieving certain things.

This video on Youtube shows the game pretty well.

We maybe had about 300 or so medals left when we started and we got to play for quite a while because of winning some of them back. We wanted to play a little longer and I was considering buying some more medals, but Jonathan reminded me that I wanted to get back to watch the premier of Sailor Moon Crystal. I wasn't exactly forgetting about it, but I didn't really quite realize how late it was.

It was coming on at 7 so we didn't have too much time to spare, but luckily there was just enough time to stop at Family Mart to pick up some dinner.

Sailor Moon Crystal is a remake of the Sailor Moon anime from the 90s. It's being shown online and it's really awesome because the subtitled episodes come out at the same time as the non-subtitled versions.

It's being shown on Nico Nico, a Japanese site, but I couldn't really figure it out so I watched it on Hulu. We had to use a VPN because American Hulu can't be accessed from Japan, so it was choppy at times, but it was still awesome. Watching it on Jonathan's projector made it even more awesome.


The first episode was really good! I haven't seen the first episode of the original anime in a while, but it seemed very similar, but with better animation. Luna was cuter than ever before! :) Crystal is supposed to stay closer to the manga so I think it will be faster paced and change more compared the original anime later on. The 90s anime had quite a bit of unnecessary filler.

It was super amazing to watch new Sailor Moon while in Japan. Sailor Moon is a pretty big reason for why I became interested in Japan. Who knows... maybe without Sailor Moon I wouldn't have ever moved to Japan.

The episode flew by and I was sad that it was over, but I really liked the ending song.    

Such a fun weekend so far! :)


  1. I haven't been here in forever; what a great post! I am shocked about the Frozen food...I guess we technically have Frozen fruit snacks here and I haven't seen any Disney frozen foods lately, but I'm still surprised. So cute!

    I loved the rest of your post too but Frozen is what caught my eye. :)

    (I'm pretty sure that's Dale, though it is hard to tell without color!)

  2. Thanks! I bought some yogurt with Frozen packaging yesterday. I'll have a pic of that eventually. Today I rented the Japanese soundtrack and some other Disney movie soundtracks as well. I was listening to Beauty and the Beast in my car. So much fun!

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