Japanese Tea Time- East vs. West

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This week I was able to meet with my friend Mayumi. She is half Japanese, half Brazilian, and so much fun! She took me to a famous restaurant, known for its sweet bean filled desserts. These desserts are made to look like fish, which is really common in Japan, however this restaurant makes them the traditional way. The only way I can describe it is somewhere in between making pancakes and the sandwiches cookers for campfires. I am not sure you know what I am talking about. But they took batter placed it in a mold that had half a fish on one side and another half on the other. They then filled it with the sweet bean and put the batter on top. Then they clamped the mold shut and put it over a heat source. The rods where then turned so that the “fishes” cooked evenly. I love sweet beans, and I also had green tea to drink, which I think is the perfect combination for this very traditional treat. It was so good!

On the other side of the spectrum I would like to talk about Japan’s Starbucks. Starbucks are everywhere. I have only actually eaten at one once so far in my stay here, and it happened to be last week. I tend to try to stay away from places that I know I can go to in the states. However, Starbucks in Japan is so much better then in America! Right now they are doing spring promotions and have come out with sakura flavors (cherry blossoms). They have a chocolate sakura latte and a white chocolate sakura drink along with a few others. Sounds kind of weird at first, but then think of it. A WHITE CHOCOLATE drink with Cherry-ish flavoring, just for spring. I think this sounds like a bit of heaven, unfortunately so does the rest of Japan and it is sold out. I have a goal of getting it though.
When I went this past week I had the goal of getting this drink, I was very disappointed to see they were out of stock. I did not let this get me down. Instead I ordered a macha (green tea latte) frappuccino. This also was heavenly. I have had macha in the states from Starbucks and it was terrible. This was the perfect macha. Additionally I think Japanese Starbucks have just better selection of baked goods, at least at the Starbucks in La La Port. There were just a lot of varieties of baked goods and drinks, it was not just coffee. Starbucks back home has a lot of things to offer, but I guess I really enjoy Japanese teas and sweets, so the Starbucks here just seems amazing to me. Maybe I am just being bias to Japan right now. That is okay by me though, cause I am here to enjoy it while I can! I will get that white chocolate sakura drink!

On the other hand it is nice to go somewhere kind of familiar to home. Starbucks design and environment is fairly staple. I felt very much at home there. If not for the different varieties of drinks, it would feel like stepping back into the states.

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