As I mentioned before, one of the goals of my friend is to eat a number of strange foods while in Japan. Yesterday we took off to Nara. It is known for the largest bronze Buddha in the world that is housed in Todaiji Temple (which is the largest wooden structure in the world). These are UNESCO World Heritage sites also.
Nara is also known for its deer which roam around the park area and get free hand-outs from the people passing by.
Some deer in Nara Park
The shops in and around the park sell “deer biscuits” for $1.50 that can be fed to the deer. They are basically disc shaped wafers that can be easily fed to the deer, but it was decided that they also qualified as a “strange food” once we saw this sign:
The sign that qualified the deer food as “strange food”
So of course, my friend had to try it
Paul eating deer food
The verdict was although it was edible, it didn’t taste particularly good and a bit like cardboard, but it was another interesting food he could claim to have eaten.
We also decided that we needed an inexpensive way to try many of these foods. As luck would have it, we came across a 100 yen shop (the equivalent of the $1 shop in the US). Here we were able to stock up on quite a few new items including a peanut spread (a sweet peanut paste that everyone told me was “peanut butter” when I first came to Japan, but of course tastes nothing like the real thing), some seaweed spread and some more strange flavored sea critters.
100 yen store scores
I find that there are some great buys at 100 yen stores in Japan with a lot of products selling for much less than they do at regular retail outlets. Again, the key to making a successful run at them is to know exactly what I’m looking for before I enter and sticking to just getting that. The “it’s only a dollar” mentality can add up quite quickly when in those stores and before you know it, you’ve blown $20 without even realizing it. It was, however, a good place to find the strange foods Paul was looking for at a fraction of the price we would have had to pay elsewhere. My bet is we’ll be visiting more when we come across them on our continued travels.
time for breakfast and then off to Kyoto for the day…