A deep wave of nostalgia for Japan drove me to drive to Mitsuwa Marketplace ("Mitsuwa"), the premier shopping destination for all things Japanese, in Edgewater, New Jersey.
It was triggered by a conversation with a Japanese expat whom I met through mutual friends, and our conversation touched upon my trip to her homeland two years ago, and the places I visited - Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone and Nikko.
I also took the opportunity to tell her about my experience staying at a capsule hotel, where the "rooms" are coffin-sized compartments stacked on top of each other; rows upon rows of them lining the hallways. If you have trouble imagining the capsules, check out the pics here.
And of course, the food. Memories of the amazingly life-like replica food displays in Japan, the visit to Tsukiji market, the conveyor belt sushi restaurants, and hundreds of tiny stalls and shops selling ramen, yakitori, okonomiyaki, and other food stuffs immediately whetted my appetite. I had to go to Mitsuwa!
Turns out that their ten-day anniversary sale was ongoing, and being a long holiday weekend, the parking lot was jampacked. Not to be denied, I parked at another nearby strip mall and hoofed it to Mitsuwa.
Shown are some of the loot that i bought. Among them - instant miso soup, rice crackers, Yakult digestive drink (memories from my child hood), and a lot of eel. I've gotten tired of my mostly chicken and fish diet lately, so the sight of unagi was tempting.
Not only do they have every imaginable Japanese grocery item, but also freshly made sushi and cooked food, so I grabbed a couple of unagi bento (above).
My mission was only half successful though. I also wanted to dine at the superb food court (which also had the food replicas in the glass display cases), but due to the crowds it wasn't possible. Oh well, perhaps next month when I come back to spend the $5 coupon I received for spending over $50, as part of their anniversary sale promotion.
One last thing - the two Meiji chocolate bars shown on the left, Black (Dark) and White chocolate, retail for exactly the same price. As you can see, the White chocolate is about 35% smaller. Needless to say, somewhat mystifying and something a nerd like me loves to obsess about.
Can any Japanese reader shed light on this pricing scheme?
For those who are interested, here are some of my travel blog posts from Japan.