Being 13, in a foreign country and not speaking the language was a challenge. But it quickly became a challenge my family and I took by storm. I lived in Japan for three years and loved every single second that I was there. It is one of my most favorite countries in the entire world.
Moving is never easy - you could move from Seattle to Kansas City or from Finland to Guam and you would still feel the effects. The same core principles apply. Your favorite places and people disappear. The culture of your town and city, the culture of the people and the familiar foods you've grown to love slip away.
When we left the land of the rising sun our boots hit the ground in Shreveport, LA. I left Tokyo ten years ago and have yet to go back. I've found a few Japanese markets here and there but have rarely found something that could jog the memories of happiness that are tucked away for safe keeping.
Enter Mitsuwa Marketplace (http://www.mitsuwa.com/english/index.html) located in Edgewater, NJ. Or as I now call it, my favorite Japanese hot spot outside of Tokyo. Aside from being an amazing market that has the good stuff from my days long ago, it also has a traditonal Japanes food court that makes me feel like I'm transported back. It is an incredible feeling, and despite the 1hr long drive it takes to get there, I'll be spending several Saturdays there!
Here are a few shots of the food court, along with some of my most missed dishes.
The coolest thing about the food court is the authentic Japanese food displays. As you can see from the photos above, the food is on display in a case. It's a totally standard thing and was uber helpful when we first moved to Japan. It's rare to see to see this in the US. The court is loud, everyone speaks Japanese and there's a buzz of chatter in the air. Ahh, I so miss Asia! PS - the marketplace has wonderful varities of sushi for bargin prices!