I was invited to visit a beautiful mountain called Mino about an hour away from my home-visit family's house in Awaji. Although it was fairly cold, it was so nice seeing all the pretty scenery. Seriously, you should check out the pics on my photo-stream. I went with Sena, her dad, and our Lithuanian friend Julius(the guy in the middle of the picture). We ate momiji tempura, or deep fried maple leaves, which is very rare cookie-like treat apparently only made at this one site!! We were told to beware of monkeys because they steal things from your purse and eat your food, but unfortunately(or maybe for the best hehe) they had all retreated back to the depths of the mountain or something because there was not a single monkey in sight.
Afterwards, Sena's mother made mochi(in case you're not aware, its a glutinous rice-based ball of squishy deliciousness) in a special machine and we added a variety of toppings. There was SO MUCH! I was not aware of all the variations of mochi that existed. The less obscure ones included anko(red bean paste) and kinako(some delicious soybean-flour-thingy). The surprising ones were savory, including yuzu(a popular citrus here) and daikon radish puree, and nori(seaweed)-wrapped mochi dipped in soy sauce. But all of it was delicious!! At the end, Sena's mother let me and Julius prepare yakisoba(a very popular fried-noodle dish with carrots, cabbage, and a special sauce). It was so yummy!! I am so lucky to have a family here in Japan that I can visit sometimes!!! And what makes it even more amazing is that they're very understanding of my diet! Her mother gave me packets of vegetarian soup base, rice toppings, and extra mochi to take home with me. I am truly thankful of the Uemura family!!! =D
Tomorrow is labor appreciation day here in Japan, which is a national holiday. This means NO SCHOOL!!! Because it's just a day away from American Thanksgiving, a group of us are getting together to make a variety of tasty dishes at the seminar house. I'm on team falafel with my friend Varun. It should be pretty fun. Hope to blog about it later! ^^