A few things that have taken us off guard in no particular order:

  1. The popularity of Stitch. Japan has undoubtedly been exposed to every Disney production in the past 10 years, but for whatever reason Stitch has stuck. It’s fascinating to see how something could resonant so clearly in one country and not in another.
  2. The popularity of the Carpenters. I can’t explain it.
  3. Julie and I actually tried horse carpaccio. I thought we would draw the line with horse, but it didn’t happen. Aomori is famous for horses (both for riding and food), but many people in Japan have the same reservations you (and Julie and I) probably have about equine eating.
  4. Crows. Crows are everywhere here and are also quite large. That is not surprising. What’s surprised us are their bizarre vocalizations. I’ve heard crows in Alaska, Canada, and all over the continental United States, but only in Japan have a I heard the loud, low pitch, and almost mechanical squawk of the Aomori crow.
  5. Farmers in Japan use plenty of pesticides in their crops so wash and/or peel your food!

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