Tuesday, December 7

i demand a sweater!

hooray for me! i finished all my christmas shopping! the mall during the month of december is a destination i try to avoid at all costs. so i'm extremely happy that i managed to finish off all my christmas shopping last weekend. the only christmas presents left for me to buy are for my co-workers and bosses, which will not require me to go to the mall. hooray!

on my recent trip to the mall, i did notice one thing: there weren't a lot of sweaters for sale. there were loads of tees (long and short-sleeved), fancy dress shirts (for guys and girls), sweatshirts galore (hooded, non-hooded, zip-up, non zip-up), and cardigans aplenty. however, there weren't that many plain old sweaters. each store i went into had only 1-2 sweater options for girls, and maybe 2-3 sweater options for guys. and cardigans do not count as sweaters. apparently the fashion idea this winter is to wear cardigans vs. sweaters, which is a trend i am not on board with. don't get me wrong, i own plenty of cardigans, probably equal to the amount of sweaters i own. but to me, cardigans are a spring and fall option, which occassionally can be worn in winter as well. whereas winter=sweater weather. and, for a fatty like me, i fully embrace the opportunity to wear a sweater over a form-fitting tee or overly revealing tank top. sweaters leave so much more room to hide. me likey. plus, sweaters are infinitely more practical and simple at keeping me warm in the east coast winter.

speaking of consumer spending, as mentioned in my previous post, i recently made a trip to Mitsuwa with my gaggle of female cousins. my cousins were born in Taiwan and only immigrated to the States within the last 6 yrs (2 of them only in the last year), and while i know they like some aspects of the U.S., they seriously pine for their native country. thus, it's no surprise they were completely enamored by Mitsuwa, which is asian trinket and food central. how about a tiny chopstick holder?
for "You're Beautiful" fans: your own pig-rabbit?
if i lived closer to Edgewater, i would probably be spending about 50% of my meals at Mitsuwa. the options in their food court are endless and all of them are tempting, particularly when presented in the japanese-fake-food-art style. seriously, those fake food displays that japanese restaurants show you are better than any advertisement or lunch deal they use to entice you to their premises. even if i wasn't hungry before, one look at the food display instantly makes my tummy rumble. and, i have to admit, usually the real food doesn't look too far off from the fake food. i was going to take copious pictures of all the fake food displays but the there were giant crowds and long lines of ppl at each vendor and nobody else was taking photos, so i didn't take any pictures to avoid looking like a weirdo.

i've been trying to watch what i eat (for the most part) and that's one thing you really can't do at Mitsuwa. every vendor in the food court sells obento-style meals which usually comes as a set including rice and soup. so, instead of looking for the least amount of food, i looked for the cheapest option that wasn't too heavy on rice, gravies, and extras. which resulted in me ordering a zaru soba from Kayaba ($4.50). it's probably the plainest option you can order in the whole food court since it's just cold soba, dipping sauce, and a side of pickles and some wasabi. however, the portion is still HUGE. it's served on a large flat wicker plate and constitutes it's own little hilltop (it's not quite a mountain and more than a plateau). with the wasabi, i thoroughly enjoyed it.

and of course, no trip to Mitsuwa is complete without obanyaki. and these were all custard, my favorite. i really wish more places made them. it's so simple and cheap to do. hmm, maybe i should make a change in profession...
after filling our bellies we perused the adjacent supermarket and the small stores surrounding the Mitsuwa marketplace. The supermarket at Mitsuwa is very extensive and i would venture to guess that any japanese, korean, and chinese ingredient you're looking for can be found there but for a price. unless i'm looking for something so rare and exotic, i won't be buying my groceries at Mitsuwa. but it's still fun to peruse the selection. and the pre-made bentos and sushis are actually decently priced (and tasty).

outside of the supermarket are independent vendors e.g. a bookstore selling extremely overpriced pens and pencils and Japanese magazines and books (all in Japanese). i did make 1 purchase from the bookstore: lo and behold, my new planner for 2011. that's fine for an attorney right?

the store next to the bookshop sold various toys and trinkets which literally caused the cousins' brains to explode from excitement. the best finds? 2NE1 and 2PM socks. after i posted these pictures on Facebook i got a call from Stitch the following weekend. she was at Mitsuwa specifically looking for these socks. but then again, who can argue with the appeal of k-pop?

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