I must say, though, that I am a bit happy to be done with Honshu. Much of my trip was punctuated by small victories/accomplishments that made the distance easier to contemplate, but from Himeji all the way to Aomori, it was just a monstrous 950 mile trek! Oh, and the roads were narrow and rainy. But everything else was amazing. I am not sure if touring by bicycle just adds an extra spice to everything you do and everyone you meet, but it seems like the nicest people on the planet, Japanese and foreigner alike, live in Japan.
While taking an impromptu rest day in Hachinohe, I had the most wonderfully nostalgic time with my couch surfing English buddy Joe. Hachinohe is not a particularly large city, though it does have a bit to offer in terms of things to do and places to see. Though Joe had a bit of a knee injury to contend with, and work the next morning, we decided to venture out to some street-side bars and see where the night would take us. Probably not for Joe, but for me the night was headed straight for good old fashioned American and Japanese nostalgia.
I should first explain that one of the few things that I truly miss from America (aside from friends and family, of course) is cheese. Japan has some cheeses, though it is usually something less flavorful like mozzarella or processed beyond the category of cheese. Furthermore, any other cheeses are just too expensive to be an option. This is where cheese senbei comes in. Traditionally, I believe senbei referred only to a rice cracker of some sort. In modern times, though, almost anything that is relatively flat and about the size of a sand dollar can be called senbei, whether it's fish, seaweed, candy, bone (yes, bone) and others. That night I was able to partake in the joys of a cheese senbei. Basically, this senbei was just some fried cheese with more cheese melted on top of it. A heart stopping dish, both medically and emotionally.
|It was too dark for a good picture, so imagine this with even more cheese!|
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