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Tokyo, Japan (and my new blog, SURFing 101)!! So while it is possible to do SURF projects at campuses other than Caltech (which many people do), that is not my reason for coming here. My parents and I decided to take a vacation to see the grandparents. It’s definitely been a nice change of pace from the constant studying during Caltech final’s week.

Here’s a brief summary of what I’ve done (and what can do too if you visit) so far:

On the Monday right after I arrived, my parents and I went out shopping and stopped at this "family" restaurant at the department store. This is me with a shrimp gratin… it was very yummy! At these kind of restaurants they have a lot of Japanese-style "Western food". Like:

This is a Japanese spin-off of the traditional omelet called "omelet rice". It consists of ketchup fried rice (it’s tastier than it sounds… I promise!) inside an omelet. This one has beef stew next to it. There are many different versions of it with tomato sauces, traditional Japanese sauces, etc. There are even ones with hamburgers on it.

After eating, I went shoe shopping since I only brought one pair to Japan. In Japan, you really have to walk to get around.. No driving around here!!

Since it’s currently the rainy season in Japan, rubber shoes (depicted above) are really popular! I decided to buy one myself since after walking around for just a couple of minutes the rain had soaked through the shoes I came with.

The next day, I woke up bright and early (thanks to the jet-lag… Tokyo is 16 hours ahead of Pasadena time). This is in a little bakery that was about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. I love the bread in Japan. They’re super buttery and soft and just delicious!

On Tuesday, I went and got my hair cut and permed. This is how I looked before the cut at a cafe near the salon….

And this is how I look afterwards… although the curls rather died after walking back to the hotel in the rain. The whole cut and perming process took 4 hours!! It was super long and involved many weird looking machines… like this one machine that had tubes that connected to the curlers and blasted hot air through them. But the staff was super fun to talk to (they tried out their English on me and knew some pretty interesting phrases) and gave me little massages now and then to combat with the weariness of having to sit in that salon chair for so long.

After the hair appointment, I was so exhausted, I decided just to buy some food at the department store and bring it back to the hotel. So, unlike in America, Japanese department stores are a multi-leveled complex that contain everything from grocery stores to bakeries and clothes and other household items. In most department stores they have one story dedicated to food that usually has all these vendor booths that sell all kinds of food. What I decided to buy was "yakitori" (like teriyaki chicken but on skewers), some onigiri (rice balls), and salad. There are also vendors that sell sweets, both traditional Japanese ones and Western styled cakes and cookies, Chinese food, other Japanese food, you name it! It’s super convenient and cheap! Well, off to eat some more food now and explore more of Tokyo. Till next time!

Megan Lo