Jan Jan!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post in Japanese about wanko soba. One of our students at NEO decided to translate my post into English, and she did an excellent job. So I started thinking about how I would translate it myself. It was much harder than I expected! When I originally wrote it, I was trying to think of the "Japanese" way to say things. Many of those things can't be simply translated into English. 

If I had written that post in English, I think it would have looked like this:


At the end of October, I went to Tohoku for the first time on vacation. Ever since I came to Japan, I’ve tried to explore and experience as much of the country as I can. As you can imagine, I was excited to finally go to the northeast corner of Japan.

For a long time, I figured my friend and I would rent a car and leisurely drive from place to place. Being totally unfamiliar with Tohoku, at first I thought that we would be able to see the leaves changing at the beginning of October. However, when we arrived in Sendai, we realized that the leaves hadn’t changed at all, so we adjusted our itinerary a little. We scrapped our plan to get a rental car and decided to do as much as we could in 5 days, visiting only the most well-known places. With this plan, we were able to try some of the famous foods in each city. We traveled almost entirely by local train and bus – in fact, the only time I took the bullet train was on the final return trip to Okayama. In all, I traveled about 2,280 kilometers.

We tried gyutan in Sendai, apples in Aomori, kiritanpo in Akita. Everything was good, and I enjoyed it all. But out of all the food I ate in Tohoku, the one thing I really want to eat again is wanko soba.

We stopped at Morioka on the journey from Sendai to Aomori, so we didn’t have much time there. We walked along the streets near the station and eventually found a shop that served wanko soba. Even though it was lunch time, there was no one there besides the staff. It was a little lonely inside, but it was too late to turn back. It felt awkward to be sitting in a nearly-empty room, racing to eat soba as fast as we could. But we got a kick out of our server, who kept saying things like “Jan, jan!” and “Ganbatte!” as she replaced the soba in our bowls.

In addition to the soba itself, we had sashimi, shredded chicken, seaweed, and various spices with our meal. Everything looked good, but I ate the soba so fast, I was full before I knew it. I literally couldn’t have taken another bite. I ended up eating 80 bowls, but my friend, who always seems to be hungry, ate 115!

I want a rematch!