Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mystery Lunch

I belong to the Atsugi Enlisted Spouse Association. AESA is a big thing on the base here in Japan. We meet once per month for our general meeting. At the meeting, we discuss association business, get to voice concerns directly to the Command Master Chief, socialize, and we always have an activity. For example, last month we made the Mother's Day Card I blogged about right before Mother's Day. AESA does a tremendous amount for our base community. They run a second hand store and they generate more money for base organizations than any other association combined. The second hand store is very well run and much better than the second hand store at the larger base. AESA also gives out scholarships every quarter.

They provide a very nice Christmas party, a summer party and a surprise trip every year. This year they went to Disneyland Tokyo. They paid for everything and even gave spending money. Unfortunately, I missed the sign up this year. They also have started up a book club. I haven't tried that yet.

Along with our montly meeting, there is always a monthly activity. Usually in the form of a Mystery Lunch or Mystery dinner. What's the Mystery? The location! Today I went to my first Mystery event. It was a lunch and we all drove over to Grandberry Mall and went to the Chinese Buffet. I thought I would tell you what is different about a Chinese Buffet in Japan. The first thing is that the food is more authentic Chinese. It's really very different than any buffet you would find in America. They do have some similar foods, but not a lot. I can't find my Beef and Broccoli here in Japan.

They are big on "food stations" here in Japan. They have a Ramen noodle station. They make two different kinds of Ramen. There is the pork cutlet ramen with a darker soup and there is a clear broth type with some strange veggies in it. (Like norii-seaweed.) They have gyoza stations that have different types of gyoza. That's kind of like a perogii with meat in it. Then they have the buns with bean paste in them. No, I haven't tried it. They did have a lot of mixed dishes at this particular chinese buffet. I tried the meatballs and they were delicious. Add them to the sticky rice and you've got a yummy little dish.

All the restaurants have dessert stations with different types of tiny desserts. Most have ice cream. Most of them also have a drink bar. This particular drink bar was 210 YEN for unlimited refills. They had oolong tea, coke, fanta, alot of different juice drinks and coffee. I haven't been brave enough to taste the vegetable juice with vinegar in it. YUCK.

Another thing that is odd to me is that when you go in you ask for a particular time period. For example, it is 1500 yen for 2 hours at the buffet. Wow, if you need two hours you should really stay away from buffets. LOL!

It was a very pleasant mystery lunch and I look forward to the mystery event next month!

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