Ideas for Winter Break

Thursday, 10 December 2009, 8:00 | Author : Kricket
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If you have time during this busy holiday season, I recommend visiting the intersection of Geary and Laguna in San Francisco:  The district of Japantown.  Although the internet has made it easy to purchase almost anything online, sometimes it is fun to shop for Japanese items while visiting a local Japanese community.

If you are shopping for anime merchandise, then I recommend stopping at Japantown’s two-story bookstore, Kinokuniya.  The otaku items including manga, cosplay magazines, and artbooks (none of which are translated into English) are all located on the smaller first floor.   There is also a novelty store around the corner called Japantown Collectibles.  However, if you are looking to purchase some music or DVDs, try visiting Japan Video and Media or J-Town Video

If you happen to stay in Japantown long enough for lunch or dinner then I recommend dining at Benihana for great food and spectacular service.  However, if you are not hungry or you are on a budget, visit Isobune.  This restaurant offers a self-serve style where  your food floats around on boats.  The dishes are priced from $2 – $7, so the price of your meal depends on you.

Another option for sampling Japanese food is visiting Nijiya Market and roaming their candy isle.  Even though you are free to purchase as much Pocky as you can afford, I recommend buying a box of chocolate candy called “Melty Kiss” and drinks such as Ramune and Yogloo.

A drive to San Francisco can easily turn into a day-long trip.  If you are looking for a simpler alternative, you can also search online for your local Asian Market (they are more abundant than you might think.)  These stores offer the same selection of snacks and usually include a section of traditional Japanese dishes and tea pots.  The asian market in Emeryville, alongside Highway 880, is one of my favorite shopping centers.

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