So this actually happened on March 31st, which was our first (of many) holidays. Allana and I wanted to go into Beppu to do some much-needed shopping at the 105 JPY store and the depachiko (basement grocery store). The Co-Op store has many options for food, but no fresh vegetables or meat and limited choices of everything else, so I highly recommend heading into Beppu as soon as you can to get the essentials. Buy for about a week or so, since bus fare can be expensive.

Bus fare. The best choice for APU Students in my experience is the “Triple Ticket” sold inside of the Co-Op Store. Go into the store and head to the back left side, where you’ll see counters labeled with numbers. Counters 6 & 7 only sell bus tickets, so choose one and buy two “Triple Tickets” for 2000 JPY. Why two you ask? Because the Triple is three one-way bus tickets. You’ll want to go into Beppu more than three times, guaranteed, so you may as well buy them at once and keep them in a safe place.

We caught the black line bus and rode it all the way to the end of the line just for kicks. The last stop is Beppu Station, so all twelve of us (our little excursion grew considerably once other students on our floor realized where we were going) invaded a little cafe inside the station and took over a row of tables:

After we got bored of disturbing the peace, we left the station and walked the six blocks to the depaato. Imagine a normal department store in America. Now double its size and add a huge basement. There you go. This one was mostly like ours back home, except for the all-day stage show put on by the staff and the day care children (so cuuuute). From what I could see of the show each time we passed, they would switch from playing games like Bingo to having actual stage shows to advertising with live infomercials. We did our shopping and then got lunch, most of us going for McDonald’s since it’s actually food in Japan and it’s pretty cheap too. I attribute this mostly to the incredibly strict food-safety laws Japan employs–for example, it’s actually illegal to put food dye in soda and snacks–not that I’m complaining.

After lunch we went back to the dorms and Sayaka (my roommate) invited me over for dinner with her best friends from high school. We made okonomiyaki, which is a type of cabbage pancake (much better than it sounds, really) with oyster sauce and mayonnaise:

Nom. Don’t try to make this at home, American readers–both Japanese cabbage and mayonnaise are completely different tasting than anything we sell in the States. When I like mayonnaise… you know it must be different.