Author Archive for

05
Apr
13

All good things…

Well, it’s been a fun existential/sugar/caffeine-fueled adventure these past 2 1/2 years here in Nagoya, but I’ve decided to leave this city and also Japan. Time for a change and to start a new journey- hopefully one that still includes donuts and extrinsic reflection…

I decided this a few months back and have since finished up working and just been traveling around, seeing many different parts of Japan. Complete with donuts and philosophical angst/musings too, of course!

I’m down to my final month here in Nagoya and today, as I was showing a friend who came to visit around town, we randomly passed by the location of my very first Mister Donut experience living here in Nagoya- the Kamimaezu/Osu Mister Donuts. Or rather- what USED to be the Kamimaezu/Osu Mister Donuts….

The tragic gravesite of what once was a bright, shiny Mister Donut

The tragic gravesite of what once was a bright, shiny Mister Donut…

The Osu Mister Donut shop. Filled with hope, optimism and infinite possibilities! (and donuts!)

The (former) Osu Mister Donut shop. Filled with hope, optimism and infinite possibilities! (and donuts!)

It’s a little hard to see (because I took them at different angles and at different times of the day) but, if you look closely- and look at the floor/ceiling tiles, you can see it’s the same location in the same shopping arcade.

I was pretty saddened to see this. It was -almost- as crushing and soul-destroying as coming back years later to the Kyoto, Sanjo amazing 3-STORY Mister Donut shop only to see that it had been replaced by a 3-story Burger King!!! Well, might as well show that one too while we’re on the topic of tragedy…

3F Mister Donuts in Sanjo- Before

3F Mister Donuts in Sanjo- Before

Now a 3F Burger King.... :(

Now a 3F Burger King…. :(

Again, the angle and time of day are different, but they’re the same location…ah, that was a tragic revelation indeed. Some things are better left unknown/unseen and this is one example.

osu2

(former) Osu Shopping Arcade location- awesome ミスド lanterns hanging outside!

Anyway, since I am leaving Nagoya and Japan- and this location was the very first location I went to in Nagoya- it seemed a fitting closure/end to my time here in this city and this time around in Japan.

I hope that one day when I return back to Japan and the never-ending existential journey of self-discovery, eating donuts and drinking copious amounts of unlimited refills on coffee- that I can start up my quest again to “every last Mister Donut in Japan!”.

To the future and it’s infinite possibilities. May every donut bring you one step closer to simplicity, happiness and donut-(or-non-donut) related satori.  ^.~

Your golden dream...your golden opportunity. Enjoy it to the fullest while you can- you can't take it with you....

Your golden dream…your golden opportunity. Available for both take-away or eat-in!

18
Oct
12

自転車で素敵なミスド店巡り!(Mister Donut Bike Ride Adventure 2012!) PART 2

And for the Continuing Story of our…

自転車で素敵なミスド店巡り!(Mister Donut Bike Ride Adventure 2012!) PART 2

Catchy! Yes! Tell all your friends!

Our next stop was our 6th…at MOTOYAMA (本山)!

13:04

6番目: 本山シャップ// Motoyama Shop

Afternoon at 本山店 (13:04)

Heading into the outskirts of our donut-shaped round-about of the Nagoya-city Mister Donuts. Motoyama is up on the Northeast end of the city.

Were we getting sick of donuts yet? Yes. Slightly. (haha, at least I was). This is when I started compiling a “Mister Donut grievances” list…haha.

Motoyama greivance #1: My grievance for the Motoyama shop was that there aren’t enough windows/isn’t enough natural light! With some better/proper windows- the place could be a lot more open and nice. (take a hint from Imaike!)

Here, we got one of the “special” 限定-or limited/seasonal donuts, (which can be really hit-or-miss). Well, this one unfortunately was one of the misses. It was a ホートリング (hot ring?) or some such nonsense, but it wasn’t hot AND when we asked for it to be heated up- the staff told us these donuts weren’t meant to be heated? Whatttttt?

Too tired to argue/care at this particular point- so we just ate it anyway.

Here it is! The ホートリング in all its not-hot glory! :]

Sweet! One more shop down! Next up- Gokiso! 御器所シャップ!

13:41

7番目:御器所シャップ// Gokiso Shop

(13:41) On to- Gokiso!

I quite like the Gokiso shop- but I always forget that I like it, actually. I almost always confuse it/clump it in with the Motoyama shop- seeing as they are both kinda “out-there” from Nagoya-city central, and very close to each other. However, they are actually quite different (and in my opinion, Gokiso is much nicer; or at least- more prone to relaxing in).

Luckily, since Motoyama and Gokiso are so close together- we had less time spent in transit/biking between shops- and could spend a bit of extra time relaxing here. It was very quiet and relaxed while we were there- exactly what I needed at that point I think.

It was here we shared the quintisential “Mister Donut” donut;

The 「ポンーデーリング」, “Pon de Ring”.

「ポンーデーリング」 Pon-de-ring. Existential in itself as the donut name sounds like “pondering”.

Now, I haven’t written much about this donut previously (my personal favourite being the French Cruller)- but this is arguably Mister Donut’s legacy- and possibly most famous/popular donut. 大人気!大好評!

I’ve tried very hard actually to like this donut- just for this very fact! But, I really just have to admit (against my best efforts) that sadly, I’m really just not very fond of it.

At best- it’s 普通/”normal” and otherwise- I am just not interested. I will give it credit however, in that it is very unique. The texture is unlike any other donut I’ve ever eaten- very similar texture to Japanese “mochi” or “pounded/sticky rice”.

Japanese mochi. (Even if adorable rabbits on the moon were to make this for me- it’s still not my favourite…)

The taste is: kinda sweet, kinda chewy and just all-around “mochi”-like. I will however, admit that I -do not- particularly like mochi, so therefore I can understand why the Pon de Ring isn’t my favourite.

Although I do love the name- Pon-de-Ring!

Why? Because the donut itself begets Existentialism and philosophy simply in it’s own existence! That it’s very own name sounds suspiciously like “pondering”!

My 500-point Pon-de-Lion plushie!

Also, the mascot- Pon-de-Lion is based around it- and I –am– quite fond of him.  :]

Anyway- that was my brief history/rant about Mister Donut’s famed “Pon-de-Ring”. It needed to be mentioned at some point, seeing as how it -is- the quintessential Mister Donut…donut.

For anyone who is further interested…my friend Will linked me to this interesting blog post that gives a bit more history on the ミスドのポンーデーリング.  Check it out here at, http://fiftyfootshadows.net/2012/01/26/pon-de-ring/

Okay! What were we talking about originally? Oh yes- the Pon-de-Ring we ate at Gokiso! Our 7th stop on our Mister Donut Bike Ride Adventure!

The 大好評 itself- ポンーデーリング! Pon-de-Ring!

Chewy…
Next stop is…Aeon Mall- Atsuta! (イオン熱田シャップ).

14:24

8番目: イオン熱田シャップ// AEON Mall- Atsuta Shop

(14:24) mid-afternoon at Aeon-mall Atsuta

Now, I’m not usually a fan of “mall” Mister Donuts (Apita/Aeon/etc.)- as they lose a lot of the atmosphere/character that makes it uniquely “Mister Donut” . Going to a mall Mister Donut hardly feels any different from being in any other mall food-court.

That being said- Atsuta Aeon is at least one of the better ones. I think because it’s not right -smack- in the middle of the food court and is a little more detached, that you don’t have to contend with/ be right in the thick of that whole “mall-food-court-thing” which makes it slightly more tolerable.

Honey-old fashioned (温める)- with bonus of free Kaldi coffee!

Here, we got one of my all-time favourite doughnuts! The honey-old fashioned…hot! Super secret insider tip! You can get any regular doughnut heated- and oftentimes, it makes them even more delicious! The honey ones are very, very amazing when heated. It gets all soft and glazed and….mmmm :]  I recommend you try it!

Next up- Kanayama! 金山です!

14:46

9番目: 金山シャップ// Kanayama Shop

Kanayama 4:46pm

Kanayama 4:46pm

This is actual an older picture of Kanayama, I took much longer ago. But, we were so exhausted at this point- I actually forgot to take a picture of the shop! So, instead enjoy this picture of Kanayama donuts at evening-time during Summer 2011!

Choco-ring (a classic favourite)

Choco-ring (a classic favourite)

15:17

10番目: 名古屋南シャップ// Nagoya (South) Shop

Nagoya Station (South) 3:17pm

Nagoya Station (South) 3:17pm

coconut donut

coconut donut and forlorn-ness, anguish…despair

This time around it was a cocount donut, coupled with forlorness, existential anguish, and despair…well, that or maybe we were just getting tired…

15:49

11番目: 名古屋駅前シャップ// Nagoya Station Shop

Nagoya Station 3:49pm

Nagoya Station 3:49pm

sugar donut

enjoying? a sugar donut

16:23

12番目: 中村公園シャップ// Nakamura Koen Shop

Nakamura Koen 4:23pm

Nakamura Koen 4:23pm

This was my first time going to the Nakamura Koen shop- and I believe this was the first “new” location we went to on the trip, so that was a pretty refreshing burst of energy on what was becoming a big of an exhausting endeavor.

custard...cream -shudder- my worst nightmare of all donuts!

custard…cream -shudder- my worst nightmare of all donuts!

Ugh, here was where I was FORCED to eat a custard cream donut!! The horror! I -hate- custard and have never liked donuts with filling, but we had vowed to try a different donut at each location and the time had come to face my custard horror…on top of being full/sick of donuts already at this point, it was pretty terrible. Tried not to vom. From what I remember, this location had a wailing child non-stop as well. We decided to make our stop at this one a brief one…

16:46

13番目: 本陣シャップ//  Honjin Shop

Honjin 4:46pm

Honjin 4:46pm

This was another new location I had never been to yet- and it was pretty exciting and one of the nicer locations we visited throughout our tour. Maybe I would even say the overall best? It was done up in the old/original wood style and very relaxing- a nice break from the trek.

wooden/original facade

wooden/original facade

pon-de-choco!

pon-de-choco! (can see my mister donut bike key ring peeking out as well :P)

17:36

14番目: 庄内シャップ//  Shonai Shop

Shonai 5:36pm

Shonai 5:36pm

double choco

double choco

18:06

15番目: 黒川シャップ// Kurokawa Shop

Kurokawa 6:06pm

Kurokawa 6:06pm

Honey Dip! <3

Honey Dip! <3

A classic fav, the honey dip- complete with exciting TRIANGLE table in the middle of the shop! ポイント!

… AND FINALLY,

THE 16th MISTER DONUT STOP  on our ミスドめぐり/ Mister Donut Bike Ride Adventure;

18:29

16番目: 金城シャップ// Kinjo Shop

IMG_0874

Last and final stop…Kinjo! 6:06pm

終わり

終わり

Luckily enough, Mister Donut was running a “decorate your own donut” campaign, so it was perfect for making a “Mister Donut めぐり思い出”.

Phew! Finished! What a ride! (Literally). Yeah, it was exhausting typing and just remembering that whole ordeal. By the end of it- I didn’t want to see another donut- EVER.

Luckily however, this temporary nausea/sickness induced by donuts passed- and I can still authentically say that I love Mister Donut. This must prove that my love for donuts is authentic, pure and true!

16
Oct
12

自転車で素敵なミスド店巡り!(Mister Donut Bike Ride Adventure 2012!) PART 1

2012年5日26日 (May 25, 2012)

IT’S HERE!!

The long-awaited; Mister Donut Bike Ride Adventure!

ミスドめぐり!

THIS IS IT.

This is what everyone has been waiting for! The epic Mister Donut bike ride adventure (自転車で素晴しい素敵なミスド店巡り!) Uh, yeah, loosely translated….

What, what?

That’s right. Basically a friend and & I one day had a sudden burst of inspiration in that we would take a bicycle tour of all the closest Mister Donuts to us- IN ONE DAY!! As well as, have a brief sit & eat a doughnut at EACH location!  Genius, I know! How could anything go wrong? It was a flawless plan, surely.

So, we mapped out a route to all the closest mister donuts to us- and how many would be feasible to do in one day. We figured if we sat & shared one donut at each shop- it would take about 15 mins in the shop, and another 15-20 mins to travel to the next mister donuts. So basically, allowing 30(+) mins per shop (sitting, eating a donut & transit time).

Yes, in case you’re curious- a lot of heavy calculations went into this…

In the end, we decided we could d0 a tour of 16 DIFFERENT Mister Donut shops in ONE DAY (8 hours or so).

So, without further ado-The epic 16 different locations of Mister Donut around Nagoya tour! (名古屋の素敵なミスド店巡り!)

10:20 a.m.

1番目: 大須シャップ // Osu Kannon/Kamimaezu Shop

Osu Kannon- looking quiet and relaxed at 10:30a.m….

This is where it all began…what started out as a simple/nonchalant idea- grew into an actual expedition into the surreal realm of MANY, TOO MANY DOUGHNUTS.

Excited! But little did we know of the trials and tribulations in the name of doughnuts to come…

We were feeling pretty upbeat and enthusiastic about the expedition at this point, but LITTLE DID WE KNOW- of the many, many trials we would be sure to face on our; “Journey into more Mister Donuts in one day than any single man should ever know”. Catchy, right?

10:20 AM- French Cruller & coffee to get us started on our adventure…

So, we started off with a coffee each to get us going and we split a french cruller (my personal favourite). We decided that 16 doughnuts each was WAY too many, and on a flash of insight, opted to split one single doughnut between us at each shop. Taking our individual doughnut intake down to a more manageable, 8 DOUGHNUTS PER PERSON IN ONE SINGLE DAY. 0_O (What were we thinking, really??)

11 :06 a.m.

2番目: 栄シャップ // Sakae Shop

(11:06 am) 2nd stop- Sake (2番目栄店)

Sakae was the next stop on the itinerary, I kinda like this shop- it’s right smack in the middle of downtown Sakae- but it still feels somewhat hidden away and upon entering, it’s like a breath of fresh air/escape from all that “downtown Sakae/プリンセス通り” madness- (trust me, you need an escape from that street).

A typical evening view of Sakae

It’s right across from club ID (I think that says enough right there) and a pachinko parlour with enough lights on to actually give the street the illusion of daylight, even in the middle of the night.  キラキラ. Even so, it always seems pretty empty and has a relaxed atmosphere. You’ll often see businessmen, over-worked students (and myself) passed out here at varied times throughout the day.

Golden chocolate- complete with feelings of emptiness and solitude, isolation and despair; and chocolatey goodness!

This poor doughnut is looking helplessly alone and insignificant in this great, big, frightening world outside.  But, it was still delicious, regardless! While this doughnut is alone with (possible) feelings of isolation, anguish, despair etc. , it still didn’t seem to waiver in it’s overall deliciousness- which is something to give you hope or a sweet golden-chocolate beacon of light in even the bleakest of moment. Uh, yeah- basically, we would need this ray of golden-chocolate goodness to keep us going for the (many) doughnut-induced trials ahead of us.

11:41 a.m.

3番目: 千種シャップ// Chikusa Shop

The Chikusa illusion, or rather, you can’t see from the outside what a CRAZY BUSY madhouse it was!

I’ve written about the Chikusa shop before, you can check it out here, if you’re so inclined. https://existentialdonuts.wordpress.com/category/chikusa-%E5%8D%83%E7%A8%AE/

Chikusa ミスド at “proper people” time; (anytime before noon I suppose)

What I mean to say is that, this particular experience at Chikusa Mister Donut was QUITE a far cry from my usual 寛ぎ/relaxing prior excursions here. Under normal circumstances, (perhaps not peak hours of the day for regular, proper people i.e.- anytime before 12p.m.)- this location is quite quiet, chilled-out and relaxed. But that was NOT the situation we stumbled upon this time around.

It was only our 3rd stop, and roughly 1-hour later from our initial departure from the Osu ミスド shop, but we were getting tired and would have liked a place to sit down and enjoy our 3rd doughnut. Not in the cards, unfortunately.  The place was PACKED! すごっく満員した! There was literally no free spot to even stand, let alone a table or place to sit down at.

To make matters worse- we ended up stuck at the check-out for a good 10-15 mins extra than what we had allotted, as it was 1) very busy and even worse, 2) the employee who was ringing us up accidentally DELETED ALL MY MISTER DONUT CARD POINTS!! All 300+ of them! Tragic, I know!

Luckily, the mister donut point card/existential crisis (what does it mean to be; lost- adrift in an endless sea with no donut points to redeem??)- was resolved eventually, but it did take about 10mins of him frantically inputting buttons into the register and frowning/sweating profusely.

Tarro: “Make sure you get the bins in the picture too- for nostalgic purposes” …いい思い出かな?

In the end, we wound up with a strawberry-frosted doughnut, some frazzled nerves (mostly me from the prior point-card fiasco) and a lovely standing spot near the trash bins. And with that, we were off to Imaike! ミスドShop #3 on our long day ahead of us.

12:03 p.m.

4番目: 今池 ップ// Imaike Shop

(12:03pm), 4th stop at Imaike Mister Donut

Well, if Chikusa was a picture of chaos and donuts- Imaike being the next in line was the exact opposite. It was a relaxing breath of fresh air and open space (with lots of big windows and natural light- my favourite). It was quite the stark contrast having just come from the Chikusa Mister Donut “madhouse” (which the name implies was more fun than it actually was).

Are we getting sick of donuts yet? Not quite yet…

I like Imaike  for its big windows, open space (the booths aren’t all packed in), lots of natural light- and a great place to people-watch/zone out from up on the 2nd floor. Zone-out, which is exactly what we did at this point.  In addition to splitting a choco old-fashioned donut.

We took this moment of zen & donuts to space out a bit and relax- and get our bearings together for our next stop at…Ikeshita! Actually, we were feeling a little bit more optimistic/upbeat at this point, that we thought it might be fun/interesting to mention our little “doughnut めぐり” to the staff/employee who rang us up- since she seemed friendly and cheerful with us.

“Who knows?” I said. “She may even be interested/excited to hear about our doughnut expedition– and, and maybe she will tell Mister Donut headquarters about us! And…we’ll get on the news! And- and Mister Donut will pick me up to be their official spokesperson–!”  I was starting to get a little ahead of myself at this point- possibly brought on by a donut-induced sugar-high from eating nothing but donuts for the better part of the day.

Well, needless to say- she was NOT impressed with this little doughnut adventure of ours. Her reaction was…hard-to-place really. We weren’t sure if she was frightened, or just completely nonplussed- perhaps a little bit of both? But it certainly wasn’t as excited as we were hoping for. It went a little something like this…

Me: Hey! Did you know we’re doing a [ミスドめぐり] (Mister Donut tour)?! We’re cycling around to 16 different Mister Donuts IN ONE DAY. Isn’t that cool/exciting?!

Employee: Ah! -goes quiet suddenly- I see…so, uh, that would mean next is…Ikeshita then, right?  ….

Me: -slightly disappointed- Oh. Yeah! Pretty cool huh? Do you think it’s ever been done before?

Employee: Mmmm… -nods and backs away slowly-

At that point she disappeared into the backroom and we took it that that was our cue to leave- maybe before she, you know…called the cops or tried to get us committed.

12:27 p.m.

5番目: 池下シャップ// Ikeshita Shop

(12:27pm) 5th stop on our donut tour. “Donut Crossing in Ikeshita”

The Ikeshita ミスド is another nice spot, which is lucky since it’s actually the closest Mister Donut to my house- and therefore visited regularly. The windows are great for zoning out and people watching at the busy crosswalk/intersection directly out front of the shop.

late afternoon; golden-chocolate light streaming through the windows

My favourite time of the day to visit Ikeshita ミスド is in the late afternoon, when the sun is just starting to go down, casting everything in long shadows and golden light. The late afternoon/early evening light comes in really nicely from the windows- and the whole shop takes on a golden colour.

Still somewhat cheery! Looking forward to more donut adventures ahead!

We were there a little too early for that however, arriving just after it had gone half-past noon. Our donut for this particular stop was an エンゼルフレンチ or french-cruller with angel-cream filling (another one of my favs). Were we getting sick of donuts yet? Only a little bit!  次はMotoyama(本山)!

And…here ends (PART ONE)-of the Mister Donut Bike Ride Adventure.

So, I realized this post is taking me quite some time to write/recount- so in the interest of time (and not having a ridiculously long post at once), I’ve decided to break this up into THREE parts -also known as the; ミスド EPIC BIKE RIDE ADVENTURE: THE TRILOGY!

Look forward to our continuing adventures on our Mister Donut Bike Ride Adventure in the posts to come! (^0^)/

UPDATE: Part 2 of the epic,continuing adventure is now available- here!

06
Jul
12

Osaka/Keihan ミスド Adventures (大阪・京阪線の旅)

This picture has nothing to do with neither donuts -shock- nor Osaka, but I did find it on the Keihan line and it’s wayy too cute.

Golden Week has come and gone here in Japan, where you get a week of work to travel or (in my case) laze around at home and in mister donut. I didn’t go anywhere over Golden Week, but I did do a brief travel up to Osaka in the beginning of April in-between switching jobs.

What did I do in Osaka, you ask? Well, this wasn’t exactly planned (or was it?) but, I ended up wandering around and touring a quarter of the Keihan (my favourite and most 懐かしい train line in Japan) and a handful of the Mister Donuts along it.

I had some plans to visit my Japanese host-family in the evening, but as for the rest of the day- I was completely, authentically and infinitely free (as we all are). I didn’t have any more pressing plans than aimlessly ぶらぶらing around, and it was a nice day- so I figured, why not get off a few stops before my station and walk to my host family’s house.

Kuzuha 樟葉

Kuzuha station shop

I decided to get off at Kuzuha(樟葉駅), seeing as how I had passed by it many times and always liked the sound of the name/been interested in exploring it. Lo and behold- not 1min outside of Kuzuha station did I see a mister donut! Success! I didn’t actually bother to explore the station shop, as it didn’t really have a proper place to sit and looked to be お持ち帰り (take-out) only.

Kuzuha (outside) the station

Upon further exploration, I came to find out there  is not one, but two separate Mister Donuts in Kuzuha- within a 5 min walk/radius of one another! This time, I opted to have a sit, a bit of a nap and a coffee and french cruller. It wasn’t a bad spot- but I wasn’t immediately taken with it- and I felt some strange feeling that I couldn’t fully and completely relax here, (may have been something to do with relentlessly crying child that was also present- but I can’t say for certain…). In the end I only stayed for about a half-hour.

Makino (牧野)

Sunset, train lines- an evening in Makino.

I kept on walking until I reached Makino (牧野駅), which is right around my old study abroad stomping grounds, so it was pretty すごく懐かしい~ or highly nostalgic and so forth.

I had a sit, contemplated where I was, who I was, “…what was I doing there and why was I dressed so oddly” (bonus existential donut points if you can name the Sartre quote! :P) …why donuts are so pleasing, why people should probably take more naps than they do…and other such deep thoughts.

Makino is a great little area of Osaka. If you ever find yourself on the Keihan heading from Osaka towards Kyoto, I greatly recommend having a stop and a sit at Makino, or Hirakata-shi, or Gotenyama, or Kuzuha. Anyway, may as well just ride the whole Keihan line, get off at any random station, wander around and call it a complete day. Done and done!

Hirakata-shi (枚方市)

The legend itself! The most wondrous of all the Mister Donuts!!

Well, Hirakata-shi is a pretty special place to me indeed, and it’s probably one of the most significant Mister Donuts- one that made me realize my quintisential love for doughnuts and relaxing and aimlessly staring off into space…

So special in fact, that I will (probably, if I ever decide to get around to it) devote a full, proper post, to it specifically and individually.  It just had the perfect atmosphere and was one of the absolute best spots for relaxing. It’s nestled away in a little indoor shopping arcade- with not much inside besides an 怪しい palm-reader, a KFC, a Book-Off and some non-remarkable typical 定食-type Japanese restaurants. I always liked that place especially though, because of the  オルゴール  (twinkly music box music) that was ALWAYS playing- without fail. It gave the place a sort-of quiet, hidden-away, relaxing and magical atmosphere…like something out of a fairy tale.

It may simply be due to that fact that it was the first regular and frequent exposure I had to Mister Donut- but it still holds a special place in my heart none-the-less! I felt that whenever I came here, I could relax utterly and completely and take a moment to take everything in. It’s still probably my favourite Mister Donut location in all of Japan- and I make a point to stop by whenever I’m back in Hirakata. :)

I like taking little day trips up to Osaka when I can squeeze it in. It’s a nice little escape/excursion and always makes me feel as if I’m going back in time- or leaving my current life here and going back to being a student.

Hopefully there will be many more Osaka Mister Donut adventures to come! 大阪が大好き!ドーナツが大好き!大阪でドーナツを食べて、大好き!

29
Jan
12

津- (the dreaded) TSU Shop Review!

津シャップ

(Tsu Shop)

The bleakness! The horror! The nausea, angst, forlorness and despair!

ポイント! (Key Point)

  • The main attraction & shiny beacon of golden-chocolate light in Tsu!
  • You don’t even have to leave the Tsu station in order to enter it- in fact you can avoid entering Tsu altogether and just come for the donuts and leave again! ボーナスポイント! !

Oh woe! Of all the Mister Donuts in Japan, why did I have to walk into- er, shall I say- write about this one?? My arch-nemesis (also known as where I work on Saturday mornings and most likely the only rational reason I have an irrational vendetta against…); TSU!!

Well, considering the ode to Tsu I wrote about in my Chikusa post– I figured it was only fair to shed a beacon of golden-chocolate light on the Tsu Mister Donut- the only truly redeeming quality of the city .  **see footnote
Well, to start- I suppose that’s not entirely fair. There nothing inherently wrong with Tsu of course- seeing as well, there is nothing inherent ever. That being said, there is something about Tsu that just doesn’t seem to fit well with me. It may simply be that fact that I am made to travel all the way down from Nagoya to Tsu every single Saturday for work at way too early o’clock in the morning. (yes that’s a real time, you may also know it by its other name a.k.a.- “the world before 10a.m.”)
But, that is neither here nor there and still has nothing to do with the authentic Tsu- in and of itself. But still, the place itself has a sort-of bleakness. I’m not able to express it so well myself- you’ll just have to take the journey all the way down here to be disappointed by it in person. :D

However, there are a few good points to Tsu.  Firstly, the name warrants itself easily to a lot of puns- (ah, I worked in Tsu today… Ah! TSU-karesama desu!). Additionally, the name kinda sounds like sushi (Tsu-shi, yum).

Well anyway, I’m getting a little off track here (which is ironic as I’m on the train home ((hehe)). Actually, I went to Tsu Mister Donut not once, not twice but on 3 separate occasions today! (that’s gotta be some kinda record- even for me).
So anyway it got me thinking, I’m long overdue for a post about the Tsuショプ. In fact, a friend even asked me which Mister Donut I had been to the most since living here- and with horror- I considered that it may actually be Tsu!! I don’t actually go and have a proper sit there with coffee and relaxing and spacing out and the like, but since it’s the closest to where I work, I may very well have gone in and out it for お待ち帰り the most number of times! Oh woe! To think my arch-nemesis Tsu holds the record for my Nagoya mister donut visits!

庄内緑地公園: Older/Wooden Style

Well anyway, the shop isn’t all bad. It’s one of the shops I go to frequently enough to actually recognize the regular staff there, and they remember me. It’s all recently been converted to the ‘new style’ (there is both a ‘new’ and ‘old’ style of interior decoration for mister donuts- I’ll go into this more in future updates) but briefly- the old-style is becoming a lot harder to come by, as most shops have converted to the new style. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with the new-style, I find myself liking the old-style shops better- as they always seem to have a bit more character.

Newer/bright/shiney style

The new ones are a lot brighter and just a tad bit more sterile. This- shall we call it; sterility is pretty apparent in the Tsu mister donut. It’s almost as if the shop itself disagrees with the transformation and is fighting against it. Sure it’s been re-wallpapered and the seats & tables have been updated, but it’s like a transplant rejecting its new host. It feels like the old mister donut is still underneath- trying to burst out and revert back to how things used to be.  Aren’t we all?

So, this may be a strange thing to say considering I’ve not actually seen this location in the old format, but I’ve since heard that they recently changed it before I started coming to Tsu- and I can totally imagine it designed in that previous style. So, it’s not a bad place, it just feels a little strange- I can’t see myself sitting down there and studying or zoning out for long periods of time- (perhaps it’s simply that I just don’t want to stay in Tsu for all that long). It’s also always rather busy and bustling- but I find I have a hard time concentrating in there.

Tsu(津): Natsukashii...でしょう?

There’s a big, closed off smoking area that reminds me of one of my Hirakata-shi mister donuts- so it always makes me feel rather 懐かしい/(sentimental).

Ah! The delicious beacon of golden-chocolate light when working on a Saturday...

Working in Tsu is always a rough day for me- so I appreciate the little sanctuary/beacon of light that is the Tsu Mister Donut. It’s easily the highlight of my day on many Saturdays! So in this sense, The Tsu Mister donut is rather like a small salvation for me- so I can justly say I have some sense of affection for it.
It may not be the shiniest or the nicest of all the mister donuts I’ve been in, but there is a charm there none the less.
So, thank you, Tsuショプ mister donut- for just being you. <3

**I would like to make a quick note that I have no real qualm whatsoever with the people and city of Tsu. The extremity to which I play up Tsu is (mostly) in jest and for my own fun and indulgence. Please do not be offended by anything written here as it is purely in the spirit of fun (and some overly existential angst).**

^_~

01
Jan
12

池下 Ikeshita Shop Review (and New Years adventure)

池下シャップ

(Ikeshita Shop)

Ikeshita on the corner amid a cloudless blue sky

 ポイント! (Key Point)

  • Mysterious 2nd floor bathroom in an alternate dimension
  • Cozy window seating area with blinds and ground-level view of the outside street &  Ikeshita train station

Some studying in late-afternoon

First of all, I love the lighting in this particular location. I really dislike synthetic light, and I like places with lots of windows/good natural lighting.

Ikeshita has some great windows and lets the light in really well, and at the right time in late afternoon, the whole place is bathed in this great, golden late-afternoon glow.

I like to sit on the stools by the window and look outside through the blinds. It’s a great spot to study and/or take an afternoon nap. Siestas/昼ね/Mid-afternoon naps are another one of my favourite hobbies.

What secrets lay inside?

One of the most interesting aspects of this place however, is the mysterious 2nd floor bathroom in an alternate dimension and which is also devoid of time- or perhaps caught in one particular still or moment in time, I’m not quite sure, myself.

Honestly though, every time I go upstairs to use the bathroom I feel as if I have been transported to another world or dimension and that the world I’m living in is no longer real.

First of all, in order to get to the bathroom, you can’t access it from inside the shop, but you literally have to go out a door that leads to the outside, back onto the street and walk up an immediate staircase to the next floor of the connecting building.

Up the stairs...

Into the alternate donut dimension!

Its during this transport from the shop to the upstairs that I feel like myself has been physically removed from the universe I thought I’ve come to know. Upstairs, it all looks the same, but something is very off with the feeling and mood- the light- everything about it is slightly strange.

This is by no means a bad thing, in fact it’s a very interesting thing- and I always like the labyrinth maze-like walk upstairs to this bathroom in an alternate dimension. I feel like time there stops and stays still for just a little bit.

Here I feel a sort of odd, wrenching kind of feeling- oh wait, this is starting to sound like a Murakami novel…perhaps this can all be attributed to that fact that I’ve gotten deep into reading 1Q84, often at this particular location. In addition, I may or may not have fallen asleep at the counter having wild Murakami and too much black coffee/french cruller-induced dreams. ;)

Herein ends my little story/ode to the alternate universe that lies just on top of a nondescript little office building above the Mister Donut in Ikeshita, Nagoya, Japan.

Perhaps one day you too, can experience time stand still and see the universe from inside a fish-eye lens on top of the 2nd floor of the Ikeshita ミスド.  Sometimes we all need a little escape from reality/the everyday and our own little escape into a quiet, faraway place. :)

Christmas time at Ikeshita! クリスマスのとき~

Merry Christmas! Happy 2012!

あけましておめでとう!今年もよろしくお願いします~

あけおめ~~

23
Nov
11

千種- Chikusa Shop Review

千種ショップ 

(Chikusa Shop)

Chikusa self-serve ミスド + Mos Burger

ポイント! (Key Point)

  • Connected to a Mos Burger (so if you get hungry for something that ISN’T donuts– like that would ever happen!)

Frankly, there isn’t anything so inherently/openly special about this location, aside from the obvious fact that it’s attached to a MOS Burger, so if you get hungry for some (slightly) more substantial food, you can sit and eat a Mos Burger with your donuts.

It’s very open and spacious and I’ve never seen it truly crowded, and although it’s not the most interesting or exciting of all the mister donut locations I’ve been too- there is a quiet, mysterious something about it that I like. I get a sense of solitude every time I go here, and it’s not a bad kind-of solitude at that, just a quiet, “you can keep to yourself and keep to your thoughts”  type of atmosphere.

I like to go here, put my headphones in and zone out with a book or some quiet music. It’s also a pretty good spot to study Japanese (not that I’ve found any particular mister donut spots that are BAD to study at either), I suppose.

My most vivid memory of this particular location is of the day I sat in here after getting a ラッキー typhoon day-off-work/reprieve from the trek all the way down to Tsu (津).

A quick ode-to-Tsu; Tsu, Tsu, my deepest, more fearsome enemy- it’s you. The name alone brings on a bought of the nause, it’s true. For whomever would want to make the arduous journey down to you, I wish I knew.

Anyhow, regardless of the inherent horror that may or may not be implicit in the very fiber of existence that is Tsu- that particular day is what strikes my memory the most about this particular Mister Donut location.

After hearing the glorious news that I got a lucky Saturday off- hence giving me a rare 3-day weekend, I was beyond ecstatic at my free morning to just ごろごろ/laze around in Mister Donut. I studied a bit, listened to some music and enjoyed my favourite hobby of all- zoning out.

Chikusa is good for that. If one ever wants to simply zone out and unfocus/unwind- this location is an easy 3 min bike ride away (from me) to do just that.




Existential Donuts. The Quest to visit every last Mister Donut in Japan.

TOTAL NUMBER OF LOCATIONS VISITED

55 (...and counting)