Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore

One of the great parts of my job as a pastor is being able to travel to Japan once a year. I have now gone to Japan maybe 9 times or so, but this year for the first time, I had a chance to go to a Japanese Costco. Big deal you may be saying to yourself. Costco? We have a Costco here.

And while it is true that we do indeed have a Costco here there are a few subtle differences between our Costco and the Japanese version. For one, the Japanese Costco takes yen and ours uses the more standard American dollar. But seriously, there were some pretty cool things at the Japanese Costco.

It’s so Americanized that even the word ‘entrance’ is in English

Difference #1: I’ve never seen snow blowers at our Costco

Actually the biggest difference was in the foods. Our Costco just seems to have regular sized items that are just packaged in larger quantities. The Japanese Costco had larger sized fruits and vegetables that came in larger quantities.

Look at the size of those pears!

Here’s Sharon giving new meaning to the phrase ‘daikon legs’

The largest green onions I have ever seen in my life

Now if you’re honest with yourself you know that one of the biggest reasons Costco is so enjoyable is the samples they give away. In Japan they don’t mess around. They don’t give away burrito samples or a few pita chips like we do. They give away freshly fried steak, raw salmon and even seasoned seaweed!

Some steak coming off the fryer

This was an soy bean tofu that I didn’t particularly care for

But it was relatively inexpensive

Mmm, salmon (notice the small bottle of shoyu on the side)

Those salmon fillets look delicious

No samples of these, but the octopus and squid did look good

She didn’t want to be in my picture, but she did open her cooler so we could see the samples

Yup, a big box of seaweed

And of course after a hard morning of shopping we did have to eat lunch somewhere. Again, it’s like our Costco except with a few minor differences.

Can you spot the differences?

If you said Clam Chowder and Bulgogi Bake give yourself 100 points

Inside the Bulgogi Bake

The Clam Chowder was surprisingly good

And of course, one last reminder that we’re truly in Japan is their birthday cake

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