interlude – aeon food court

raman girlsDuring the exercise I was bussed onto the post before sunup, and was bussed back to the hotel well after sundown. The best I could do was to try to make it to the Aeon food court before the food stores closed at around 8:30pm local time. This in spite of the fact that the stores said they stayed open until 9pm.

There were a number of stores in the food court: McDonalds,  Baskin-Robbins, Mr. Donut, Subway, an udon store, a raman store, and at least two sushi stores. I actually went into one of the stores with my traveling companion and watched him (and many others) enjoy eating raw fish. I declined, coward that I am.

table cleanup clothsAll the stores were served by a common eating area. The food court had an interesting requirement, at least to Western eyes like mine. There were signs in the common area that asked you politely to clean up the table you were at when you finished eating. There were several wash cloth stations in the common area that supplied pre-moistened towels for this task. I tried to remember to clean my table after I finished.

I never saw anyone else do this, but the common eating area was always clean and neat, and I never saw staff from any of the food sellers come out and clean up. I got so used to seeing a clean eating area, even the common area, that on the way back home, at a layover in Denver, someone had left a large mess of spilled popcorn and orange soda on a table in another common eating area, and I was truly shocked to see it.

baskin robins japanese styleOf all the American-Japanese cross-cultural food stores, the Baskin-Robbins was the most interesting. Every item in the store had a definite Japanese touch to it, and there were many very Japanese ice cream items. Yet I still recognized ice cream cakes, many of them with American cultural emblems on them. Here are a few that should be instantly recognizable.

snoopy + girlfriendpooh + pigletmonster uFrom top to bottom you should recognize Snoopy, Winnie the Pooh, and Sully and Mike from Monsters University. All of these are the tops of Baskin-Robbins ice cream birthday cakes.

The cultural mixing that has taken/is taking place is absolutely fascinating.