The Fluffiest Pancakes in Japan

By Sabrina Glowacki

My favorite thing to eat is sweets. Japan has some of the most amazing sweets in the world in my opinion. One of the most trendy sweets in Japan is fluffy or souffle pancakes. These pancakes are known for being extremely giggly and delicious. Naturally, I had to try these pancakes.

Image result for gram premium pancake

If you come to Ibaraki prefecture, you must go to Mito city. Mito city has lots of fun things to do. Mito has a movie theater, game center, and many good restaurants. However, the reason I went there one weekend was for the cafe called Gram.

Gram Cafe & Pancake is known for having some of the fluffiest pancakes in Japan. The premium pancakes are only served three times a day, so you must go at one of these times. They are served at 11:00, 2:00, and 6:00. During these times, they only serve 20 plates of the premium pancakes, so get there on time!

The pancakes were well worth the wait! They literally were melting in my mouth. They were also super fluffy and giggly just like I had heard. The pancakes are very very filling, so make sure you don’t eat anything before going.

Even if you don’t get the premium pancakes, there are many other delicious things on the menu! If you love sweets, you must go to Gram. There are also a few locations in Tokyo.

Mito Location: https://www.cafe-gram.com/en/sp/shop/shop_detail/mitoopa.html

Team Lab Borderless

By Sabrina Glowacki

The Team Lab Museum is a digital art museum with two branches one named Borderless and the another named Planets. If you come to Japan I highly recommend that you visit one of these when you are in Tokyo. Not only are they great for Instagram worthy pictures, but they are also incredibly interactive. The Borderless museum in Odaiba is especially popular, so you should reserve your tickets online before you go. The ticket is about 3,200 yen but it is well worth it!

On the train

I went to Team Lab Borderless in Odaiba with some friends. Getting to the museum is very easy and scenic, you just have to take a few trains. The last train you will take has some amazing views of the city!

The museum is made up of a lot of different rooms with different digital art exhibits. There is no map of the museum because the creators wanted people to just wander around and discover the different art. All of the different digital art pieces are absolutely stunning. I easily spent four hours in the museum.

There are interactive parts to the museum as well. My friends and I were able to draw different fish templates. A museum employee then scanned in our drawing so they appeared on the wall. It was a lot of fun!

Tip: If you are a girl don’t wear a short skirt or dress to the museum. Many of the rooms have mirrors on the floor. If you do wear a skirt or dress you will probably have to put on a black cover that the museum provides.

Website: https://www.teamlab.art/

Tattoos in Japan

I am a heavily tattooed woman, at least in the eyes of the Japanese culture. I have a half sleeve on my right arm, tattoos on my thighs, shoulders, wrist, and much more. Within the United States, it’s normal to be heavily tattooed especially within my generation. You can get jobs, you can be successful students, and live a normal life. There’s no discrimination against people who are heavily tattooed. I don’t have to worry about a career or being seen as professional when you work and live in United States. It’s just a different culture.

Before heading to Japan, I heard stories of how Westerners with tattoos wouldn’t be able to go certain places, get stared at, get kicked out of places, what have you. Which terrified me, especially when I heard the job market will be next to nothing if I ever wanted a full career in Japan. Unless, I wanted to cover myself up entirely to keep people from seeing my skin. However, Japan gets incredibly hot in the summer, and I’m not about to sweat to death. 

During my entire stay in Japan I was never kicked out of any place, but people definitely did stare, and my students did a lot of touching. Which, I didn’t mind! I was accustomed to my students and comfortable with them, and their curiosity was very cute to me. So, I let them indulge in how my skin didn’t feel any differently, and answered as many questions as I coud. I had to be a little bit more precautious when volunteering outside of the school, because I didn’t want to offend anyone. Which was ultimately my biggest drawback. It wasn’t that anyone made me feel unwelcomed, it was that in my mind I was scared that I was going to offend anyone. I didn’t want to go to bathhouses, even if I knew they were okay with foreigners with tattoos, because in my mind I thought I would make the other bathers uncomfortable. I wanted to be as reclusive as possible and not bring any attention to myself. So, I avoided bathhouses, gyms, and any place where I could make people in a close vicinity uncomfortable. 

That was really stupid of me! If you are a tattooed Westerner coming to Japan, don’t be scared. Indulge in your experiences, enjoy you time there. Within bigger cities, like Tokyo and Osaka, you’re fine to enjoy your time. However, please be conscientious of your surroundings and the environment around you. Don’t limit yourself and your experiences, but still be respectful and aware of the people around you.