10 Things to Do (and Eat) Stateside

10 Things to Do (and Eat) Stateside

In a few days, baby and I are heading to the US. As I pack my bags, I’m also writing my shopping list, which inspired me to write this post.

These are ten things i’m looking forward to doing (or eating!) back in the States:

10. Drive

I had a learner’s permit but never got a driver’s license until last year, when I turned 31! The sky high price of going to a Japanese driving school put me off for years. It wasn’t until I quit my old job and was in a bit of a rut that I decided to get my license once and for all.

Now that I have my license, I’ll get an international driver’s license and I’ll be ready to drive stateside.


9. Be a tourist

Last year was my husband’s first time in Charleston. I grew up in Charleston so couldn’t really give him an objective overview of my hometown. I mean, Charleston is a beautiful city, but, honestly speaking, if I loved it so much, I wouldn’t be here in Tokyo.

But, by showing him around town I gained a different perspective of my hometown and childhood. I felt proud showing him around downtown Charleston and explaining the history of all the buildings and landmarks.

8. Bake, bake, bake!

Let me explain. We don’t have ovens in Japan. There are oven-microwave hybrid things that I simply refuse to buy. I want one of the smaller sized Western style ovens sold in IKEA but installation would cost a bit. I’m trying to convince husband by telling him that an oven would add resale value to our condo, but I’ve made no progress so far.

As a consolation prize, my husband gave me a bread machine (ホームベーカリー ho-mu beika-ri-). I can bake a variety of breads, make dough, and so on, but for muffins, cakes, cinnamon rolls, quiches, etc. I still need access to an oven.

My goal is to bake something every week while I’m Stateside.

7. Eat Lofthouse sugar cookies


Now, I know you’re thinking, “ Wait, if you have access to an oven, why don’t you make your own sugar cookies? Plus, they’d be healthier.

You’re probably right but… IDGAF. I love the artificial taste and the floury goodness caked on the bottom. Those cookies represent America to me. Every time I go home I buy several packages. Once, I couldn’t resist and opened a package and began eating my cookies in the store (of course I paid).


6. Drink Baja Blast from Taco Bell

Taco Bell Japan’s menu has me feeling

Korea’s Taco Bell is straight up lit, and I love their ”couple menu” set where you can get two meals plus two drinks for around 10,000 won ($10-ish) But, they don’t have Baja Blast in Korea, so when I get back, I’m gonna be a true patriot and order the largest size drink available. Because ‘Murica. That’s why.

5. Eat American Chinese Food

One of the best things about living in Japan is the easy access to other Asian countries and food! Within Japan, there’s several Chinatowns in Japan and tons of restaurants that serve authentic Chinese food. There’s also places that sell Japanized Chinese food.

Having tasted authentic Chinese food in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China, American Chinese food is just on another level and really makes a statement on American history and Chinese in America. Husband and I stopped by Ala Moana Mall in Waikiki on our honeymoon, and we got embarrassingly excited when we came across a Panda Express in the Food Court.

Earlier this year, I watched the Netflix documentary, “Searching for General Tso,” and immediately began craving General Tso’s chicken so much that I tried many, many recipes to recreate the taste in my Japanese kitchen.

What I want to eat: I’m hungry for General Tso’s Chicken, fried rice smothered in with duck sauce, egg rolls and fortune cookies.

4. Catch up on American TV shows and pop culture

We get some American TV shows over here, but usually there is a significant gap from the time it’s released in Japan. Right of the top of my head, the only TV show that I can think of that is released in Japan around the same time as the American version is “The Walking Dead.” When TWD comes on Sunday night in the US, we get it Monday night in Japan, which is Monday morning on the east coast.

It means that if I don’t want to be spoiled, I need to stay off the internet, especially Huffington Post because the articles are always, “Why that scene in TWD gave us the feels” and “Why XXX’s death showed us us that no one is safe, not even your faves.”

I want to catch up on Chrisley Knows Best and anything on the Crime Channel. I’m also looking forward to accessing shows and movies available only on the US Netflix. I was looking forward to catching up on the newest movies while on the airplane, but with baby in tow, I’m sure I won’t get a chance to watch anything.

3. Shop

I always look forward to going on shopping sprees when I’m back in the States. I’m not out to buy clothes but household essentials and toiletries. This time I’ll be buying things for baby too! I want to stock on up Curel/Cetaphil, and first aid items like Pedialyte, activated charcoal, and baby medication.

Tokyo is a cosmopolitan world class city and these items can be found throughout the city, but I’d rather buy them in the States where the prices will be more manageable.

I’m seriously in love with Air Wick Plug Ins and desperately need to stock up: they keep our house from smelling like a dog, very important since Kokuto is in his shedding stage now.

2. Introduce baby to family

Obviously, one of the main purpose of this trip is to introduce baby to my mother.

I also want baby to meet her aunt and uncle and cousin, too! I’ve been told that it’s around the six month mark when babies start to become shy, so I wonder how that will play out when she’s suddenly around so many people.

And the number one item on my list is…

1. Relax

Sometimes (all the time?) I feel like my husband doesn’t get me or understands that even though I’m home all day with one baby, every day is a challenge- mentally, physically, and emotionally. Being at home will give me time to clear my head and reexamine things objectively. By the time that husband comes to visit us in July, I hope that I can present my old loving self to him.

Any expats out there with “must do” lists for when they’re back on home soil? I’d love to hear them!

10 Things to Do (and Eat) Stateside

Check out these posts on life in Japan

Scent of My Childhood – Baby and Wisteria at Kameido Tenjin

From Pet Shop to Family – Kokuto’s Story – A Shiba’s Tale

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