Midorie Gakugeidaigaku

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Seeing as this week has been a mixture of craziness and pockets of respite, I decided to take my 4 hour break today to do something nice – lunch! – as well as errands, cleaning and packing for Christmas traveling. I needed it.

I’ve been wanting to try a new place. The only way to make it through class most days is to browse cute cafes and bookmark them under “Try me!” and their respective location folders. One could argue that maybe I could try a little harder to pay attention in class. My reply would be “learning through osmosis.” I am far too addicted to food porn to not distract myself anyway.

And so, I found myself on a train home, then walking to another train line, then arriving two stations away in the lively neighborhood of Gakugeidaigaku. It was my first visit to this station, so I had no idea it has a nice moderate bustle of daily activity as well as chain coffee shops and little stores. I was instantly glad for my little escape from the usual. After a moment of confusion, I located the place directly across from where I’d been standing boggled.

As I opened the door, I nearly walked straight into one of the girls who worked there, as she was scooping up coffee beans from a bag. Sorry! The place, though cozy and neat, was not what I had pictured. I suppose by first floor, I imagined a cute, plant-filled second story (first not ground floor) cafe with a view of the daily happenings on the street below. Instead, I took an empty seat at a big shared table, a red Christmas poinsettia planted in the middle, beside a middle-aged man and his school aged daughter. I didn’t mind the sharing, it was sitting at the weird end of the oval that bothered me, so I moved to a table for two that opened up in the sunlit window section a few minutes later.Happiness in the sunshine. I ordered the recommended lunch of the day: shrimp, eggs, cabbage and veggie satay; brown and multi-grain rice; miso soup; two deli items (pickled veggies, carrot/raisin/walnut salad); and a bite of dessert. No drink was included, which is pretty unusual for set menus, but they refilled my tea cup whenever asked. Not too shabby.

The meal was generally tasty. While good, it tasted like something I (or someone more skilled than I) could make at home. I didn’t leave disappointed by any means, but I don’t think I’ll be rushing back any time soon. Although perhaps I will be replicating that carrot salad. I had been craving eggs earlier, so the satay hit the spot. The real treat was the dessert bite, – a thick piece of sesame-flavored chocolate grain cake – complete with fresh cream.

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After lunch, I felt like doing a little wandering to explore the area. I meant to return to Jiyugaoka to do a little free coffee and shopping at Kaldi Coffee Farm, but lo and behold! Gakugeidaigaku has a store of its very own. This mini shopping spree necessitated a return home before school, so I did just that, stopping in at my local shrine on the way. The golden leaves falling and scattered across the stone floors of the shrine area caught my eye and drew me in. So beautiful. There is nothing like a shrine to bring peace to my mind – I can’t explain it one bit.

Though I finally finished my obligations at 9.30ish this evening, a rather late night and long day, I can’t say it wasn’t a good time. In fact, it was very much an enjoyable crisp and sunny day in Tokyo.

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