EAT! Hamamatsu · Food

EAT! Hamamatsu : Mein Schloss

There is absolutely no reason a huge German beer hall should exist in Hamamatsu, but here we are.

Mein Schloss (“My castle” in German) looks like a monstrosity from the outside, but it actually very aesthetic inside.

Lamb is a bit of a rarity in Japan, so me and my fellow Brit, Ama, went for the lamb chops. Lamb can sometimes be a little greasy, but it was succulent, juicy with no grisly fat.

However they only came with a few waffle fries so I recommend getting some extras on the side – we shares some french fries and onion rings, about ¥400 per plate.

Elizabeth went for a Flammkuchen which although originating in France, is somewhat a German twist on a traditional pizza. Although there is no tomato sauce or mozzarella, the pizza is instead topped with sour cream, onions and bacon.
I tried a slice and although very rich, it was nevertheless creamy and delicious due to the light flavours.

I inherited my dad’s love of craft beer, so was happy to learn there is a brewery on-site creatively called Hamamatsu Beer where they have a lager, a helles, a wheat beer and an ale.
George would be buzzing.

If you’re just looking for a drink, there is plenty of space in the beer garden with beer taps available for convenience. You can also order Hamamatsu Beer from their online shop.

My only criticism is although the live oom-pah band is very charming and fitting with the theme, they’re also pretty bloody loud with the sound echoing around the large beer hall so it can be difficult to chat to your group.

It’s also a bit of a splurge – my lamb chops, the sharer plates and a large beer cost around ¥3600, but they also do lunch specials and offers for parties and enkais. I also wish there was a set menu option.

Keepin’ it classy since ’89

However if you’re in the area and looking for something fun and different – look no further and give it a try.
Achtung, baby!

Opening hours:
Weekdays 11:00-14:00, 17:00-22:30 CLOSED MONDAYS.
Saturday 11:00-22:30
Sunday 11:00-22:30

Reservations available via phone or online.

ADDRESS: 〒430-8691 静岡県浜松市中区中央3丁目8-1
Approximately a 10 minute walk from Hamamatsu station.

~ Carla

EAT! Hamamatsu · Food

EAT! Hamamatsu

I love eating. Shocking, I know.

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about doing a little series on eateries in Hamamatsu city and the surrounding areas.

While the area is famous for several foods – mikan oranges, grilled unagi (eel) and Hamamatsu gyoza – notably Hamamatsu is one of the most multicultural cities in Japan.
Around 25,000 foreigners live in the area, making up 3% of the local population, so among the usual Japanese joints and izakaya there are plenty of interesting places to try!

If you have any recommendations or suggestions, please leave it in the comments section or get in touch on my About page.

~ Carla

Bite-Sized Japanter · music

Bite-Sized Japanter #10: Do-Re-Mi

Before a class with my first graders, one of the students was heartily singing ‘Do-Re-Mi’ in Japanese and because I LOVE The Sound of Music I sang along with her in English.
It was very cute, the bairns applauded.

I don’t know how famous the film is in Japan, but nevertheless I discovered there is an anime version of The Sound of Music called トラップ一家物語 (Trapp Family Story) because OF COURSE THERE IS.

Trapp Family Story

Interestingly, the notes are slightly different as there is no ‘la’ or ‘ti’ in the Japanese alphabet, therefore la = ra, and ti = shi.
So: do-re-mi-fa-so-ra-shi!

The translated Japanese lyrics are as follows:

‘Do’ is the ‘do’ of ‘doughnut’
‘Re’ is the ‘re’ of ‘remon’ 
‘Mi’ is the ‘mi’ of ‘min-na’ 
‘Fa’ is the ‘fa’ of ‘faito’ (fight*)
‘So’ is the ‘so’ of ‘aoi sora’ 
(blue sky)
‘Ra’ is the ‘ra’ of ‘rappa’ (trumpet)
‘Shi’ is the ‘shi’ of ‘shiawasé’ 
Right, let’s sing!

(*‘Fight’ not as in literal fighting, don’t worry. “Fight!” is often used akin to “You can do it!”)

If you fancy having a go yourself, here’s the Japanese version:

MI wa minna no MI
SO wa aoi sora
LA wa rappa no LA
SHI wa shiawase yo
Saa utai mashou


I wonder what Rogers and Hammerstein would think.

~ Carla

Apartment · Life · School

Life Of An ALT: What I Packed For Japan

Are you preparing your life to be packed into two suitcases and need some advice on what to bring?

Here’s what I brought:


A few things to note:

  • You probably don’t need to bring as many clothes as I did if you’re a UK size 10-12 or below. You’ll likely be able to shop in most Japanese stores.
  • If you’re tall, note that a lot of Japanese arm and leg lengths in clothes are shorter than back home.
  • UNDERWEAR: Bring bras if you’re bigger than a B-cup otherwise you’ll struggle.
  • SHOES: I’m a UK size 5 in shoes which is pretty average back home, but here I’m at least an XL! Half-sizes are rare. You’ll be fine with Western brands like Adidas, Nike, Converse, Vans etc. but it’s something to keep in mind.
  • WORKWEAR: You’ll have to wear a suit at training and special events, but REAL TALK at a lot of schools you can dressing more business-casual like the rest of the teachers do, especially elementary schools and kindergartens.
    I can’t say however what your situation will be like – if in doubt, ask! I do plan on a longer blog post in the future about what an ALT generally wears.
  • If you forget anything – don’t worry. Online stores like ASOS ships to Japan for a very reasonable price, however if you need to send anything back it’s pretty pricey and you’ll need to pay out of pocket unless the item/s are defective.
  • 4 pairs of jeans (2 black, 2 blue)
  • 10 t-shirts/tops
  • 4 jumpers
  • 1 pinafore
  • 1 skirt
  • 6 dresses (3 casual, 2 party, 1 formal)
  • Jewellery
  • 4 pyjama pants
  • 4 pyjama tops
  • Plenty of socks, hosiery and underwear.
  • 4 bras (2 black, 1 white 1 nude)
  • 1 pair heeled boots
  • 3 pairs of trainers
  • 3 pairs of flats
  • 1 backpack
  • 1 handbag
  • 2 occasion bags


  • 2 suit jackets (1 black, one grey)
  • 3 white shirts
  • 3 black smart-casual tops.
  • 3 white smart-casual tops.
  • 2 cardigans (1 baby pink, one grey)
  • 6 pairs of smart trousers (3 black, 3 grey)
  • 1 pair smart work shoes
  • 1 pair indoor shoes (Black Sketchers)


  • Phone
  • Nintendo Switch and games
  • 3DS and games
  • Laptop
  • Hairdryer
  • Hair straighteners
  • Electric toothbrush
  • Kindle
  • 5 x international plugs


  • Makeup
  • Skincare
  • Toothpaste
  • 6 sticks of antiperspirant deodrant
  • 2 boxes of tampons
  • Band aids/blister plasters


  • 2 x USBs
  • Union Jack flag (For self-introduction lesson and English board)
  • £5 note (For self-introduction lesson)
  • Notebook and pen (For note-taking in training)


  • My teddy bear
  • Photos
  • Journal
  • Art prints to decorate apartment
  • Medication, pill boxes and doctor’s letter.


  • SIM card for my phone
  • Sofa
  • Folding coffee table
  • Rug
  • Floor lamp
  • Shelves for bathroom
  • Kettle
  • Vaccum cleaner
  • Stationary
  • Futon/bedding
  • Rice cooker
  • Iron
  • Pots and pants
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Kitchen towels
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Towels/washcloths
  • Travel toothbrush
  • Travel chopsticks
  • Tupperware


  • Bowls, plates and mugs (though I eventually bought my own)
  • Washing pole and pegs
  • Clothes hangers
  • Emergency kit for natural disasters
  • Extension cable
  • Clock


  • Washing machine
  • 2 hob burner
  • Microwave
  • Fridge/freezer
  • Table and 2 chairs
  • Smart TV on desk
  • Full length mirror

I think my biggest peice of advice is: try to stick to the essentials.
While it’s tempting to want to bring all your home comforts with you, remember that Japanese apartments are much smaller than back home, and you’ll likely not know how much storage you have until you move in.

It’s also easy to accumulate stuff when you arrive here. And while of course you’ll want to make your place as cosy and homely as possible – remember that everything you can’t take back to your home country with you will have to be sold, donated, given away or carted off by the council (for a fee!) when you leave.

~ Carla


Japan Keeping Me Humble #15

Curious George.

I have quite a unique situation at my elementary school, where instead of teaching with the homeroom teachers – there is a dedicated English teacher who comes with me to all my classes there and we team-teach together.

This is to the relief of many homeroom teachers who don’t feel confident teaching English, but I miss seeing most of them on a regular basis. However my co-teacher has assured me that there are still a few homeroom teachers who are particularly enthusiastic about English who have asked to watch or even join in.

One of these is a third grade teacher who sometimes come to our classes dressed as a crazy gaijin called George in a blonde wig and a sparkly, spinning bow tie.

My co-teacher advised: “We will shout “George!!” and George will appear!”
When I asked what was the point to this endeavor? “I don’t know why.”
Ahh, Japanter banter at it’s finest.

Of course all the teachers thought this was hilarious, in fact the other third grade teachers loved it so much they now also have gaijin personas – so from time to time we have guest spots from “Mr. Smith,” “Catherine” and “Lisa” who rock up in wigs, talk loudly and generally cause some mayhem.

Bad, baka gaijins!

Stuff like this comes from such a good, pure place but is also so unintentionally offensive.

I swear I’m on a hidden camera show sometimes. My life is straight out of a Shimura Ken skit. (Notably this one).

~ Carla

*Coincidentally, my dad is called George. He’s not blonde though.
Miss you dad – love you!! ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎ 

Bite-Sized Japanter · Haiku

Bite-Sized Japanter #9: Haiku

As you maybe learned in school, haiku (俳句) are short Japanese poems – usually seventeen syllables (5, 7, 5) and a juxtaposition of two ideas, known as “kuru” (切る) or “cutting”.
But as with most things, modern haiku (現代俳句 or gendai-haiku) can stray somewhat from the rules.

While I’ve been trying to journal, I’m now struggling to do so everyday. Which is a shame because when I first arrived I set aside time everyday to write.
My writing project has also ground to a halt – the stress of everything that’s going on in the world right now and creative processes don’t necessarily mix well.

But I do love writing, and because they’re only short I’ve had a go at writing some of my own haiku. They range from the stupid to grisly and macabre – it shows how my brain is working at the moment I guess.

Just call me Carla Allen Poe.
Nevermore and all that.

Anyway, maybe I’ll post the not-so-personal ones here. Like this one about my neighbourhood:

Here in the quiet village of Shrimp Town
I am but a simple prawn.

I already posted about it here, but just in case you missed it: Ebitsuka literally translates as Shrimp (エビ ebi) Burial Mound (塚 tsuka).
A local told me it got the name because way back when, people used to catch shrimp in the river that runs through the area, remove the intestinal tract then throw the faeces into a giant heap. How nice.

He was very drunk at the time though, so take that story with a pinch of salt.

~ Carla