We went out with our new friends that own the Ron's Burger Shop, you know the place with the line and the 2.7kg Burger. Which, we found out no Japanese person has actually ever eaten alone. Only a crazy American can put away food like that and live to tell about it.
Koichi and Mia, oh, and their awesomely energetic 2 year old son took us to a few places that we didn't even know existed and even if we did, probably wouldn't have gone into. There are some businesses here that don't take in Americans. Not in a bad segregation kind of way, but because they can not speak any English and are the one's big enough to say, "We don't have time for this."
First-you must know that we hopped into their futuristic van (they have 5 kids by the way) in which the little dude didn't get into a car seat. There wasn't even a car seat in the van. . .in fact, he stood up running around with his cute sumo-style ponytail while dad was driving. That was crazy and probably the biggest bit of culture shock we have experienced simultaneously .
We first walked into the restaurant where you sit along a bar in front of flat top stations, just like Benihana-except not like Benihana because it's not a chain restaurant and it's in Japan and the sweet lady who has been working there for 40 years (she told us) welcomed us with a big smile, and spoke in Japanese. Koichi got us started on a Okonomiyaki. Which in the end looks like an omelet. However, here is how is happened.
First, she cut up cabbage, pork, octopus!, green onions, fish cake, and what looked like some form of flour but had a texture similar to potato. You know, something to bind it all together. Next, we watched the ingredients sizzle and brown on each side. If you know Brandon, it should be no surprise that immediately these ingredients were making his mouth water. The next thing she did, was the thing we hoped dearly for from the moment we saw a bucket of eggs on the counter. We smiled big as she cracked one open on the flat top, yes! She took the now omelet looking piece of food and covered the egg. As the egg cooked underneath the patty of for mentioned ingredients, the ends began to brown and all the smells started to converge. She flipped it over revealing a perfectly fried, flattened egg, covered it with teriaki sauce and fish flakes, and viola! Now, just for a moment I would like to say that our old room mate had a container of these fish flakes and from time to time I would open it and sniff, and contemplate WHY?! she would ever want to use them to garnish. We are beginning to figure out why, I suppose. They added an obvious fish flavor yes, but also a bit of crunch and eventually blended in to where we didn't even really notice with all the other flavors going on. Service topped the cake. She handed us a mouth sized spatula contraption and told us with a look in her eyes to be careful. This was the part where we got to eat. Brandon sliced up the okonomiyaki dish with his spatula and and we dug in. I was so nervous, between having never had octopus in any form besides fried, which yes, we did explain to them, and knowing I was eating the fish flakes that always grossed me out. Brandon took to it like a champ though. He is so brave when it comes to food, but even more he is afraid to let a host down. I'm sure I had fear written all over my face, but I did it! Brandon had to tell me to hurry up because Koichi & Mia were almost done, but I did it and the thing that kept me going was the mass amount of cabbage and the fried egg, I love cabbage.
After we finished the okonomiyaki, we moved to another part of Sake Town. Sake Town is what the locals call the area of town with streets full of Japanese Bars, restaurants and street vendors. Entering through a door standing a mere 4 feet tall to make the occasional oompaloompa comfortable we made our last stop for the night. Here we ate what I can only compare to "tapas". I spare you the name because I don't know the proper spelling, but it sounds like "eats-a-ki-ya", which we have had before thanks to Reggie and Manami. We started with a trio of Tofu, Seaweed, & Swordfish Jerky? maybe? ha!. Moved on to a great salad, then chicken wings, and finally the main course which had been brewing during all previous courses. This was a pot of broth with cabbage, green onions, red bell peppers, peanuts, tofu, and a some form of fat from a cow. You can get all kinds of set ups, with flavors like Miso and Curry, and they don't all come with tofu and fat. That is just what happens when Brandon tells someone to order us their favorite thing.
Hope you enjoyed yet another food adventure, it was an evening even Mr. Anthony Bourdain would be proud of! Going to huddle in a corner now to protect myself from these beastly winds!