If both you and I visit Washington, DC, even if our respective visits are two years apart, it would not be so odd for us to both have photos of the Lincoln Memorial in our photo albums or digital archives. Same with the Spanish Steps in Rome or the Gateway of India in Mumbai. But what about a tiny, tiny, little restaurant in sprawling Tokyo, a city of almost 13 million people (and, seemingly, about as many restaurants)?
Yesterday on one of my LinkedIn Japan-related groups I noticed that “Robert” in the UK had posted a comment saying that he and his wife would soon be traveling (back) to Tokyo and Kyoto; he asked for any suggestions on cool places to check out. Regarding Kyoto, I responded with a laundry list of restaurants, a coffee shop, a particular temple and the National Museum of Modern Art. As for Tokyo, my only suggestion was to visit the “gahdoshita” (gah*doh*shee*tah), little, very informal, working class restaurants under several different viaduct arches of the Yamanote train line. Besides many kind thank yous, Robert said that he thought year or so ago when he and his wife had first visited Japan they may have passed by the “gahdoshita.” Well, it turns out he was right at ’em, though not the particular ones that are my favorites. Nevertheless, he sent me this photo yesterday with this message:
“Re: the Gahdoshita restaurants. I think we may have walked past them last time we were in Tokyo on the way home one evening. I took a photo, is this the place?”
This was a photo I took, just a snapshot really, in October 2007:
O.K., it’s not the exact same place, but it’s the same little franchise and within a block or two of one another. But one had caught my eye, then two years later, Robert’s eye.
The name is “Manpuku Shokudo” which, roughly translated, means “All full (on food) Eats.” Tiny little “mom and pop” franchises like this dot Japan, sometimes the same franchise will have 2 or 3 restaurants within a few blocks, a la Starbucks. It’s not Tokyo Tower, Osaka Tower, Hiroshima Peace Park, the Washington Monument, the Eiffel Tower or the Great Wall. Just a couple of tiny little restaurants within a couple blocks of one another that an American, then 2 years later a Brit, thought they’d take snapshots of.