Small world.

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?”

Robert's photo from 2009.

.

This was a photo I took, just a snapshot really, in October 2007:

My photo from 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.

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    • writechic
    • April 7th, 2010

    I’m gonna need you to pick me up some of those curtains next time you’re in Japan. K? 🙂

    • letsjapan
    • April 7th, 2010

    They’re called “noren” and I’ll be more than happy to!

    R

  1. Yes, I know, it is a small world indeed.

    I think we may just give it a go this time around ^^

      • letsjapan
      • April 8th, 2010

      Robert,

      Absolutely, give it a try. Tell you what, I’ll be happy to teach you (and everybody) 3-to-5 “standard” things to order, at least 2 or 3 of which will be on virtually every menu of such a place! You’ll be able to do just fine. Of course there are “language books” and “phrase books” that can sort of be useful, but their problem is usually (1) information overload and, (2) no context (out of a list of 20 dishes to order, the first-time or infrequent visitor may not know what’s standard, what’s a little unusual, what might be out of season, what particular kind of food is served at what kind of restaurant, etc.).

      I’ll do a “lesson” on some real basics within the next few days. Now back to “regular work.”

      Cheers,

      R

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