Posts Tagged ‘ yakitori ’

Foodie II

This month I’m just posting food- and restaurant-related pics.  And, today, vids.  Enjoy and Itadakimasu・いただきます (roughly:  “Thanks for what I’m about to receive…”).


This is a young, restaurant (izakaya)-owning couple in Kyoto.  Yumi-san and Hiroshi-san.  I was there with a friend on a slow night back in early November 2009.  The restaurant, Dai Kichi Yakitori, is actually a franchise, a chain.  This one’s on Shirakawa Dori.  Almost across from the bus station there.  Anyway, I dropped back in a few months ago, and, alas, it was under new ownership/management.

Yumi & Hiroshi. At their Dai Kichi Yakitori place. November 2009.


When this melodrama-drenched enka blasted from the speakers I thought it would make a good soundtrack for a quick, 30 second vid tour of Yumi & Hiroshi’s place.  So here you go:


This past August I was in Japan on business for a little more than two weeks.   The next couple of short vids were shot during that trip.   In Japan (and in larger cities around the world) there’s are these sort of low-end, or family-oriented, sushi restaurants called Kaiten-zushi, or Conveyor Belt Sushi.  They’re good enough, inexpensive and, well, kind of fun.  I shot this little vid while treating my client (company president and vice president having their first trip to Japan and first Kaiten-zushi experience) to lunch (they got quite a kick out of the experience):


Gyoza‘s (餃子) some of my favorite food in Japan.  I make it pretty well myself, actually.  These are the Japanese version of Chinese dumplings or “pot stickers.”  I don’t like the Chinese kind so much, at least the ones typically served in restaurants — they’re too sweet. Gyoza shouldn’t be sweet.  In Japan you find gyoza tandem’d with ramen at small, informal “Chinese” restaurants called “Chuka” (Chooka).  Gyoza’s either seared on a griddle, or steamed, or seared with water added to semi-steam them.  Some places have gyoza steaming contraptions, like the little working-class place I ambled into one August night in Kyoto, right off of Kiyamachi-dori:


We’ll wind up today with this one, this vid that I’ve also posted in my Tsukiji (fish) Market Gallery.  These are, well, eels:


Speaking of eels, do any of you know the group “The Eels?”  A great band.  It’s Mark Everett‘s group.  Mark used to perform just as “e.”  He’s a great musician.  Anyway, Mark and I lived in the same neighborhood when we were kids in Northern Virginia.  We’re the same age and went to Spring Hill Elementary and Cooper Jr. High together.  I think we were in the same Cub Scout Den, but my memory’s kind of fuzzy on that.  My family moved to the Very Deep South when I was 13, so I lost touch with Mark.  Anyway, I’m just proud to know he’s doing so well.  My brush with music greatness.


After work : いざかや, ガード下, 赤堤灯。

A couple of friends are heading to Japan next month.  Their first trip.  I have some great restaurants and other places to recommend in Tokyo and Kyoto.  All sorts of cuisines and price ranges.  All in all, though, my favorite restaurants are the low key, working stiff, cheap, grilled chicken-on-a-stick-type joints.  You who travel around know that these are really the best places.

Most commonly, these cozy, friendly, local holes-in-the-wall are called “izakaya” and sometimes “akachochin” (“aka“/red + “chochin“/lanterns with whatever the specialty of the house is shine and advertise out front).  In Tokyo, behind the shockingly expensive Imperial Hotel, in Chiyoda Ward near Yurakucho Station, there are a series of pedestrian tunnels under an elevated section of the Yamanote train line.  Jammed into these tunnels are numerous akachochin, called “gahdoshita“, literally “under the overpass” restaurants.  Pictured above is one of them I frequented over the course of five or so days in Tokyo, almost two years ago to date.  That fellow in the foreground to the right is one of the cooks, taking a photo of some *Japanese* tourists . . . just out-of-frame to the left.

Yakitori with plenty of bainiku, shisomaki, gyuuroso, little grilled shishitou . . . and draft beer.  This is all good and simple and delicious and inexpensive fare.  I’ll be referring my friends — and in May taking a group of MBA students — to these kind of places, as well as to the more “refined” restaurants.  Count on that.

Motsuyaki "gahdoshita".  Under the Yamanote Line.  Tokyo.  2007.

Motsuyaki “gahdoshita”. Under the Yamanote Line. Tokyo. 2007.


Friends after work at an akachochin.  Tokyo. October 2007.

Friends after work at an akachochin. Tokyo. October 2007.


Friends at an akachochin in Kyoto.  2007.  That's the cook/owner in the background.

Friends at an akachochin in Kyoto. 2007. That’s the cook/owner in the background.


Izakaya, late afternoon before the evening rush.  Ueno, Tokyo. April 2008.

Izakaya, late afternoon before the evening rush. Ueno, Tokyo. April 2008.

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A few more photos from more recent times:

Harumi-ya. A great hole-in-the-wall. San-jo Street. Kyoto. 2011.


A friend’s mom looks on as another round’s poured. Ichi-ban Yakitori. Kyoto. 2011.


Fantastic sake bar (with owner, his granddaughter), Kiyamachi-dori. Kyoto. 2011.