Tokyo Notebook

-・- From My Everyday Life to Japanese Culture -・- Why don't you see the real Japan, not the typical foreigners' version.

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Posted by Kinakinw | --:-- | Comment [0] | TrackBack [0] | スポンサー広告

22 2011

Unscheduled Short Trips


From last Friday night to Saturday evening, I ended up making a round trip to Yokohama twice a day.

My cousin living there had a light stroke resulting from his inveterate disease on the Friday evening. Unfortunately, he was alone at home because his wife's been in a hospital, so I stayed at his house to check on him that night, and I made a hurried trip back to Tokyo to get his medicine (his hospital is in my neighborhood) in the morning of the following day and then delivered it to him. Fortunately, he had resolution of the symptoms.

On the way back to home, I stopped for a while in Yokohama Chinatown for early dinner. The opening photo is "Kanteibyo", Chinese shrine that is dedicated to Guanyu, the hero of Sanguozhi (the history of three countries).

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It’s one major difference between Chinatowns in Japan and those elsewhere that most visitors are Japanese. It’s a so-called tourist spot. The town became deserted after the earthquake, but some people are back now.


I’ve gone there once a year or so from childhood. There are over six hundreds restaurants, and I’d say that 15% of them serve expensive and delicious dishes, 40% serve expensive and ordinary dishes, 40% serve cheap and brackish dishes, and only the remaining 5% serve cheap and delicious dishes.

The restaurant I went to yesterday was “Shanghai Restaurant” on Hong Kong Strip because someone says it’s really off the beaten path.

It stands out in the town: sleazy look (it looks like a cheap ramen shop on the streets) and chaotic inside.

I hesitated when I open the door and saw inside the restaurant without any people except an older man who looked like managing chef. I took a seat at the counter where I could look on the kitchen and deeply regretted my choice of restaurant. It was a greasy spoon. I found the counter, menu and kitchen instrument are literally greasy.
ドアを開けて店主と思しき無愛想なおじさん一人しかいない店内を見て、かなりひるみました。厨房を見渡せるカウンター席に座り、深く後悔。英語では安っぽいレストランを“greasy spoon”と表現するそうですが、カウンターやメニュー、厨房機器など、全てが文字通り油っぽい店でした。

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If I were an inspector of the health center, I would immediately order the shutdown.

In for a penny, in for a pound.
I ordered a bottle of beer, and the man promptly delivered it with free pickles. That sweet-pickled vegetables were unexpectedly tasty, so I prepared to have dinner there and ordered “beef with green stems of fresh garlic” from a la carte dishes, not ramen and dumplings.

The chef looked for beef and rummaged through the freezer for a long while. He picked a plastic bag and put it in microwave. Then he cut up green stems on a chopping board that didn’t seem immaculate. My heart was full of fear when I thought I would eat it, but thinking it would be cooked, I soothed my mind.

This is what he made. 1,580yen (about $18)

After all, that was a good meal. (I saw he used artificial flavoring, though.)
It was a thrilling experience.

I researched the restaurant online after I got home and knew he seems to have uneven temper and varies on his cooking. He used to work bouncily with his wife.

After getting out of the restaurant, I strolled around the town for a while.
Although it’s difficult to choose a restaurant, I like visiting there. I always regard the strolling Yokohama Chinatown a bit as though a vacation trip.


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