Thursday, April 9, 2009

Yaki-tori deliciousness

Before our trip, Gina and I made a list of all the different types of Japanese food we wanted to try. Yaki-tori, skewered meat and veggies, was near the top of our list.

While wandering around the Asakusa temple, we found a stand selling buns with veggies and meat inside. We tried a veggie bun—yum—and asked the vendor where we could find a yaki-tori restaurant. He gave us a map all in Japanese and circled a destination.

Amazingly, we found the restaurant by matching up the kanji characters on our map. However, when we went in and greeted everyone with “konbanwa”, we were told, “Nihhon only,” which means Japanese people only. :( Bummer.

So, we headed back to our hotel and asked for a spot that would accept Americans. We found one and had a great time! We were seated around a semi-circle counter with a bunch of other people (we were the only foreigners in the room) and ordered up a storm of food. Initially, our conversation with our server consisted of: “Nani des ka?” (what is that?) followed by “Ikura des ka?” (how much is it?) followed by “hi!” (yes!).

We tried a chicken and sesame version of a corn dog, baked potato, hard-boiled quail egg, pork-wrapped leeks and asparagus, giblets (cucka), and soy beans wrapped in fried bean curd (looked awesome, smelled like feet and tasted cucka). It was another night of two rounds of beers, which again amused our servers. We practiced our Japanese with them and they practiced their English. We showed them pictures from our trip and talked with them about the cities in Japan we visited. It was a great time! That first restaurant didn’t know what it was missing when we were turned away!


  1. What! That's crazy! I'm offended for you! Were you shocked?

  2. We were really surprised when it happened. I felt bad because we really had tried to learn the language and make an effort to be respective of the culture. Honestly, though, this was the only time when we didn't feel welcome. Everyone else we met was extremely kind and helpful.

  3. I asked a Japanese colleague about this and he said he had never heard of this happening. Must have just been a cranky restauranteur!

  4. Yes, possibly so. Like I said, it was an isolated incident.