They definitely enjoyed the food. Presumably the short break too. But most of all, they simply enjoyed each other’s company.
During the daytime it’s hard to know whether this little bar is a going concern or not; its different signs and decidedly rundown appearance making it seem arguably more defunct than actually functioning. But come 9 o’clock, the lights flicker on, the five or so seats are set ready, and the karaoke machine is ceremoniously fired up.
And fired up is what the owner is as well. His father started the business half a century ago, and as the exterior suggests, its initial focus has changed somewhat, with chicken on a stick making way for chitchat and a singsong. But 10 years ago the current master-san took over, ending a full career as a businessman to start a new one behind the bar. One he was clearly made for too, as despite being 70, he shows no signs of slowing down — or indeed even sitting down.
Japan loves its rules and regulations. Of that there is little doubt. And yet oddly, when it comes to kitchen cleanliness, it almost comically seems like it really couldn’t care less.
Old Tokyo bars are fascinating little places, with layers of grime and lines on their owners faces hinting at the history played out in them. Key elements that were thankfully in evidence at the eatery below.
In business for 68 years, the current Mama-san has been in charge for a mere 13 years. Her mother, who originally hailed from Hokkaido, opened it and was the proprietor for the other 55. A period that has seen an absolutely staggering amount of change, but inside the bar, time has pretty much stood still. And all being well, it will continue that way for countless more years to come.