For a country well known for its low levels of obesity, a surprising amount of Japanese food is fried. There’s the traditional tempura to start with, along with the likes of deep fried pork cutlets, similarly oil heavy croquettes, and of course the incredibly common, chicken karaage. But in regards the latter, rather than frying small pieces of meat, this old school place opts for half the bird. An approach that perhaps not surprisingly is hugely popular, as along with a lengthy queue for the small eating area round the back, there was a steady stream of customers calling in for takeout. All good for business of course, but not necessarily good for the poor bloke in charge of staring into boiling oil all day and skewering suitably crispy chickens.
Some girls’ nights out,
are bigger than other girls’ nights out.
Over 30 years ago, when he was a relatively young buck in his early 40s, the fella below opened his own bar. Yet despite his age, and all those years doing pretty much the same thing every day, his enjoyment and commitment to carry on remains completely undimmed.
Fairly inexpensive drinking spots are plentiful in Tokyo, but this area under the train tracks is probably about as cheap and cheerful as it’s possible to get.
With the fairly recent addition of a fancy new hotel and cinema complex, Tokyo’s wonderful grubby Kabukicho red light district has started to see distinct signs of gentrification. So families now mill around on a day out, and tour groups regularly move through en masse, frantically firing off smartphone and tablet photos like their lives depended on it.
But for the time being at least, it still maintains a good amount of rough and ready charm. Drunks, for example, can still be seen passed out on the street. Both male and female. Or even males pretending to be females. Plus the area’s various alleyways remain incredibly dingy, with some of its eateries not all that dissimilar. And as such, weekend afternoons in particular are still as gritty and marvellously impromptu as ever.
With work clearly no longer one of his worries, a few quiet beers to wile away a warm afternoon didn’t seem like the worst idea in the world.