Tsukiji fish market isn’t exactly the nicest of places. The sprawling complex is busy, noisy, and rather befittingly it doesn’t exactly smell the best. Yet none of these factors appeared to affect this fella, as despite the surroundings and his run-of-the-mill lunch box, he still somehow managed to look almost regal.
Well, old style udon, soba and ramen. All of which — somewhat unusually perhaps — are served up daily on the grounds of a shrine. And not just any old shrine either, but the famous, or indeed infamous, Yasukuni Shrine.
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.