The weekend before last I had an unexpected, but entirely welcome, visit from my friend Sam. He left England at about the same time as I came to Japan last year to live in Qatar with his wife, and my good friend, Gaby. He gets uber-cheap flights as a result of working for Qatar Airlines, the only downside of which being that it involves last-minute travel, not that I minded! I missed their wedding in Spring so it was great to finally catch up, even if Gab couldn’t make it.
Since Sam, who used to live here, loves Japanese food, the weekend was mainly spent eating and drinking. After meeting him and Raymonda, a Dutch girl he was travelling with, at the ryokan and dumping my bag, we headed straight out to Dotunburi and an izakaya for food and nama beeru. The izakaya had a screen that served both as menu and ordering system. It is a truly great invention, negating the need for negotiating a Japanese menu and having to speak to someone, and also making it so much easier to order excessive amounts of food and sake when you’re drunk. And that’s exactly what we did until about 1am, when we headed back to the ryokan and fell into a deep and boozy slumber.
The next morning, feeling somewhat the worse for wear, Sam and I got some good wholesome takoyaki for breakfast. These are essentially pan-fried balls of batter with a lump of octopus in the middle, covered in Japanese brown sauce and sprinkled with dried fish flakes. They sound awful but are delicious, honest. Feeling marginally better, we caught the metro to Shitenno-ji for a gentle wander around.
After doing some shopping for food items to take back for Gaby, we went for kaiten zushi, aka converyour belt sushi. This is an invention that’s as every bit as great as it sounds, and as well as being cheap also enables you to eat enough sushi to ensure you can barely move for the following hour. Awesome. You can see Sam is particularly pleased about the situation:
Next up was some sounvenir shopping in a big electronics/music/toy store, in which they had a scaled-down toy version of MosBurger, a well-known hamburger chain here. I am not sure what ideas it gives children, but I suspect they’re not very good ones.