Smoke-Free-Baby-Friendly Izakaya

NOTE: This post was actually written in December 2016. I think I was waiting to edit some photos before hitting PUBLISH. However, seeing as this site has been gasping for breath on life support for the past 18 months, I decided I should get uploading. Having a kid and writing two novels can evidently keep…

Greasy Spoon

If you are looking for trendy or fancy or antiseptic, don’t go to Fuji Lunch (冨士ランチ). But if you want to step back in time for some good ole yoshoku (洋食)–ie: Western inspired Japanese cuisine that came about during the Meiji Restoration–head out Asagaya Station’s North Exit and hang a left down your second side street. There…

Good Morning Okinawa!

Just over a year ago, one of my first posts was about my favourite neighbourhood bakery, Good Morning Asagaya. And earlier this year, I was quite disappointed to say “Good-bye Good Morning Asagaya” as they were closing their doors for good. Perhaps the 600,000 yen monthly rent was too much for a small bakery and four-table café to…

New Year’s Sushi

While most people in Japan head back to their hometowns to spend New Year’s with family dining on (osechi ryori / おせち料理), there are many who stick around the city. Similarly, most shops and restaurants are closed for the New Year holiday — but there are those that remain open as well. Fortunately for Koenjagayans, one…

New Year’s Soba … ‘Chya!

If you live (or have lived) in Japan, you are no doubt familiar with toshikoshi soba (年越し蕎麦 or New Year’s soba). If not, it is Japanese tradition to eat soba on the last of the year, letting go of the hardships endured, with the buckwheat plant representing strength and resiliency. The tradition started sometime during the 250 years…

Thai Street Food

A few minutes walk out of Asagaya Station’s south exit and you can find yourself as close to Thailand as you can get in Tokyo — plastic chairs and all. Dao Thai is a small Tokyo chain of three locations serving up traditional Thai fare — everything from grilled meat to curries, soups and stir…

A Southern Neighbour (Sometimes)

Koenjagaya has some neighbours of note and it would be remiss to exclude them based solely on geography. Therefore, I should on occasion remark on noteworthy places adjacent to Koenjagaya (ie: Nakano, Ogikubo, Nerima and others within Suginami). Qjitsuya (pronounced “Kyu-jit-su-ya”) is one such neighbouring establishment. Still within Suginami-ku, it is further south, well-hidden deep within a…

New Ramen On The Block

Koenji is not for want of ramen shops, however Kou Kei Menya (Emperor Chicken Noodle Shop) opened a few months back and is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood’s noodleverse. Small yet spacious, it seats six at the counter and four others at two deuces along the wall. The standard coin-op ticket machine is right inside…

Hawaiian Siesta

“Within Hawaii, “honohono grass” was used as medicine to aid with deep cuts. While other Hawaiian herbs just get superficial cuts, honohono grass is an herb to aid with deeper troubling issues.” A 3-minute walk from Shin-Koenji Station, Honohono Cafe is a stylish little cafe at the south end of Koenji’s Look Shotengai. It’s got…

Sato Burian: Nine Cuts of Meat

After waiting the requisite month for our dinner reservation to arrive, I finally got to see (and taste) what all the fuss is about. Sato Burian (a play on “chateaubriand” in case you didn’t pick up on that) has two small locations in Asagaya serving up high-grade cuts of Japanese beef. Most of the meat…