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Shogestu Unagi
Ikebukuro

index.html Shogetsu is a small unagi (sea eel steak) restaurant near the Kimi Ryokan. The front desk man recommended it as "an authentic Japanese eating experience" which meant hearty salty food, a husband and wife team, regulars who knew them, and baseball on the TV.


index.html Food was good and bold. We couldn't communicate well, me and the woman in charge. I ordered from the window out front, the plastic food. I noticed some insect-looking things sitting in a basket and ordered some of them too. Turned out to be deep fried and salted eel spines. Not hard to like - reminded me of the pan-fish tails Grandma used to fry in Nebraska.


index.html The eel-steak (donburi - over rice) it was delicious; coated six times between grilling. The husband handled the skewers of unagi with all the practiced grace and rote thoroughness of someone who has cooked that food nightly for 15 years.


index.html They served me some large steamed salted beans, sort of the larger cousin of edamame (soy beans) it seemed, but they had a more vegetable taste.


Sakura, a woman came in with some limited english and opened me up to my hosts. I learned what I had been eating, they learned where I was from and what I was doing in Japan. I watched her fold her paper chopstick sheath into a little boat-holder and she showed me how. Each time Sakura got something I would ask about it - someimtes she gave me some of her food and food they wouldn't have served me.


index.html For example, she prodded them to give me this bitter salted vinegar soaked plum. "Great hangover cure" the cook lady said. After two hours of sitting around chatting intermittently, Sakura gave me one of her carry out items - a salted rice ball wrapped around a piece of the bitter plum. Snack-breakfast food I was told.

I drank a tall Asahi beer and had some tea (probably free). The meal cost 2500 yen, and I threw down 300 extra because I was there for so long and they gave me some tastes of different things and treated me very nice.

food in Japan | trip | life

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