April 5, 2008

Shinsaibashi Yakiniku

Our evening meal perfectly illustrated the simultaneously wonderful and difficult nature of living in Japan. We had gotten a babysitter to watch the kids and wanted to take Matthew and Abe out for a great Saturday night meal. Ilena wanted to try Yakiniku, Korean Barbeque, where they bring out plates of raw meat and you cook it on a grill set into the table. One of Mike's co-workers had recommended a good place located in Shinsaibashi, a pretty happening area of Osaka near Namba. So, we trained into Osaka...

Addresses in Japan are difficult, in a way that is difficult to explain. They just don't make sense. That is why every place you ever look up has a little access map that directs you how to get there from the nearest mega-train station. Ilena and Mike had gotten good directions with all of the landmarks at which to turn. Only problem was that we walked the complete wrong way from the train station. We wandered about for a while, getting completely lost with no hope of finding the place. We were hungry. We were tired. (Questions from our guests -- "You didn't get the address? " Nope. The address won't help us. "Can't we call the restaurant and get directions?" No. No chance of communicating well enough to do that.). At one point Matthew walked so far ahead of us that we lost him too. Luckily we found him. And, just as luckily, Mike's friend was able to direct us there by cell phone once we got ourselves turned around in the right direction. We finally found Anri. (By the way, here is the access map. You find this place!)

The other thing was, the entire menu was in Kanji and Katakana. Not many pictures. But...for this, we were prepared! Mike had reviewed the menu with his friend's Japanese girlfriend a couple days prior and written out a Kanji and Katakana cheatsheet of all of the things we could possibly order. The owner/waitress was also really helpful; when she saw us consulting our cheat sheet, she said "menu paper." We handed her the cheatsheet, and then ordered from it. She even helped us cook some of the more obscure items like "face meat" and tongue with onions, as well as "fresh rebur" (liver), which she advised could be eaten raw, but we opted to cook instead. After some beers, an interesting selection of meats, a kim chi set, and some bi bim pa, we were happy we had journeyed out here.

1 comment:

jmgesq said...

Be afraid...be very very afraid! I think I might be in danger of never being heard from again.

You guys do so impress me with your flexibility and working out away for life to function and to make it all fun. It's a great trait and makes for great adventures.

The only advice I can give is - next time, bring snacks!