That’s why I love japanese food culture!
I always thought that however delicious a meal at a restaurant can be, the best thing about food you can have is eating something home made with family and friends. But a few days ago I got to know that actually, eating in a restaurant can also be as wonderful. We went to a small and not very nice looking place, where we first had to clean our table before we could sit down. There were some drunk men sitting in at a table next to ours and at first I didn’t really feel comfortable at this place.
We ordered several Yakitori (japanese shashlik) and different grilled or raw vegetables. While the old woman who runs that place prepared our dishes, we stood up, got ourselves some drinks and simply told the woman something like “I took an orange juice”. The other guests did just the same, they even went behind the counter to draw themselves a beer.
The food was nothing fancy, but some delicious seasonal stuff. What I loved about this place is the family-like atmosphere, for example the old woman who makes simple but really good food and knows all the names of every single one of her customers (In return she’s being called “Baba” by the guests, which means something like aunt or grandmother). There also was a young woman who runs her small bakery around the corner. She brought some cake from her bakery for dessert – it was absolutely yummy!
And then, when some kids came to the restaurant at about nine o’clock (one of them seemed to be Baba’s grandson) one of the drunk men got up to make them “Omuraisu” (Omelet rice), a typical dish for children. Watching this man who seemed so charmless and unappealing to me at first sight serving a huge, still steaming plate of Omuraisu with a big smile on his face was wonderful. One by one, different guests from different tables got up with their chopsticks and asked politely – like japanese people always do – if they could have a bite, because it looked and smelled so great. Finally three kids, one father, Baba, the woman from the bakery and some others stood around the table and devoured the omelet. When I got up to try the omelet as well, Baba instantly handed me a spoonful and then went on sharing out spoonfuls to all the other customers. I regret that I didn’t manage to take a picture of this scene for you, but I’ll always remember those different people, young and old, standing around a table and eating together with so much joy.