Izakayas + Japadians = Fun Tonight, Hell Tomorrow

Numata, Japan. Saturday night. Kelly came over for a before drinks drink. Ross and I showed him our new toys and Kelly oohed and aahed politely until he spotted the coin bank, then he really meant it!

We debated whether it was motion, sound, or touch triggered, screaming at it and making all kinds of cool gestures in front of it but, in the end, we could not tell for sure. To this day, it remains a mystery. Time flies by when in Numata, and we suddenly realized it was 10 pm and we were starving. Off we went to Gen Roku Izakaya.

We sat at the “bar” where your legs and feet dangle into a hole in the floor. Of course, we first had to take our shoes off which still weirds me out a bit.

Ross and Kelly had beer (and let me tell you Japanese do not serve little rikiki beers), and I had sake which I adore and is very dangerous for my sobriety. Soon, I was taking the camera to a nearby alcove when youngsters were eating and mostly drinking.

They seemed to welcome me crashing the party and made multiple peace signs.

And more peace signs… If you try to convey that you’d rather them NOT make peace signs, they get very confused, soooo get used to it. Many more peace signs to come!

By the time I got back to our bar hole, Kelly was lovingly kissing my handbag.

Ross was making peace signs too (they were peace signs, right Ross?) and I was feeling quite, er, relaxed and amorous. I generally do not go about restaurant reclining but my shoes were confiscated and my sake goblet never ran out of liquid (by the way, in Japan, a woman never pours her own sake, she has to hold the cup, and put her other hand under it – so that if the guy misses, she’ll sustain third degree burns but the table cloth will remain immaculate – then hopefully a man notices her begging for sake and serves her some.)

The owners of Gen Roku, traditionally called Master san and Mamma san, were the bomb!

Kelly lifted Mamma san off the floor and moved her around a bit (I think she liked that.)

But Master san had an expression on his face which makes me think he liked his Mamma san better with her feet on the ground and away from the rock star.

Master san’s sock shoes had issues.

Me too. Poor Ross. It must be fairly difficult to have dinner with a monkey woman hanging from your neck! Well, as I mentioned before, Ross is a very polite man and he resignedly let me have my way with him. Then I decided to document the azakaya’s kitchen.

I think the cooks san were trying to convey the delightfulness of the food at Gen Roku – either that or the guy san on the left is rubbing the Buddha belly for good luck.

Cook san on the right presented the kitchen which appeared spotless and a fun environment.

I would fail all my duties if I did not post the traditional peace sign photograph too. You will not be spared.

Oh yeah, no sparing for you!

My last souvenir of Gen Roku Izakaya: Ross in animated Japanese discussion with Master san and Kelly really needing to go home. Ross and I took a cab to the 7/11.

This is our cab driver. My experience of izakayas with Ross and Kelly is that when you get out of there, you generally need some kind of food otherwise waking up in the morning feels miserable.

That’s the best hangover preventive ever: the Nikuman that Ross describes as a “gorgeous creation of doughy crap and possible meat all just waiting for you when you walk in the door.” He can eat four on the row which is really quite impressive when you think about it.

Dallas is not half as fun as Numata with the crazy Japadians. Blogging about this makes me feel all sad and nostalgic and I have not even been back a week. On the other hand, I have felt inexplicably much better in the morning since my return.

13 responses to “Izakayas + Japadians = Fun Tonight, Hell Tomorrow

  1. Great shots of Gen Roku’s Master and Mammasan. They are great people: a first class act.
    Not only women get sake, or anything else coming out of a bottle, poured for them: it’s the same for both sexes. If no one is filling up your drink, just reach for the bottle and someone will usually sumimasen you and top you up.

    note: I wish I didn’t cut my hair so short before your visit.

  2. I bought a hat, daughter. End of. PHlanet Ross will be happy to know that it’s made of dough and meat but fashioned into ikebana type floral arrangement. It’s waiting in the fridge. I need to send another picture to Pat about my fridge… Now will you just set a date please? Maman is waiting.

  3. A trip to Japan = $3000
    A night of sake = 1500 yen
    A trip full of great photos = priceless

    I really enjoy your photos and stories, thank you!!

  4. That peace symbol is so interesting to see in another country.
    I kind of miss its’ ubiquitous presence in the mainland.
    It was like a sign of a ” club member “- someone who shared the same ideals and hopes.

    I’d be happy to see it anywhere.

    Your photos show the real life side of Japan.
    As do the explanations that come with them.
    Loved the tall boys in the kitchen in those little sockies. Not sakes.

  5. That coin bank is fantastic. I want one! :o)

  6. planetross: I’m so glad you did not drink sake because, not knowing the custom, it would have never come to my mind to sumimasen you and top you up. These would have been dark sober days for you.

    Epic, you funny! I’d need a gun! Oh, wait, I have one.

    Diana, there were more than one sake night! I’ll blog about Kei chan’s izakaya soon. Things clearly degenerated there and I have more photos of feet!
    It was priceless to meet Ross – he is unlike any man I have ever met before. Does this surprise anyone?

    Bonnie, I cannot tell you how much this peace sign got on my nerves. At first, I thought it was charming… but then it turned nightmarish. According to Kelly, the kids don’t realize what they are conveying – it’s just something they do.

    Nezza, I’m sorry, you can’t have one. If you want to contribute to the fun however, you may send coins.

  7. bonnieluria: are you making fun of my sockies?

    nezza: I’ll send you a facebank, just ask. They are about $20, so I may have to run the lemonade stand a little longer than usual.

    nathaliewithanh: I am blushing.

  8. planetross: I was planning on getting rich from people sending me coins for my face bank. That was MY discrete money scheme #1. What will I do now?

  9. You must have had an awesome time there in Japan with planetross. And wonderful photographs series too.

    And concerning the 5D Mark II, you might want to check this out.

  10. Nat, that’s okay. I’ve got a bullet-proof vest!

  11. I came across a link to this post from SanityFound’s site … and I am so glad I wandered over here for a visit!

    I am leaving for Japan next Friday (will be there Oct. 10 – 20) and reading your posts have gotten me even more excited than I was to begin with … and I didn’t think that was possible!

    Love the photos … and your narrative. You are quite the photographer and story-teller! Such talent! Such talent!

  12. Thanks Fitch! I hope you’ll love Japan as much as I did – just remember that it is not easy to find people on the street that speak English. If you have got an iPhone, you might want to download the Japanese-English app.
    Have a great time!
    Let me recommend the chicken skin skewers. Yummy!

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