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Not Once, Not Twice, But Thrice?

Tokyo is big. In fact, I believe it’s currently the world’s largest metropolitan area with over 30,000,000 people. With that many people, there must be tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of restaurants.

One night during our apartment hunting trip back in May we stumbled upon this tasty little restaurant in a neighborhood called Azabujuban.  The exterior is very nondescript, and the interior less so, crammed with tables and shelves, knick-knacks, and a small aquarium with a turtle. But the food was quite tasty.

Fast forward to our first week living here in early June. A colleague from Randy’s office in Massachusetts, who lived in Tokyo for a few years, was in town on business and we all planned to get together for dinner . He said he’d take us to his old favorite little noodle bar. So, he met us at our apartment and we hopped in cab in the rain to find food. After a short cab ride we got out, opened our umbrellas, walked around a few corners and ended up stepping into a doorway. Once inside Randy and I both realized we’d eaten here before. What were the odds?

Then this afternoon, I got a text message from a fellow expat Randy and I met last week (yay, internet). I think I may have mentioned him before…the one living at the Australian Embassy. Anyway, he asked if I was interested in getting together for lunch so I hopped on the subway and met up with him a few stops away. He said he had a favorite little ramen place that he wanted to take me to so we walked a few blocks (this time in the blazing sun) and slipped into the sliding door of the restaurant. Yep, it was the same place.

Now, I’m usually pretty good with directions, but Tokyo, like Boston, is haphazard. There is no gridded street pattern, just rambling paths in every direction, . Even worse, there are no street names. Addresses are found by a combination of neighborhoods, districts, and building numbers that are based on date of completion and are not sequential (for example, our address is 2-11-1 Shibakoen, with Shibakoen being the ward, 2 being the subsection, 11 being the block, and 1 being the building number). The restaurant’s name is also a) un-pronouncable, b) in Kanji, and c) this restaurant is surrounded by other restaurants . I couldn’t direct you to this specific restaurant if I tried.

Yet somehow, in this enormous metropolis, we’ve stumbling upon this tiny (20 tables, maybe?) restaurant in the dark, then in the rain, then in the blazing sun. All unintentionally. And each time stepping in without realizing it was the same place. Now we’re talking real adventures in gastronomy.

The photo for today was actually from dinner a few nights ago at a place called Cafe Boheme; I got pizza, Randy got pasta, and we split a bottle of red wine. YUM.


  1. Comment by Lorri on June 18, 2012 12:49 pm

    So what have you eaten at the noodle place? I want to live vicariously.

  2. Comment by snarl on June 18, 2012 7:54 pm

    I wish I could say I was adventurous each time, but I wasn’t. All three times i split an appetizer that was reminiscent of pot stickers, but they were long and skinny and there were more varied items inside…some crunchy).

    For the first two times the soup was a dark broth with breaised pork, half of a hard boiled egg (which was brown and green), noodles, some sort of stinky mushrooms shaped like a stick of Juicy Fruit gum, ginger, and scallions. This last time I got the barbecue pork in it instead (the rest was the same).

    The main reason being that this item has a photo on the menu. Everything else is in Japanese with no photo.

    Adventurous in gastronomy, my ass.

  3. Comment by Randy on June 18, 2012 11:49 pm

    They do have descriptions of other stuff in english. just this stuff was with pictures. And we know Karl and pictures 🙂

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