Tag Archives: value

Taster’s Choice


Take Five

Upwards of forty downtown Tajimi establishments are teaming up for this first annual upcoming event, similar to a barhopping “machi-kon,” called “Yume Machi.” Over the course of two days, for the ¥3500 price of one ticket (¥4000 the starting day of the event), you can eat, drink, shop or otherwise partake of services at any five participating shops, restaurants, cafes or bars at no extra cost. You get a map of all the stops and a special hand fan to encourage walking from place to place and identify you as a participant.

It’s a good value, a way to try out some places you thought were out of your price range, and maybe even a chance to make some new friends. Event menus for each spot are here. Tickets are available at participating stores and through the website.


The event flyer and website are also touting a smartphone app that seems to feature coupons and information on area events and businesses. It seems to be a web app and is called “Tono App.”

Karin Kissaten Keeps ‘em Coming

Get Your Kissa on Route Sixty-Six

Kissaten are Showa-style coffee shop/diners, often characterized by years of cigarette smoke layers caked on the walls, sassy, middle-aged or older clientele, once-spiffy plastic food samples of a few simple dishes collecting dust in the window, and a generally dark, dingy, seen-better-days atmosphere – hungry yet? Anyway, a new one the work buddies have welcomed into our fold is Karin, next door to Kouyou Chinese restaurant near route 66 in Sakaue-cho, Tajimi. They have a very filling ¥780 lunch special (drink included), though I find myself partial to the ¥880 shogayaki teishoku (pork ginger set) that includes coffee. They also have good value breakfast specials. Local laborers and businessperson types have embraced it as if it’s been there for years since its opening a couple of months ago. Annual Cool Biz Kickoff Day tip: Try the iced tea soda they recommended to me. Interesting.

Surprise Me

Hot on the hooves of yesterday’s crispy critter, a burro snapshot from a recent stop at Bikkuri Donkey, where I caught the tail end of the lunch special time. Be careful, though – although I made it into the restaurant in time, unless I was in a daze, the menus they laid out for me didn’t seem to prominently display the daily special, which I only noticed afterward on the entrance hall wall on my way out. I hadn’t been to the Donk in a coon’s age, so was unaware. The specials are a good deal, making considering ordering anything else there for your weekday lunch a bit moot.


The Tajimi branch of the casual chain from whose inviting, oddball decor you’re never quite sure what to expect (maybe that explains the menu mishap?) has a wide menu especially featuring hamburg(er) steak brought sizzling to you on a skillet. Near K’s Denki electronics store on route 19, it’s another Softbank wi-fi hotspot.

Just An Old-Fashioned Love Song

Word has gotten around that Mister Donut donuts are ¥100 today. Urgent news like that deserves all the bandwidth/forwarding/liking it can get, so without further fudging, frosting or filling, herewith I submit my belated bop of the bouncing-around beach ball of deep-fried diglyceride decadence. Get thee to a Misudo (in Tajimi, now only at the Valor near Tenko No Yu hot springs), and splurge on a baker’s dozen right this minute. Indulge yourself.

Sometimes such simple things, like a soul-soothing hisashiburi ni time spent with some people you care about last weekend over plain old Big Macs and fries, can make a world of difference in this crazy mixed-up woild. Be the fries French or American (Sorry, Louis, beautiful friendships and true valor aside, as far as potato picking, it seems the latter is an inalienable if not self-evident fact, according to Saturday’s conversation), vive la difference. (Sorry, I don’t expect anyone to understand the obscure references here. Indulge me). Anyway, whatever else may happen, we’ll always have last Saturday at McD’s. Here’s looking at you, kid.

Terra Yaki

The ¥500 egg okonomiyaki today at Jun Restaurant located in the basement of the Terra building near Tajimi Station.


The restaurant is nothing fancy to look at, just a good place downtown for a cheap, quick fix of okonomiyaki or yakisoba. Wish this photo could show you those dried bonito shavings undulating in the heat of the moment. Fixed for you, not cook-your-own.

Hats Off to Asahi

Are you in agreement, as others are, that Clear Asahi third category alcohol (such an endearing label) is a satisfying choice for a very good value alternative to beer? They did a great job with the taste (good before, but recently improved, with a distinctly beery aftertaste), and it’s quite a bit cheaper than Kirin Tanrei, which many people, including me, think tastes best in the category.

Not sure if this particular brew is made there, but I’ve heard the tours offered at the Asahi Brewery (around Jinro station on the Chuo Line??? Can’t remember) are worth going on.


As with many good things, best taken in moderation.

More on the Morning Menu

Coming back to the recent breakfast mini-theme, I finally tried out the all-you-can-eat breakfast at Artigiano (Yes, I just went there.  No hiding it).  That is definitely a good deal, and looks to be quite popular.  I got in just before the 10 AM cutoff.  Including iced cafe au lait, ¥520 got me all the bread fixings I wanted.

Take your pick of any of the many types of bread, and be sure to go back for more, as apparently they bring out things that weren’t there before as things run low (I wasn’t sure about actual second trips, so ended up with an embarrassing mountain in my basket).  There were more than a dozen varieties in my self-restricted single trip.  They seem to continue serving until 10:30.  There are non-”viking” breakfasts, too.  In the background here you can see the baking classroom Artigiano has.

Up in Smoke

I went to Ag(s)it for coffee recently and an old movie that happened to be playing caught my attention. As soon as I saw Fred Astaire in his hotel room admiring his handiwork at crafting phony stock certificates (“Greater Anaheim Power and Light,” if I’m not mistaken), I recognized it as “Towering Inferno,” the 1974 all-star disaster flick that basically established the trend as an actual genre, 1972′s “The Poseidon Adventure” being the first marquee member of the club.

As there were no other customers at the time, I made a special request to actually listen to the English soundtrack (normally, unrelated music plays as Japanese subtitles scroll across the silent screen). Back when Home Box Office was new for most of us, I used to watch this movie quite often. So I wanted to see if the lines of the script came back (after how many years of not having seen it, I won’t say, but let’s just say I’m as old as the main actor, Paul Newman, was when he shot it). Sure enough, I found myself saying the words right along with the characters. I had to leave as Bobby Brady, inexplicably kidnapped, brainwashed and whisked to the skyscraper from his family of eight’s suburban bliss (go ask Alice), had just climbed down a dangling stair railing in pants redder than any flames in the movie.

Hindsight is 20/20, and it’s easy to poke fun at the 1970′s excess, and this film could never be accused of having artistic value, but I stopped being an independent film anti-snob snob a long time ago. Just enjoy the ride. There are lots of things to pick up, or much potential takeaway value as they now say. Not to mention the general timeliness for us in Japan of seeing a film, hokey as it is, about dealing with, after all, disaster.  Steve McQueen’s no-nonsense character, and acting for that matter, with less than magnificent lines to work with, could be a good role model for dealing with a tough situation.

Changing the subject, except for the smoke that made Bobby cough so (not even that acting seemed very convincing), I recently had lunch at McDonald’s in Tajimi (I had a Chicken Filet-O set with appreciated small serving of fries as part of their new, cheaper lunch deals), and saw that from April 1st, it’s all non-smoking inside. Smokers can still puff in the open space between the main store and the family playland area.