Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Walk Down Piss Alley...

Back to Japan...

Before heading out to Vietnam we spent a week and a half in Japan. While there I took a few day trips around Tokyo and Chiba. I had a chance to check out an area in Tokyo called Shonben Yokocho. Translated into English, Piss Alley. Its a throwback to a Tokyo that has all but disappeared under concrete and steel. I had read that the Tokyo city government was going to demolish it soon, so I decided to check it out before someone in the construction mafia turns it into an overpriced condo development.

The place is a warren of small one story wooden shops where older Japanese guys go drinking and eating right after work. These tiny wooden shops were common in Japanese cities before the 1960's, before the Bubble Economy, before the Japanese government and the construction mafia decided to smother everyone in modern architecture. Sometimes the salarymen decide to go there for a drink in the middle of the work day. The shots below were taken around 3 pm in the afternoon.
From Tokyo Street Shots

The guys you see behind the noren screens were already pounding down soy sauce bottle size bottles of Sapporo.

The place is crowded, noisy, and dank. But it is also one of the best places in Tokyo to eat freshly cooked yakitori.

From Japanese Porn (food)

While there I also got to try out Motsu-ni-komi. Motsu-ni-kome is an organ meat stew made of chicken, beef, and pork innards, combined with Korean red pepper powder and yam cake.

From Japanese Porn (food)
It warmed me up real good....

I told my father-in-law, who knows the after-work drinking spots of Tokyo pretty well, about my visit. He has never been there, and seemed surprised that I went there to grab lunch and a drink. As he put it, "It is very Asian taste."

My wife later on explained that this type of place is the Japanese version of an old red-neck bar.

Does that make mean I'm an Asian red-neck?

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