Ramen here is the equivalent of hot dogs in the States: Cheap, fast, and high enough in fat and salt to be satisfying.
Unagi, freshwater eel, is cheap, if it is raised in China, and pricy, if grown on farms in Japan.
Along with tempura, tonkatsu (fried pork), udon, soba, and sushi, the food in Japan is varied and often delicious.
But, folks? That’s not the trend among those in their twenties and thirties.
They don’t want the food, formality, and drinks of their fathers. Not every day, anyway.
Sake sales are declining, old school restaurants are half full.
The big things here are pizza and craft beers.
The pizza is deeply flavorful and you see places all over Tokyo. Many use tomatoes, cheese, and olive oil from Japan.
And the craft beer holes in the wall–IPAs, etc.–are popping up.
That’s the future.
Meanwhile, you have DEN, a two star Michelin, where Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa, the self-described son of a geisha, dazzles with surprising and very precise dishes, served in a series and omakase style, from kamo foie gras with dried passion fruit to snapping turtle soup to a fried chicken wing stuffed with pine nuts and rice to buri-daikon to Spanish mackerel with dehydrated cabbage to a dessert of moss and sweet cream.
Sausage and cheese or pepperoni?