Uh oh, lock the doors, stay off the roads, and hide the sake: It’s the second Monday of January, and that means, “Coming of Age Day,” throughout Japan. That’s right, turning twenty here is marked by ceremonies and revels and dissolute responses to the burgeoning opportunity to have adult privileges.
Me, I’m going for a run, having breakfast, and heading home to Boston. It’s been nine days of interviewing and writing. Micro-brewed beer, cheese production, noma in Japan, and planning for stories to write in the near future.
Yesterday, parting ways with two of our group who flew to Cambodia, the two of us remaining strolled around Ginza and Shinjuku, enjoying the Sunday crowds and balmy weather.
Lunch was at Keishoan, hidden on the 6th floor of the Lumine Building across from the West exit of Shinjuku station. By night it’s yakitori, by day it’s chicken in stews or fried. Delicious and at $13 per person, including everything, a great deal.
Planning ahead, we went to the food hall of Isetan to stock up for the plane ride home. Fried chicken, stewed fish, fermented yam, and unagi. The unagi, or river eel, was crazy expensive because it was from Japan rather than China. Like many informed consumers, I won’t knowingly buy anything edible from China. You pay a price for that position.
And then at last we met up with Kanna and Rie at L’As, which is a remarkable French-Japanese restaurant hidden in an alley in Ometesando. The chef here, Daisuke Kaneko, trained with Alain Senderens, and his focus and use of Japanese aesthetics and French technique, along with a great wine list, yield playful, memorable, deeply flavorful results. And with a prix fixe menu of six courses at $42 person, it’s pretty amazing. In NYC this is a meal that would cost three times as much. Watch and see if Kaneko-san isn’t written up in major media.