Thursday, March 22, 2012

Grilled (Tourist) Meat in Musashi-Koyama

17th August, 2010 - It was a hot, balmy Tokyo summer's night. And we had been enjoying our first afternoon in Tokyo, awaiting T-chan's brother (H-kun) to finish work and meet up with him at his home in Musashi-Koyama. The one thing you should know about work in Japan however, and especially in Tokyo, is that you shouldn't make too many plans regarding when people finish of an evening. As it turned out H-kun was stuck at work, and his fiance (S-chan) rushed in to help out. We met her at Musashi-Koyama Eki (train station), and quickly set out to grab some dinner. It was already well past 7pm, and we were getting hungry.... in Tokyo, things move at a fast pace and you do what you can when you can.

Now Musashi-Koyama's not necessarily a household name... but it's about 1.5 km from Meguro station on the Yamanote line (2 stops by the local Tokyu Meguro Line, and 3 mins). Not a bad place to live at all.

View Tokyo Map in a larger map

First night in, we thought we'd have something simple for dinner. Yakitori (grilled meat/chicken) is always a great way to start an evening. S-chan took us to a small place just around the corner. Very convenient. Whilst L-kun had met S-chan before, he was still being a little bit coy. Still... the way to any boys heart is through his stomach (and of course presents).

That yakitori-ya was nice decorated in a rustic theme. The one thing I like about Japanese interior design is when it turns towards more naturalistic materials and structures (as compared to the countless pre-fab and concrete designs that are also common). Of course, this is often used as facade only (hiding the fact that it's really cheaper building materials deep down that's holding the place up). I especially love the look of rough hewn wood... but I digress... 

I have to say that whilst the place had the ingredients of a normal yakitori-ya, it didn't take long to realise that this was perhaps a little more up-market than the normal place you'd find nestled in a busy Japanese street. And to be honest I normally think of yakitori as being a cheap meal (except in our home in Adelaide, where it's treated like haute cuisine and comes at a premium price... silly Australians). So with that in mind we got stuck into ordering...

We ended up buying lots of little dishes... below are just a small sample of them... yummy. I love yakitori (in all it's forms, flavours and associated dishes). Hmmm... I'm getting hungry again!...
Sarada pasta entree (served with the drinks)

Uzura-no-tamago (quail egg)

Asupara-bacon (Asparagus, bacon drenched in cheese)

Chicken yakitori with spring onion

(left) buta or pork, and (right) tsukune or chicken mince-balls

Needless to say that we ate dish after dish - and before long I had given up taking photos. Even though it was a stinking hot day, we certainly had our appetites! And as it was our treat, we could enjoy heartily. Of course, until it came to pay the bill. I did say it was a little upmarket didn't I... and the bill reflected that. Still, it may not have been cheap street yakitori, but  it was delicious nonetheless. It was fitting that we should have enjoyed grilled meat, after becoming grilled tourists for most of the afternoon. Kind of cannibalistic if you think about it.

After a lovely dinner we headed back to H-kun's mansion...ok strictly speaking it's a manshon... in Japan a manshon simply means an apartment. Sorry to disappoint. This should not to be confused with an 'apaato' (apartment) which is generally a more temporary construction, smaller building... I think... it's all too confusing really. I guess words sometimes just don't quite make the transition between languages.  Anyhow - it was nearing 9pm and the streets of Musashi-Koyama were amazingly quiet. To be honest, I had expected (given how central it was, and the fact it was in the middle of summer) for the streets to be alive with people. It seems that the heart-beat of Tokyo isn't too dissimilar to any other city when you get down to it. It also showed that you could find suburbia in even the biggest of megapolis.

It was a hot night that night, and our trip to Tokyo had only just begun... and finally by about 11pm H-kun arrived home after a typically long day at work. It was good to catch up with him, but we also knew that he'd be busy for most of our stay in Tokyo. Such is the curse of working in Japan.


  1. I love Musashikoyama! We are spending our first day in Japan shopping there ;)

    1. A great way to start your holiday!... shopping in Mushashikoyama! Just remember to pace yourself... hehehe...or alternatively go early, go strong!