Peter’s favorite thing about Japan, #345: izakaya (ee-ZAH-kah-ya), a kind of cozy Japanese pub-restaurant that’s filled with exotic food and drinks which seem to be tailor-made to appeal to wide-eyed gaijin like me. Inside one of these establishments you can find big frosty beers, hot sake and other drinks, as well as a complex world of izakaya food that’s great fun to explore. Food like yakitori, teriyaki chicken on skewers; gyoza, the amazing Chinese dumplings you may know under their puzzling English name of “pot stickers”; and edamame, those delicious soybeans. I probably owe my current appreciation for fish to Japanese izakaya food culture, since there are many unique kinds of fish on the menu, like sashimi or broiled hokke fish, which the Internet informs me is called Arabesque, although I’ve gone for years only knowing its name in Japanese. If you visit Japan sometime in the future, I hope you’ll visit one of these unique places to eat, drink and enjoy a new slice of Japan’s culture. Although you’ll likely be more confused than ever (I’ve never seen a lick of English on a menu in an izakaya), you’ll have lots of fun. (And if you drink too much, bring some Morning Rescue.)
I could lose myself for days in a good izakaya.