When us westerners think “a night out” wild pictures of clubbing or restauranting with friends flood our imagination. We tend to either go dancing and heavy drinking or pick a place to eat and then spend the rest of the evening sitting and talking.
A Japanese definition of an evening with friends can be compared to the club hopping. However, instead of clubs they visit izakayas (a japanese food & drink stall), where they can enjoy variety of foods along with beer or sake.
I had a pleasure to be invited out for such an event and I enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately, unless you know Japanese language or have a Japanese friend you might find difficult to re-create such night on your own. Izakayas aren’t very foreigner friendly – menu cards are mainly in Japanese, staff doesn’t speak English and, personally, I would feel a bit lost. Maybe it’s my insecurity, which would heal up with the time.
Anyways, the experience was one of a kind. First we went to an izakaya specialised in whale meat. I tried yakitori, whale sashimi, whale fins, whale fat and whale bacon. They all were sprinkled with sesame seeds and accompanied by a tiny lump of horseradish.
Then, we moved onto some proper sushi. I am a fan of sushi, but I have never had a real one – right in Japan. The choice was overwhelming. Apart from standards such as egg, squid, salmon they also had exotics, which I was very eager to try.
The meat was so soft it could be mashed with a tongue. So fresh, thick and tasteful that I wished I had a bigger stomach at some point, so I could eat more. This was our shared plate.
Here I had a chance to try sake, which is a Japanese rice wine. I’ve been explained that they drink it cold in summer and hot in winter, which makes sense. I tasted both options and both were epic.
Our third and last stop was some sweet. We chose strawberry cream, chopped strawberries and cheesecake wrapped in a freshly made pancake. Mind blowing!