My Street Japan. Day 32.

My Street Japan. DAY 32. Tammy T. Stone

My Street Japan. DAY 32. Tammy T. Stone

I couldn’t say exactly who this guy is, but let’s call him The Lord of the Steak Shop.

This shop is on the ground level of my building, and if I ate meat, I’d be there in an instant, because it’s run by the absolute nicest-seeming older couple of all time. I see them at all hours of the day – they’re open daily, except for Wednesday and Saturday, for lunch and dinner service. It’s a quiet, small place, not a typical “izakaya” (beer/snack bar) in that the windows allow a view in, so there’s a more open feel to the place than your typical “is it really there or is it a cave hidden behind a dark house” kind of resto-bar. The husband here cooks and his wife does everything else, from what I can make out, though the husband is there more often, and I’ve definitely seen him wipe the chairs down, and place cutlery at the counter seats, and so on. My favorite time to peer in is after dusk, when the yellowy-lit atmosphere and the two to three quiet customers sipping beer and watching the TV perched near the ceiling make me feel like I’m in the best Murakami novel ever. Without fail, I want to know what everything is thinking, how their day went, if they can’t wait to get into their snug jammies now that the days are getting colder.

I don’t know about the etiquette of going in there and asking for some small dish of vegetables in a place clearly specializing in steak – this is not a land of separate sides, from what I can tell. My visions of being nourished by these most gentle souls will have to wait for another time …