An Evening Out at Yamazakura

Last night the Fathers Cooking class took a trip to a fancy Italian cafe/restaurant called Yamazakura (mountain cherry blossoms) in a small historic village in Oda Town for dinner.

The group consisted of a significant number of older gentlemen from the cooking class, plus some of their friends and family members. I sat with a few exceptionally boisterious men and two other foreigners. It was a lovely evening. For 2000 yen (just under $30.00) we received a 5-course meal and nomihodai (unlimited wine, beer, and osake).

This style of event still fascinates me, as I’ve never experienced anything like it in the U.S. A large group of people dress up (usually quite formal) and go out to a fancy restaurant or bar, where they pay a steep premium (usually between $50 and $100) to receive copious amounts of food and alcohol for two hours. After the time is up, many people dissipate, although a few people always head out for additional drinks or food somewhere on the town.

After riding the bus back to Kawamoto, a thoroughly saturated Japanese gentlemen asked if he could take me and the other foreigners out to sushi. Of course! (Never turn down an offer for free food – especially sushi).

We went to a local restuarant that during the daytime definitely serves as the family’s living room…where we received giant glasses of beer, warm sake, a small cup of sea urchin eggs, and two plates of sushi and sashimi.

Everything was fantastic. I love raw fish! I love cooked fish! I love fish eggs!

The whole fish required some intense mastication to break the bones down before swallowing, and the brains might have been a bit bitter…but tasty nonetheless. My favorite is always the fish eggs (uni). I love the pungent spice and slippery texture they have.

Our night ended in excessive touching of the shoulders (because you don’t hug in Japan), and some slurred concerns about making it home safely. I rode my bike home and enjoyed a candlelit solo tea party in my apartment before bed.

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