An Izakaya is a Japanese tavern where people go to hang out with friends or after work with co-workers. Small dishes are served and shared while drinks are filled and refilled. It is not unusual for people to spend 4 or more hours with good company, delicious food and plenty to drink! It is a great place to wind down after a hard day at work.
Steve and Lisa have a friend who taught English outside of Uchiko for two years. Katie's contract was up and she was headed home to the US so we all went to a local Izakaya for dinner and to celebrate the beginning of her new adventures.
Sun Wukong and Lin had Peach Chuhai. It is a delicious alcoholic drink that is slightly fizzy and goes down easily.
Basashi ( Horse Sashimi)
Deep Fried Frog Legs
Lovely Owner kind enough to hold Sun Wukong
Drinking and driving in Japan just isn't done. Some people decide who is the designated driver and others will call a special taxi service. The service shows up at the Izakaya with two drivers. One drives your car to your house while the drinker gets in the taxi and is driven home. The cost is about $10. But most choose to go to an Izakaya within walking distance to their house which is just what we did!
Steven teaches English to adults once a week as part of his contract. Their annual party was held at a German restaurant and we had a blast. To mix up who would sit next to each other Steven placed a playing card on the table next to each plate. When people would come in and order their drinks they would choose a playing card from a basket and proceed around the room to find their matching card.
Steven and Lisa have a very good friend who is a policeman in Uchiko, has a grand sense of humor and loves to give away vegetables from his garden. I was very lucky to find my card was next to his. His English was very good and we had a wonderful conversation . As the evening wore on he was dishing food for me and pouring from a special bottle of wine he ordered.
The ladies on my left were also easy to talk to in English. I received the usual questions that Japanese like to ask. “How old are you?” “Do you like Japanese food?” “Can you use chopsticks?” and more......... “Why did you move to Thailand?” “Do you like Thai food?” “Is it hot there?” Again, the party atmosphere was in high gear after the first few drinks people had.
The tradition when at places where people gather with food and drink is very nice. No one takes one sip of their drink until everyone has a drink of some sort. A toast is made and the glasses are raised in unison while everyone loudly yells.... Kanpai! Which means to drink in celebration or in honor of something. The Japanese do love to party!