Book Review – Drinking Japan by Chris Bunting

Drinking Japan

Drinking Japan

This indispensible guide will become the bible for anyone passionate about Japanese beverages. Regardless if your preference is for shochu or nihonshu, Chris has covered it all. Clearly written by a reporter, no detail is overlooked, and the information is easy to understand. The descriptions of each bar transports you there and he even includes specific drinks to try once you get there. The bars are not limited to Tokyo but he also guides you on major cities including Sapporo, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, and where to go in Okinawa.

I know this book is a winner as many of my Tokyo favorites are included such as the New York Bar & Grill in the Park Hyatt Tokyo, he even mentions to come as the sun is setting, which is what I recommend to all of my friends. Buchi, Buri, Maru, Akaoni, Taproom, Takara, and Sasagin are other favorites that are included in this guidebook. He definitely has his pulse on the bar scene in Japan.

There are also a slew of bars that are new to me that are on my list to check out that include Shusaron for its collection of koshu (aged nihonshu), Garari and its impressive kokuto shochu list, and Cheese and Wine Salon Murase in Ginza. And although I am not much of a whisky drinker, just reading his chapter on Japanese whisky has me thirsty to visit some of the bars listed in the book.

As for covering beverages he definitely has a well-trained palate that I would trust. He recommends Bryan Baird’s beers and in the Q&A below his favorite awamori at the moment is Shirayuri, also one of my favorites. Just knowing this I am confident in reading his notes on the beverages written about in Drinking Japan.

The chapter on the drinking culture that is to be found in Japan is essential reading for anyone who will be drinking in Japan. And Chris explains why Japan is truly is a drinker’s paradise. While other books go into greater detail on nihonshu, he more than covers the base on what readers need to know when drinking nihonshu in Japan. The same goes for shochu, awamori, beer, wine, and whisky.

One of my favorite parts of the book are his directions on finding each bar. Essential information as I have found myself on numerous occasions lost, and I have a good sense of direction.

Chris is quick to point out others who have helped him along this journey, including professionals like John Gauntner, Bryan Harrell, Phred Kaufman, and many more.

This book will become a reference book for drinks in Japan. I have already dog-eared many pages for my next night in Tokyo. For those who do not read Japanese, there is essential Japanese in the book for names of beverages and addresses for bars, which will help you while on your evenings out. Even if you are not physically in Japan, the information presented on the different beverages alone makes it worth investing in. A portion of the proceeds are going to Japan Earthquake Relief.

Chris was kind enough to answer some questions posted below. Very insightful answers – see his suggestions for nursing a hangover and why he would not open a bar in Japan.

Drinking Japan – A Guide to Japan’s Best Drinks and Drinking Establishments

By Chris Bunting

Tuttle Publishing

272 pages

$24.95 (2127 JPY on Amazon Japan)

For more information, check out his website: http://drinkingjapan.com/

1. What drink do you have at the end of a long day?

Depending on the mood, I might have a glass of beer or something a bit stronger: whisky, awamori or shochu. Recent favourites have been a bottle of Shirayuri awamori from Ishigaki island, which has delicious unctuousness that I find really relaxing, and a bottle of Japanese grain Kawasaki whisky from the independent brand Ichiro’s Malts.

2. If a tourist is coming to Tokyo and only has time to visit five bars which five would you recommend?

I am going to blather a bit before I answer your question because I want to make clear that I don’t think it is possible to come up with any definitive list of top bars in Tokyo. I went to hundreds of bars for the book and the one thing I discovered was the foolishness of my initial objective of finding the “100 plus best bars.” Everywhere I went I seemed to get a new recommendation for a hidden gem. Japan’s, and particularly Tokyo’s, alcohol culture has a boundless energy about it and it just cannot be nailed down. There are new places popping up all the time. I found myself writing at the end of the guide that all my recommendations were just my favourites from the small slice of Japan’s alcohol life that I had been able to experience, and urging readers to use the book to get out and discover their own new places. That said, six (I am cheating) of my favorites at this point are Shot Bar Zoetrope, a Japanese whisky bar near Shinjuku station; Shusaron, a bar specialising in aged sake near Shinagawa station; The Aldgate, a great pub with good craft beer in Shibuya; Katakura, an izakaya near Ichigaya station with a great selection of awamori, shochu, and sake; Tafia, a rum bar near Roppongi,  and Bar Lupin, a really historic bar off the Ginza where Osamu Dazai and other literary greats used to hang out.

3. Again, advice for a tourist who can only have a few drinks during his stay, can you suggest one of each of the following? Nihonshu, craft beer, Japanese wine, shochu, awamori, Japanese whisky.

I will try. This is a fiendish question because it is a bit like asking someone to pick out one French wine. But here goes (I will cheat again by not naming particular brands in most of the categories but styles instead because that is the key issue): a really wild kimoto or yamahai sake rather than just sticking to the clean, dry sakes; one of the Baird Beers from Shizuoka, a brewery that plays freely over a whole range of styles; a wine made with the koshu grape, which is one of Japan’s special contributions to the wine world and often has a delightful shy and delicate touch; a sweet potato shochu from Kagoshima (my favourite brand is Manzen, because I had a great time visiting Manzen san’s tiny craft distillery in the backwoods of Kagoshima); a “kusu” (aged) awamori of some sort, rather than just the unaged stuff; a Japanese whisky that has been aged in mizunara oak, another unique Japanese style, which often offers distinctive sandalwood and coconut aromas and tastes.

4. Your favorite bar outside of Tokyo?

Pub Red Hill in Takayama city. A lot of the bars in my book have absolutely mind-blowing selections of alcohol of one sort or another. Red Hill doesn’t, but it is really friendly and is run by a good friend of mine. Bars are not all about hundreds of bottles on the shelves, they have to have soul as well.

5. Any remedies for nursing a hangover?

Don’t drink too much the night before. Gallons of Pocari Sweat, if you have strayed.

6. If you could create/own a bar what would it be like? Where would it be? What would you call it?

I would not be able to run my own bar. It takes dedication, attention to detail, and persistence, among other qualities. I don’t have those. If I did have to set up a bar, I would set it up somewhere other than Japan, because my bar simply would not be able to compete in Japan’s very competitive nightlife.

7. Through your travels you had the opportunity to meet so many interesting people. Who was the most memorable and why?

Tatsuro Yamazaki, the 90-plus year old owner of Bar Yamazaki in Sapporo. I write about him quite extensively in the concluding chapter of the book. His life story is extraordinary (including living in a boiler and being cleaned out by theft and fires ) and I think it helped me understand why Japan’s bars are of such a high standard.

8. If you could trade jobs with one of the people you met from your travels who would it be? (Someone who had an awesome bar or maybe a distiller, etc.)

As I say, I don’t think I have it in me to do any of these people’s jobs, but if I could be the assistant to Toshihiro Manzen, who runs a small craft shochu distillery in Kagoshima prefecture, I would be a happy man. It was such a beautiful place: in the middle of the forest, birdsong drifting into the distilling hall, the sound of the river …. The stills, believe it or not, are wooden and the spirit they produce is really distinctive. I had a tremendous sense when I was there that Manzen san was toiling away at something that will one day get international recognition.

9. Your favorite bar snack (or food with alcohol)?

Cheese. Any cheese. Not because it goes with all alcohol but because I love cheese and am starved of it here in Japan (see page 204 of my book).

10. Where are we most likely to run into you in Tokyo? At which bar?

At a not-very-fancy izakaya called Mugiya out the back end of Shimbashi station. It serves standard Japanese lager in small glasses and the fried spam gives me terrible jip the next morning, but my colleagues at work go there so I go too. It is about the company as much as the drink. When I get my way, we go to a place in Nishi-Shimbashi called Craft Beer Market, which has reasonably priced craft beer that is becoming increasingly popular among my colleagues. Recently, my roistering has been restricted because my wife and I just had a baby.

Okinawa Washita Shop in Ginza 沖縄わしたショップ

Okinawa Washita Shop

Okinawa Washita Shop

Okinawa Washita Antenna Shop 沖縄わしたショップ

Chuo-ku, Ginza 1-3-9

03-3535-6991

10:00 – 19:00, no holidays

www.washita.co.jp/info/shop/ginza/index.html (Japanese)

The Okinawa Washita Shop in Ginza may be one of the most unique antenna shops in the city due to the unique food and beverage culture of Okinawa. The cuisine of the southernmost islands of Japan is very different from what you will find in the rest of the country. This tropical islands are rich with sea vegetables, pork and the local shochu called awamori. The basement is filled with awamori is a distilled beverage made from Thai rice and has a unique funk to it that makes it the perfect partner for the Okinawan cuisine. Okinawa is also famous for the longevity of the Okinawans, which many attribute to the diet and awamori. The smoked skin from a pig’s face is sliced for a snack food. Fresh produce including the bitter goya, tropical fruits and a citrus shikuwasa juice, great for cocktails, shimadoufu (a very dense, rich tofu), and Okinawan tea (sanpincha). I also was so happy to find a Japanese grater called “shiri shiri ki” that is ideal for grating carrots for salads or spring rolls. We had one in our home growing up and used it often. I also like it for grating potatoes for hash browns. I haven’t seen it at any other shop in Japan, just here.

Shiri Shiri Ki

Shiri Shiri Ki

Drinking Japan by Chris Bunting

Drinking Japan

Drinking Japan

Imbibers in Japan, be on the lookout for Drinking Japan, A Guide to Japan’s Best Drinks and Drinking Establishments. The author, Chris Bunting, has an impressive website on Japanese whisky:

http://www.nonjatta.blogspot.com/

Here is the link to the book on Tuttle Publishing’s website:

http://www.tuttlepublishing.com/book/?GCOI=48053100473120

 

Tokyo Do’s and Don’t’s

  1. Do visit a depachika, the epicurean food floors in the basement of major department stores. My favorites are Takashimaya (both in Nihonbashi and Shinjuku), Isetan in Shinjuku, Mitsukoshi in Ginza, Tokyu Toyokoten in Shibuya, and Tobu in Ikebukuro. An incredible variety of food is exquisitely presented. In particular, be sure to check out the wagashi (Japanese confectionaries) that are edible works of art. If you are hungry, grab a seat at one of the eat-in counters or head to the restaurant floor in the department store. If you are riding the bullet train (shinkansen) then give yourself time to pick up a bento from Daimaru’s depachika at Tokyo station. The sake department also sells small bottles of nihonshu or beer if you would like to have these with your bento. Be sure to ask for some plastic cups. Wait to eat your bento until the train has started moving. You’ll notice your fellow travelers doing the same.
  2. Do go to the New York Bar and Grill. Made famous from Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. Either have a drink at the bar while the sun is setting and watch the lights come up on the city, or splurge for lunch or dinner. Lunch there is a great buffet of appetizers and desserts while you select your main course. Dinner is a real treat with the city sparkling below you.
  3. Do have sushi at Tsukiji Market. I suggest visiting the outer market. If you insist on going to the inner market, it is best to visit after 9 a.m. and to stay out of the way of the fishmongers as this is their workplace. Most of the Japanese follow these same rules. While here, do have breakfast or lunch, sushi if you are game, if not, plenty of great cooked food as well. Try Sushi Bun or Nakaya for sushi or Tenfusa for tempura of shrimp or anago (eel).
  4. Do try the local sake (nihonshu), shochu, or even the local wine. A visit to Tokyo would not be complete without some local drinks, be it nihonshu, shochu, or the local koshu wine. I like the izakaya, Yamariki in Morishita, as it is where many locals go. It is famous for its nikomi, simmered innards and grilled meats. For wine lovers with time to venture out of the city, consider a day trip to Coco Farm and Winery, just north of Tokyo. There is a tasting room as well as a café overlooking the vineyards. It is open all year long.
  5. Do try as many foods as you can, and be adventurous. If you are willing to try foods you have never had before, you are in for a treat. As an island, Japanese has amazing seafood, much of it never exported so be sure to try seasonal sushi if you can. If you like innards be sure to go to Saiseisakaba in Shinjuku, a standing bar that does amazing raw and grilled innards – perfect with some shochu. If you can, try shirako, sperm sac from fish, notably from the fugu (blowfish) or ankimo (monkfish liver), which is like foie gras of the sea.
  6. Do splurge and have a kaiseki meal. Seasonal cuisine served in courses is a treat. My favorite restaurant for this is Nihonbashi Yukari. I believe dinner starts at about 10,500 Japanese yen. If you are on a budget, go for lunch and request the Yukari bento when you make your reservation (it must be ordered in advance) (about 3,675 Japanese yen). The bento is not kaiseki, but does include several different components of kaiseki in a large bento box. Chef Kimio Nonaga was the 2002 Iron Chef champion. He is very talented and passionate about Japanese cuisine. If you get a seat at the counter you can watch him at work. Tell him Yukari sent you.
  7. Try exploring some of the older neighborhoods of Tokyo like Nihonbashi, Ningyocho, or Asakusa. The charm of these areas can be felt in some of the historic restaurants, some going back several generations, like Tamahide in Ningyocho.
  8. Do whet your appetite for your trip by seeing some great movies like Lost in Translation and Tampopo. If you are into ramen, then check out Ivan Ramen, some of the best ramen in the city made by a New Yorker.
  9. Do try other cuisines than Japanese if your schedule permits it. Japanese chefs do an amazing job with French and Chinese cuisine. In particular, Italian food done with Japanese ingredients is a match made in heaven.
  10. Do plan ahead and do your research. Don’t miss the last train, don’t take a taxi from Narita to the city, don’t travel during rush hour, don’t book a meal at a restaurant that only has seating on the floor unless you are comfortable sitting that way. Try avoid your travel during the major holidays of obon, Golden Week, and New Year’s as many restaurants and Tsukiji Market will close. If you are in the city while a sumo tournament is going on, then do try to see this sporting event live. Summer can be unbearably hot and humid, in particular late July and August. Ideally, come during the cherry blossom season in the spring or in the fall to witness the colorful leaves.

Ebisu Itchome Horumon 恵比寿一丁目ホルモン for Offal Cuisine

Ebisu Itchome Horumon Exterior

Ebisu Itchome Horumon Exterior

Ebisu Itchome Horumon is a few minutes’ walk from Ebisu station.

Ebisu Itchome Horumon Interior

Ebisu Itchome Horumon Interior

Gas grills are on each table with a strong exhaust pipe over each grill.

Liver Sashimi

Liver Sashimi

Our first course was a rich liver sashimi, very intense in flavor. It is garnished with sesame oil and salt.

Offal for Grilling

Offal for Grilling

A variety of innards to grill. Other tables that had this same item served had little signs in each well describing what each item was. We were told that the restaurant ran out of signs. Regardless, it is a variety of textures and flavors.

Shinji Grilling

Shinji Grilling

Shinji grills the offal. This is always fun for diners who love to cook.

Offal Hot Pot

Offal Hot Pot

Our last course was a hot pot of offal, tofu, and vegetables.

Offal Menu

Offal Menu

To help diners figure out the different parts of the cow a guide is drawn on a chalkboard.

Offal Menu

Offal Menu

The menu is also posted outside of the restaurant.

This simply designed restaurant features a power vacuum over each table’s gas grill to suck up the smoke. The staff suggested we start off with liver sashimi, which was very fresh but cut too thick. The next course of grilled naizo was our favorite, especially the fatty tontoro (neck) and hearty hatsumoto (aorta). Ebisu Itchome’s signature dish, the kopuchan nabe, is filled with vegetables to balance the fatty small intestines. The loud music explains why our phone calls went unanswered while we were lost for 45 minutes, so make sure you bring along a good map.

Ebisu Itchome Horumon 恵比寿一丁目ホルモン
Shibuya-ku, Ebisu 1-22-23 渋谷区恵比寿1-22-23

Tel: 03-6277-0777

Open daily 11:30am-3pm and 6pm-5am

Nearest stn: Ebisu, east exit

http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g431308

Shochu 101 – Part Four

Large ceramic pots for aging shochu

Large ceramic pots for aging shochu

Depending on how shochu is aged will be reflected on the palate. Shochu is often aged in tanks, ceramic pots, or barrels. Aged in stainless steel tanks the shochu will retain more of the base ingredient. As ceramic pots are allowed to breathe the shochu softens and rounds out on the palate. Naturally, aging in a wooden barrel will add tannins and color to the shochu similar to whiskey.

Finally, aging a shochu for a long period will let it meld and come together making it smoother and gives it a longer finish. Ku-su (クース) is aged awamori. It must be aged a minimum of three years, and be at least 50% or more to be labeled as ku-su, and is often aged in ceramic pots.

Shochu is made in every prefecture of Japan, which can’t be said about sake as it is not brewed in Kagoshima. Shochu is so prevalent on the southern island of Kyushu, that in many places when you walk into a restaurant and ask for sake, a generic term for alcohol, you may be given shochu. Similar to learning village names of Burgundy, it is good familiarize yourself with the names of the prefectures of Kyushu.

Kagoshima 鹿児島 – imo (sweet potato)
Miyazaki 宮崎 – soba (buckwheat)
Oita 大分 – mugi (barley)
Kumamoto 熊本 – kome (rice)
Fukuoka 福岡
Saga 佐賀
Nagasaki 長崎
Amami Oshima 奄美大島 – kokuto (brown sugar)
Okinawa 沖縄 – awamori

Shochu Authority 焼酎オーソリティ
Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 1-9-1, Tokyo Station, Yaesu Kitchen Street, 1st Floor
03-5208-5157
10:00 – 21:00, no holidays
http://www.authority-online.jp/html/newpage.html?code=2 (Japanese)

Shochu Authority has one of the best selection of shochu and awamori in the city. There is so much to choose from and the knowledgeable staff can help you find whatever you are looking for. It is conveniently located inside of Tokyo station. It is inside of the station building, but outside of the ticket gate.

Insider’s tips:
• The most important thing to remember when buying shochu, look for honkaku shochu 本格焼酎.
• Antenna Shops will have good selection of local shochu. Check out Kagoshima (antenna shop chapter) and Miyazaki (see Shinjuku).
• Depachika usually carry a selection of the popular brands.

Shochu 101 part one.

Shochu 101 part two.

Shochu 101 part three.

Shochu 101 – Part Three

Sweet potato farm in Miyazaki

Sweet potato farm in Miyazaki

There are two types of shochu:

Kourui 甲類 is made in a continuous still (renzoku shiki). It is very smooth on the palate and is under 36 degrees alcohol. Kourui shochu is typically used as a mixer for cocktails. On its own it does not have any notable aromas and is unimpressive on the palate. This is typically used as a cocktail mixer.

Otsurui 乙類, made in a pot still (tanshiki), are single distillation shochu. It retains the aroma of the base ingredient. The alcohol percentage is below 45 degrees. Otsurui shochu is good for drinking straight, on the rocks, or with hot water. It can also be used as a mixer for cocktails. Otsurui is also called honkaku shochu 本格焼酎. This is the top quality shochu that is worth exploring. If purchasing any shochu, be sure to ask if it is honkaku shochu.

Kojikin 麹菌 (aspergillus oryzae) is a mold that is used to break down the starches in the base ingredients into fermentable sugars. It is what makes shochu different from other distilled spirits. There are three basic types of koji that are used in creating shochu. The type of koji greatly affects the taste.

Shirokoji 白麹 (white koji) creates a very soft, gentle tasting shochu. These shochu are often light-body shochu.

Kikoji 黄麹 (yellow koji) is the same koji that is used for making sake. The resulting shochu is often aromatic with floral tones, and supple on the palate.

Kurokoji 黒麹 (black koji) is famous for making awamori (of Okinawa). Shochu made with kurokoji are often bold on the palate and full-bodied.

Another tip regarding shochu is to ask if it was distilled under high or low pressure. Genatsu 減圧 is distilled under low pressure, these shochu are often softer on the palate. Joatsu 常圧 is distilled under regular pressure creating more expressive shochu.

Shochu 101 part one.

Shochu 101 part two.

Shochu 101 part four.

Shochu 101 – Part Two

Packaging Shochu in Miyazaki

Packaging Shochu in Miyazaki

There are many base ingredients that shochu is made from providing a wide variety of flavor profiles. The most commonly found are:

Imo 芋 – (sweet potato) is highly aromatic, can be smooth, and also slightly sweet on the palate. There are many varieties of sweet potato all contributing their own characteristics. Kogane sengan is one of the more popular potatoes used.

Mugi 麦 – (barley) is roasty, toasty, and often dry. Can be aged in barrels making it fuller on the palate and reminiscent of whiskey, but lower in alcohol.

Kome 米 – (rice) is light, crisp, and very food-friendly. This is a good shochu to start drinking as it is very smooth on the palate.

Soba そば – (buckwheat) buckwheat aromas are strong and it can be round on the palate.

Kokuto 黒糖 – (brown sugar) is sweet on the nose and on the finish. Kokuto jochu is only made on the islands between Kagoshima and Okinawa. This is also a good starter shochu as it is slightly sweet on the palate.

Awamori 泡盛 – (Thai rice) is full body from the black koji. This pairs well with rich and well-seasoned foods of Okinawa where it is produced.

Other base ingredients are:

Kuri 栗 – (chestnuts) can be slightly sweet and aromatic like marron glace.

Goma 胡麻 – (sesame seeds) has a nutty aroma and a round mouth feel. Try this mixed with milk on the rocks for a unique cocktail.

Shiso しそ – (perilla leaves) has the undeniable aroma of minty shiso leaves.

Shochu can also be made from a variety of vegetables, sake kasu, kombu, and much more.

Shochu 101 part one.

Shochu 101 part three.

Shochu 101 part four.

Shochu 101 – Part One

Shochu

Shochu

SHOCHU 焼酎

Shochu, the distilled spirit native to Japan, is made from a variety of base ingredients including sweet potatoes and barley. Shochu has the misnomer of “Japanese vodka”. Vodka often is 45 degrees in alcohol but shochu is typically 25 degrees. It is made using koji kin (a mold) that gives it a unique aroma, and the different base ingredients create many different flavors. Shochu can be consumed straight, on the rocks, with hot water, or as a mixer. It is the base for a popular cocktail chuhai. Chuhai comes in a variety of flavors as it is mixed with fruit juices, is sold in cans like beer, at about half the price. Shochu can also be pronounced jochu when referred to as imojochu (sweet potato shochu) or komejochu (rice shochu).

The famed distilled spirit of Japan that has outsold nihonshu (sake) since 2003, is one of the beverages that is still not available much outside of the country, as it is only exported to a handful of countries. Shochu is often consumed mixed with water so the alcohol drops from 25 degrees to about 12-14 degrees, which is comparable to a glass of sake.

Shochu can be mixed with hot or cold water, both resulting in different profiles and impacts on the palate. On a cold winter’s day, nothing warms the body like a cup of hot shochu.

Perhaps the most interesting part of shochu is the variety of base ingredients that it can be made from. Sweet potatoes (imo) can be funky, chestnuts (kuri) may be aromatic like roasted chestnuts and there is even a Japanese basil (shiso) shochu that is easily recognizable by its minty aromas.

Okinawa is famous for its local version of shochu, awamori, which is made only from Thai rice and specifically with a black koji mold that gives it an earthy and heady aroma. There are three types of koji mold used in making shochu. Black gives it an earthiness, white creates a softer shochu and yellow brings on floral aromatics.

Shochu 101 part two.

Shochu 101 part three.

Shochu 101 part four.

Kagoshima Yurakukan Antenna Shop in Yurakucho

Japan is a small country, about the size of California, yet each prefecture and region has its own local food and the Japanese treasure these regional products. There is no better expression of the diverse terroir of Japan than its local commodities. Kombu harvested from the rich mineral waters of Hokkaido. The southern prefecture of Kagoshima is famous for its sweet potatoes, which are the base for its heady imo jochu (sweet potato shochu).

Antenna shops act as both stores offering items that are often hard to find outside of the region as well as public relations office offering brochures about the local area. From local beverages like sake or shochu, pickles, sweets and meats, these antenna shops offer great finds and are worth carefully perusing. If you are looking for pottery from a certain region, for example the pastel glazed Hagiyaki from Yamaguchi, then these regional antenna shops are a good place to start.

Some shops will have restaurants featuring local foods, kyodo ryori (郷土料理) and these too are a great way to try food you normally would not have the chance to.

Kagoshima Yurakukan

Kagoshima Yurakukan

Kagoshima Yurakukan かごしま遊楽館

Chiyoda-ku, Yurakucho 1-6-4, Chiyoda Building 千代田区有楽町1−6−4千代田ビル

Tel. 03-3580-8821

10:00 – 20:00 (10:00 – 19:00 weekends and holidays)

www3.pref.kagoshima.jp/foreign/english/profile/gaiyou/yurakukan_main.html (English)

Kagoshima also on Kyushu is famous for its shochu, in particular imo jochu from sweet potatoes, of which the shop has an unusually large selection. The cuisine is rich with kurobuta (Berkshire pork) products, Satsuma age fish cakes and more. The restaurant on the second floor, Ichi nii san, serves up a kurobuta based menu in a variety of presentations including tonkatsu or shabu-shabu.