Sunday, February 15, 2009

Oteru, Monzennakacho (お照)

The personal email issues are almost solved, my friends. The IT team is starting to get things under control.
After Ojisan and I left Hanabishi, I thougt I was going peacefully home. It was not to be, as he had his claws into me and insisted that I join him at another geisha-run place. This one is a tiny place near Goroku; I've thought many times about stopping in there but always been put off by the smallness and fully-frosted windows; just a little too scary. Strictly speaking, I know I should sacrifice for the art and go in, but it's also oden, which kina puts me off also.

Surprise, surprise, Ojisan is a regular there. The three people at the counter immediately warned me in a friendly way that I shouldn't be associating with him, we ordered some atsukan, received a bowl each of steamed pumpkin for otoshi, and got down to business.

There was a lot of chatter, which I understood about half of. Based on that half, it was pretty much obscene and insult-laden, but in a nice way. Let's not dwell on the details, OK? I'm sure if you stop by, you too will find yourself an immediate regular. Mama presides over things from behind the counter with a pleasant and placid deanor, which is a good attitude to have when you're about 4 feet tall. Not much you can do about it, right?

The food's basically oden. For the uninitiated this is where the shop has a big pot of soup and keeps it hot all night, gently simmering a wide variety of tasty goodies to juicy perfection. Or something. It's also the kinda nasty smell that you smell when you go into a conveniece
store in the winter (in Japan). Some people swear that these conbini oden are actally quite good, and to them I say "You can have 'em". At this place, I tucked in to a few of my favorites purely for research. The Shirataki were stringy and starcy (which is fine since they're strings made from starch), the daikon was actually pretty good, and I've forgotten the third thing I had. One of my issues with oden is that all the normal-looking things have 'trade names', like condiments at
sushi places, and I don't feel like learning them. One other thing I like is a piece of mochi wrapped in tfu skin; by rights, this should be called 'Buddha's Sack' or something equally graphic.
Oden, and this place - still don't quite understand the attraction, but they're OK once in a while. And the name - I forgot twice today to see what it was, but I'll update when I do remember.

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