Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dagashi Bar, Suitengu (水天宮駄菓子バー)

You're going to have to come down-market with me here, and indulge in a bout of nostalgia. I can't tell whose nostalgia it is though, and I feel weird making it mine. I've been looking at stuff in Japan for long enough now that I understand which things are supposed to make someone feel nostalgic for Showa (i.e. the 50's, even though Showa was quite long since I was born in Showa 49), but I don't have the age or the, uh, the Japanese-ness to claim it for my own.

The Dagashi bar chain (6 shops on the card) has this stuff going on to the max, straight up. The outside is carefully dilapidated, as is the inside, and it's full of corny period touches (mock windows overhead with clotheslines and laundry drying?). The drinks have a little period slant too - Hoppy, though that isn't too uncommon in my neighborhood. Ahhh, iitokojanai, Monnaka?; Denki Bran (please look up the history elsewhere, but it means 'electric brandy' and is a slightly weakened, spiced and sweetened brandy that was invented around Asakusa at that time, when all things electric were cool). The faux-period TV plays faux-50's comedy shows, and the food is wickedly down-market nostalgic.

Dagashi is more or less cheap, crappy snacks. Some salty, many sweet, penny candy, gummies, sour pressed-powder discs...all my favorites! And the theme here is that they have a solid 30 kinds of all-you-can-make-yourself-sick-eating-them dagashi on tap (please don't fill your pockets on the way out). This doesn't go so well with the drinks or food, but it's awful funny. The food menu is a little limited, but if you were trying to define cheap nostalgia, you'd include ham katsu, karaage (4 or 5 kinds), fried bread (5 kinds, your choice of sweetener) and curry (so far down market that it's just the soup with a few tiny bits of ground pork in it, and it comes with toasted bread slices).

OK, I was totally excited about this place and happy to go there. SOMEone in the audience (whose taste and knowledge I generally respect a lot, 宜しく、宜しく) immediately responded to my "Hey, I went to a place that you'd like" with an "Ewwwwww! I don't like that place." But she went to the Ebisu one, I think, and they might not have had food. I think this is an amusing and cheap diversion if you're in the right neighborhood and frame of mind (which also includes Ebisu, Roppongi, and a bunch of places that I have a feeling the EOITwJ Reading Team may not frequent (Omori? Sangenjaya?).

Uck, the parent company is called 'Service Mart'
03-3639-5434

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