Friday, March 19, 2010

Asahi, Kasai (ろばた旭、葛西)

After leaving Uogokoro, I felt like the night was young. I had neither eaten nor drunk much, and more to the point I hadn't found any funny people to hang out with. The closest was the really rough looking party down the counter who were talking about me until I mentioned that I could understand them. I digress.

Asahi is distinctly uninspiring to look at, but the lit sign at street level in the center-left of the picture says what you need to know. It says "Juyondai. Denshu. Hakkaisan. Kokyryu." etc etc etc. This turned out to be a bait 'n' switch, as they had only one variety each of those, and the lowest in most cases. Still, one can't expect to go to a party place way out in the eastern suburbs and find gold. (I was commenting to someone recently that Tokyo's eastern suburbs are like Sydney's western suburbs, so Kasai is more, shall we say, Parramatta than Woolahra. If that helps.)

But it really IS a party place. Nice country-style atmosphere, big long counter, crowded, noisy, koagari booths to the right, full, fun. You could have a good time here.

Weirdly international too. 

As I was taking time to look at the sake list (and who wouldn't with a list this size?), they seemed to assume I was having trouble reading, and sent a white guy over to deal with me. A white guy!

Actually no, because his name was 'Jeff', except I bet that isn't really his name because someone told me he's Iranian. I didn't talk to him, just reassured him that things were cool, and he went back to work. One of the waitresses was Chinese. In the city, you'd think this was cool. In the suburbs, we know it's all about saving money.

Nice though, right? They tell you everything there is to know about all the sake. I think I won't bore you with a list of everything I drank; the thing I noted liking the most was Kokuryu's Icchorai, and you can get that in lots of places. You can see the Kudokijozu label there too.

You can see here some more of the counter, as well as the, woman next to me who was wasted to start, got worse, slumped on her boyfriend, sat up when he squeezed her breasts, spilled my drink and then fell on me. After that she went to the bathroom and didn't come back until the staff came to tell her companion that she was passed out, and would he please get her out? Considering all that, I think it was quite bold that he kept saying he wanted my phone number so we could go out drinking another time! He hasn't contacted me, so I must have written it wrong.

These bottles are neat, aren't they? Looks like 100+ years of Kirin's varied styles, but I don't really know.

I do know that I ordered sardines, on the left, and abalone, on the right. I can confirm that I don't particularly like the crunchiness of raw abalone, and I still find the taste curiously lacking for something that's so famous and prized.

If you've read my blog before, you can probably guess what this is.

As we say in Texas, Hi Ho Silver! Let's eat!

The chef whose head you can see here was pretty funny. He told one customer that one of the daily-special fish was isaki. She asked "Is that like buri?" and he said "No, it's like isaki." The other main chef was Chinese (and the internationality of it all), and a bit of a hard guy. He wasn't too amused by all the drunken antics, of which there were plenty.

Of course, after the falling-over drunks cleared out, I got this couple as new neighbors, and they were really nice. Hi Jun! What the heck did we talk about, and where did the time go?

And thanks for the picture and a slice of your hamkatsu (half-rounds of processed ham, breaded and fried). Yum!

I'd enjoy going back to this place with friends or family - if it wasn't so far away. Seriously, if you live in Pong or Juban or something you can complain about Monnaka being the other side of the Earth, but try Kasai on for size...

I could never understand people who talked about almost missing the last train, and now I are one...

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