Well, I had promised to meet The Woodsman at 5 PM, after my bath. Due to excessive bathing and the sluggishness of mind that immediately follows it, it took me some time to get back up to the station and then start north along Nakano's enormous, insane, pack-em-in covered shotengai. I didn't even have a chance to get up to the Nakano Broadway bit at the end, which I remember from a visit years ago to have a sweet collection of figurine and hentai shops. Just kidding, neither of those is among my hobbies. You people, always thinking the worst. And me with a promise to meet a friend at 5...
Of course, Jesus actually says 'card shop', whatever that is, and Milan is a Nepali restaurant (it says 'Indian and Nepali food', and I stand by my theory that when a sign says 'X and Y' food, the subtext is always "We're really from Y, but we think we can sell more if we use the name of our larger, more popular neighbor." Kind of like "American and Canadian food", or "Australia and New Zealand".). Crap, I've digressed, and I'm still late for the agreed time.
There's no town called Okajouki any more. In fact, there isn't even a Tsugaru station. My guess is that at some point, these various towns rolled up the sidewalks and packed it in, forming larger tax catchment areas (which happens all the time in rural Japan). Okajouki didn't merit a station any more, and somehow these guys picked up all the pieces and installed them in Nakano.
On the other hand, with okajouki meaning 'steam train', maybe they just made up a fake sign and imported all the other stuff from China.
At this point we started thinking about a second round of fish. The soi was already sold out, 2 hours after opening. This is imbubitably because it was more meaty and yet much cheaper than the kinki. We considered the shrimp sashimi, which had looked delightful at our neighbors' station...the menu price was Y1500, and they had gotten two on the plate, so I naively assumed it was 2 per order...but I asked before ordering, and a good job of it too, because that was the per-beast price. C'mon, really? I can accept that if you go to very high-end sushi, everything you eat will be in that price range. But they've deliberately cultivated the ambience of a fireside cookery in a train station, and the incongruenciality is jarrificating. We just packed up and left.
All of this sounds a bit grumpy...No strike that, the preceding paragraph was exceedingly grumpy. But I loved this place! The atmosphere is outstanding. The quality of ingredients, at least our kinki, was also first-class. If I was out for a quiet night, didn't mind spending, and wasn't planning to try more places, I could stay longer and eat more quite happily. Now you know what to expect, and can choose your own adventure.
To order the $15 shrimp, turn to page 23. To move on to the next Nakano place, turn to page 38.