After our whirlwind tour of Taiwan, we hopped on a plane to Japan, where we had
ramen (in Shibuya)
yakitori (in an alleyway full of izakaya in Shinjuku)
tempura (at Ten-Ichi in Ginza)
tonkatsu (somewhere between Shibuya and Omotesando)
soba (in Kyoto)
sushi (on the Shinkansen)
and okonomiyaki (an assemble-and-cook-it-yourself version, also in Shibuya, where I kept returning, mostly because of the most amazing general goods store in the world).
I was surprised that nearly every meal — the ramen may have been the only exception — was accompanied by pickles. That practice seems largely to have been lost in translation to Western shores — a most unfortunate development. I was happy a couple of nights ago to see a little dish of them appear with my negi tori don at Yakitori Totto. Perhaps their presence might serve as an indicator of authenticity or — something less slippery — an uncompromising kitchen?