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I’m an Ecuadorian-American living in Kyoto, Japan. With my multilingual skills, I hope to reach all different kinds of people from around the world with my blog :)

Soy una Ecuatoriana-Americana viviendo en Kioto, Japón. Con mis habilidades multilingües, espero alcanzar a todos diferentes tipos de gente en el mundo con mi blog :)

Uniquely Japan: Izakaya

Uniquely Japan: Izakaya

One fun thing to do while in Japan is enjoy having drinks with friends. One convenient place to do that is at an izakaya. These are places where large groups of people—like coworkers or friends—can come at night and enjoy a couple of beers and food. In some izakayas there are all-you-can-drink and all-you-can-eat options, which can be great because otherwise you’re paying per mug of beer or plate of food and that adds up to quite a lot by the end of a night.

Izakayas are not often English friendly, and they often have menus on the walls of the establishment rather than menus you can choose from. I remember the first time I sat at an izakaya and the waiter came to take our order without giving us a menu first. When we asked for one, he just gestured around us as if to say, “it’s everywhere!” It was then I noticed that the strips of paper with Japanese writing were different drinks and foods we could order. Since we couldn’t read any of it, we decided to leave.

Going to an izakaya with someone who understands Japanese would have been a much better idea, so now that I’m back in Japan, I’ve had multiple opportunities to enjoy eating at an izakaya.

There’s really no limit to what you can or cannot order at an izakaya, they have all different kinds of meat, fish, vegetables, and drinks to get. It’s a great place to try new foods, because if you don’t like the foods, then the rest of the table can it. The biggest trouble with izakayas might be splitting the bill by the end of the night, but the great foods you’ll try and the memories you make by the end will make the time worth the while!

I’ve included pictures of the different foods I’ve enjoye eating at izakayas, mainly in Kyoto and Osaka. There are chain izakayas but I usually enjoy the privately owned ones, where the owners cook for and serve you. I prefer the atmosphere of a more intimate izakaya rather than a big izakaya with loads of drunken people. And about that, I noticed that many businessmen and women go to izakayas after work—maybe to blow off some steam from their tough day jobs? Whatever the case is, however, izakayas are cool way of enjoying drinking and talking to friends without the heavy bass of a bar or the cramped corners of a club. You might see some people there enjoying izakayas by themselves, so even if you’re on your own, you too can experience an izakaya.

A plate of different kinds of meats and appetizers. There’s noodles, fish, cucumbers, pork, egg, and the occasional pickled vegetable. Also note, the menu behind the plate with intricate Japanese calligraphy that would take ages for me to translate on my own.

A plate of different kinds of meats and appetizers. There’s noodles, fish, cucumbers, pork, egg, and the occasional pickled vegetable. Also note, the menu behind the plate with intricate Japanese calligraphy that would take ages for me to translate on my own.

Deep fried squid with seaweed and a salt dip. More delicious than I imagined.

Deep fried squid with seaweed and a salt dip. More delicious than I imagined.

Hamburg meat with macaroni salad and a leaf garnish. Quite delicious!

Hamburg meat with macaroni salad and a leaf garnish. Quite delicious!

Mushroom and fish soup! After drinking the broth, you can eat the veggies and fish inside the teapot.

Mushroom and fish soup! After drinking the broth, you can eat the veggies and fish inside the teapot.

A mountain of mashed potatoes! Or more like mashed potato salad, since there was chopped green onion there as well.

A mountain of mashed potatoes! Or more like mashed potato salad, since there was chopped green onion there as well.

cuts of tuna and salmon with a soy sauce dip—a classic!

cuts of tuna and salmon with a soy sauce dip—a classic!

Seared beef tongue with a small green salad and a wedge of lemon. The texture was a little funny at first, but I ended up liking it a lot.

Seared beef tongue with a small green salad and a wedge of lemon. The texture was a little funny at first, but I ended up liking it a lot.

Last but not least, deep friend oyster meat—I think! It’s been a while since I had this. And a side of spicy mustard included.

Last but not least, deep friend oyster meat—I think! It’s been a while since I had this. And a side of spicy mustard included.


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