Posts Tagged yakiniku

November 3, 2006 – Dinner with my private student

Earlier in the year, I picked up a private student on Saturday mornings. Tonight my student took me out for a farewell dinner. For the sake of the story, let’s call him Hiro.

Several teachers try to supplement their income by picking up private English students. When private lessons work out, they can be a pretty good deal for both parties: the teacher gets paid cash under the table and the student gets more flexibility on their lessons at a lower price. Many cynical English teachers believe that the main reason for NOVA’s “don’t interact with students outside of the classroom” policy is to reduce the chances of teachers stealing customers and turning them into private students.

Hiro worked for an automobile parts manufacturer and occasionally needed to interact with Americans in English. He knew enough to talk about his work in English, but wanted some practice in the kind of small talk and everyday conversation that he would encounter in overseas trips. He was keen to learn and fun to teach.

When I started making plans to leave Japan, I worked on setting up Super Dave as a replacement teacher. During our last lesson, Hiro invited me out to a farewell dinner. I’m not one to turn down good food, so I agreed.

Hiro picked me up in his car and drove us to a small yakiniku restaurant in Mishima. There are a ton of good restaurants in Mishima, but most of them are not easily accessible by train so this was a nice treat for me. Like most yakiniku restaurants, we had a grill right in the middle of our table. I’m a pretty adventurous eater so I let Hiro order for us. Over the course of a few hours we had plate after plate of different cuts of meat show up at table; I ate everything except for the salted squid guts with raw egg – there simply wasn’t enough beer to make that look and smell appealing.

After eating and drinking so much that we could barely move, I started worrying about how we were going to get home. Hiro called a very convenient taxi service that sent one cab with two drivers. We rode in the cab while the second driver followed behind in Hiro’s car. The cost was just slightly more than a regular taxi. This service should be available everywhere!!

I arrived home drunk, sleepy, and with a case of the meat sweats. Thanks again to Hiro for treating me to an amazing dinner! My experience goes to show that if you really want to experience life in Japan, you need to get out and spend time with people other than just English teachers. I’m a lucky man that I got to meet so many cool people during my time in the country.

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June 24, 2005 – My weight in beef

I had the day off today as part of working Monday on a shift swap. I didn’t do much in the daytime, but in the evening I went to Gyu-kaku with the Penpal where I ate my weight in beef.

Mmmmm meat sweats!

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July 16, 2004 – Return to Gyu-Kaku!

I was working with a slight hangover from last night’s karaoke. Working with a hangover, no matter how small, is not fun.

After work I took Lux to Gyu-Kaku. Once again, the food was fantastic! Lux is a smoker, and usually I don’t enjoy eating in the smoking section of restaurants. However, the ventilation at Gyu-Kaku is very good due to all the smoky grills at each table. The fan above our table sucked up all the cigarette smoke and I didn’t notice it at all. Just one of the many reasons why Gyu-kaku is great.

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July 7, 2004 pt2 – Gyukaku!

For my family’s last dinner in Japan before returning to Canada, we decided to try a yakiniku chain called Gyu-Kaku. This post is going to read a lot like an advertisement, but I don’t care. Gyu-Kaku is AWESOME.

The closest Gyu-Kaku to Hello House is just north of Mukogaokayuen station, a convenient 5-10 minute walk from Hello House. When we got inside, we instantly smelled delicious meat. The staff literally screamed “irrashaimase” at us. Gyu-Kaku is a yakiniku restaurant, which literally translates to “grilled meat”. All of the tables have a small grill in the middle. The menu, which is also available in English, showed all of the different types and cuts of meat that were available, along with salads and some other uninteresting non meat items.

We placed our first order and received small plates of sliced meat. We all took turns cooking the meat at the table using the tongs, and then dipping the cooked meat into small bowls of sauce at the table. I had eaten yakiniku once before, but this was the first time for my parents and sister. We all loved it! We ordered different types of beef, chicken, pork, and even scallops, and they were all delicious. The only thing that other people were afraid to try was the beef tongue (which was also delicious).

If you have never eaten yakiniku before – do it! It’s amazing! Gyu-Kaku is fairly easy to find and with the English menus it is foreigner friendly.

Yakiniku was a fun choice for my family’s last night in Japan. We all got to try something new, and we talked about our favourite memories of the past week and a half. Since I was trying to extend my time in Japan, this would likely be my last family meal until Christmas. I am happy it was a good one!

(2014 Update) I still try to go to Gyu-Kaku every time I return to Japan. Yum!

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December 24, 2003 – Christmas Eve

My first Christmas Eve away from home was a bit depressing. I went to work earlier than usual and had plans to go to an English language church for a Christmas service in the evening. However, by the time I got home and ate it was too late to get to the church service.

I ended up going with Marshall to a yakiniku restaurant in Shimokitazawa, not too far away from my famous solo double date. The restaurant featured all you can eat and drink for 2 hours. The restaurant was smart and only had two waiters working, which greatly slowed down the delivery of food and drink to each table. I was surprised at how loud drunk Japanese people can be when they want the waiter to come. Shouts of “summisen” got louder and more obnoxious as the time went on. The gaijins in the restaurant had to work hard to keep up.

I ate cow tongue for the first time. It was thinly sliced and delicious.

After drinking many beers and stuffing myself with grilled meat I returned home to open my Christmas presents alone. Afterwards I fell asleep in front of the TV. I miss family Christmas.

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