Tokyo part 2

December 1, 2008

Got this pic from the web

Got this pic from the web

I ducked into a yakitori shop in a back alley in Shinjuku with Kawano and Tanachai, a nondescript hole in the wall, barely standing room for 5 people, probably housing 10 as we entered.  We settled into a corner, unable to move for the next 30 mins, while smoke from grilling chicken and pork fills the room, with it the intense sweetness of animal fat.

Kawano was barely coherant, the proprietor (i think a chinese, from his slight tinge in mispronounciations) was puzzled, looked hurried.  A yakitori shop needs to be fast, quickly getting orders, shouting them back (re-affirming them), putting the skewers on the charcoal pits, constantly turning, turning, while remembering who gets what orders – Kawano was just too drunk, too goddamn slow. I was no help, I had no idea what chicken parts to get. 

And what we got, ranged from the commonplace (wings) to downright bizzare (gizzards, grilled skin), and in the spirit of tasting food as it is meant to be tasted, we asked for them lightly salted.  With beer, the best things in the world.

I will remember Kawano leaning on the wobbly bar counter as he laments, rants & advises on the current state of the Kurita business.  He taunts the management to do more, to be braver. He goads Tanachai & me, the Thai & Malaysian managers respectively, to do what we think is best, ignore the company line when we think it is right to do so.  There are many things that I can’t say I agreed with, but I came away thinking that this drunk 35 year old has a bright future ahead of him.

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