Cheap Eats!

Summer has most definitely arrived in all its hot steamy glory and so it's BBQ Season once again and here in K-Land that means Yaki-Niku!
Now like many a popular dish in Japan there is an awesome variety to choose from in terms of menu and quality in this Nation of food crazed Maniac diners but in deference to the Economic Depression (it's OK...we can call it what it is) Team Kyoto decided to seek out some of the more affordable options.

This week we discovered Jonetsu Horumon! (Passionate Meat? And keep the jokes to yourself)P1000073.JPG

Conveniently located a stones throw East of of Demachiyanagi Station on the Keihan Line (and yes...that is an exact distance calculation as I literally picked up a rock and threw it Easterly thus striking the front door of the establishment) and waiting to serve you Jonetsu has the BBQed goods for carnivores of every persuasion with a hunger for hot beef on a slim budget.

Don't be shy because the graciously young (20's) energetic Staff sure ain't!

You'll be enthusiatically greeted outside the door, inside the entrance and at your table before being bid a grateful farewell and a “Y'all come back now!” on your way out and they don't spare the smiles!

Yes J-Folks enjoy their BBQ indoors as well as out and the set-up may be a tad bit different from what most Westerners might expect (they serve, you grill) but just go with the flow and you'll find yourself on a heavenly wave of culinary delight heading for a satisfying shore.


Jonetsu is a large chain and this particular franchise only recently opened (perhaps accounting for the almost giddy service) but why look a gift horse in the mouth? (and don't forget to snag a free 10% off coupon on your way in)P1000071.JPG

Just order plenty, man the grill and get your grub on with no fear of bad news on the bill to come because there just won't be any.

Yes it's perhaps safe to say that JH isn't for bovine connoisseurs and you can likely find a higher grade of choice cow in many a finer establishment but if you're looking for a bellyfull of hot, juicy goodness and some lip-smacking, knuckle-cracking satisfaction then you need search no further.
Family, Friends, Dates or Parties, Come One, Come All 'cuz at Jonetsu they're cocked, locked and ready to rock.

And you won't have to break the bank as you bend your elbow!

Team Kyoto and I sat down to our meaty feast and dug in washing it down with Lemon Chu-Hi (try it, you'll like it) and ice cold beer (otherwise known as “a Gift from the Gods”) then ever so slowly made our exit where we received the real treat that followed dessert.

The check was a refreshing breath of economic relief and we hit the streets grinning like we stole something with cash burning a hole in our pockets, most likely you will too!


Get it while the beef is hot and the cash cold!

If you can beat that I want to know how.

And where.
posted by Billy at 16:40 | Kyoto (Japan)


Made in Japan

Oh Sundays!

They never cease to amaze me here in the land of cultural schizophrenia where girls wear skirts so short you can almost see Heaven but dare to look them in the eye and they're likely to run as if on fire, where ball and chain salarymen who wouldn't even dream of stepping out of line at the office nonchalantly knock unsuspecting females out of the way on their dash to the last seat on the train, where kindly old grannies take on the vicious delibrateness of a menacing NHLer if you happen to inadvertantly cross their path while shopping, where uptight office workers in dreadfully sober suits and ties wearing tight faces of grim death quite suddenly turn into drunken lunatic werewolves when the sun goes down along with the booze as they roam the streets in jailbreak abandon pissing on the sidewalk and growling at the police on their nightly journey to their families and televisions all the while working that keitai like a fiendish crackhead on his absolutely final hit.

J-Land. Gotta Love it!

And I can imagine no better example to display this bizzare dichotomy then the Too-Cool Gang that forms at Kyoto City Hall on any given Sunday to do their thing come Hell or high water, curious onlookers, serious shoppers, goofy skatebums, gawky tourists, hyper busybodies and societal snobs be damned.

I give you the Kyoto Lucille Rock-N-Rollers.

Only in Japan.
You very well may be thinking- They can't be serious.

Try telling them that only keep your dukes up when you say it.

Yes, like many a J-Land Citizen then and now these fanatical characters approach their vocation about as eagerly as a drowning man grabs a rubber raft in the middle of a vast lonely ocean.
I've actually witnessed these Rockabilly enthusiasts performing on numerous occasions in the past but this Sunday was the first time I decided to at last and at least attempt to strike up a conversation and perhaps gain some knowledge regarding their group identity as I hopefully approached rapport.

The conversation part? Pretty much hit-n-miss. They hit. Me miss.

The rapport? No dice!

At first contact, however, I did immediately gain some valuable insight into a collective mentality that definitely sets them widely apart from the majority of their countryman's countless social clubs, hobbyists or lifestyle fetishists.

While they certainly go to extraordinary lengths to present and maintain their unique aesthetic (just try walking into a Japanese 9-5er with a giant greased back pompadour sometime and see how well it goes over with the Boss) and make no secret nor display any shame as they energetically pursue their passion unlike most public performers the Lucillers devoutly displayed an absolutely hardcore disdain for any unwanted attention that may happen to inadvertantly float their way, treating the crowds that scurried past them as if they were ants at a raucous Lucille Rock-n-Rolling picnic as they boogied, strutted, struck poses, smoked squares and pounded beers while the Law kept a watchful eye (and safe distance) on them.

When I approached the guy I assumed to be one of their Senior Leaders his initial response to my very polite query could not have been more clear- He half snarled a “Not now....busy workin' it'” at me and waved me away with an imperious backhanded dismissal. After some persistence on my part he did allow me, however, to bust out my camera and after I hung out a bit I caught him when everyone was kicking back and polishing their Cool as they polished off the beers and he finally deigned to answer a few quick questions as he saw fit.

Name? Wrong question.

What do you do for a living? Next.

Is the group name Black Shadows? No, those guys are just visiting from Harajuku in Tokyo. We're the Kyoto Lucille Rock-n-Rollers.

How long you all been around? 30 years and going strong. (indeed the Next Generation was patiently waiting their turn on the sidelines)

Here every Sunday? If the weather's good.

Sensing I was losing him and chilled by the universally frosty stares of his gang I then gave up on the interview and bowed humbly while offering him my most sincere thanks.

He stood tall and shot me a crooked grimace that said- “Cut the act roundeye before me and my Crew dance on the back of your head.”

I felt right at Home.


Forever Lucille!

posted by Billy at 18:34 | Kyoto (Japan)


Shinkansen Sushi!

Of course by now most of the entire planet has heard of, seen or actually tasted Japan's perhaps most popular contribution to the Wide World of Fast Food- Revolving Sushi!- but have you experienced this unique little update in its delivery system?

Yes Train Buffs, Model Maniacs, Sushi Lovers and Children of All Ages can now gleefully wait for their personal orders to arrive by Shinkansen. Express!

Team Kyoto stopped in recently to load up on fresh fish fuel and we were so universally delighted with and mezmerized by the recent advances made over at Kappa Sushi (located at the intersection of Sanjo/Kawaramachi and difficult to miss) that we went a bit crazy and gorged as we eagerly kept our eyes peeled for our Express Orders.
It's a very simple system and all one has to do is operate the easy-to-use touch screen pictured here
to place a special order then wait for your grub to zip directly to your table as if by some techno-magical minor miracle.

Big Fun and Good Eats!

A Word to the Wise- Kappa Sushi is not fine dining. I suspect most everyone visits (and when I say most everyone I mean it as you're very liable to see old folks, teenagers, families, couples on dates, J-natives and numerous foreigners alike digging in) to get their grub on and chow down on the decent and decently fresh sushi and sundries then hit the door with a bellyful of protein and a bill that harms no budgets (one plate=2 pcs sushi=\110).
So if you want high quality sushi, romantic atmosphere or you wish to impress your guests, go somewhere else!

If you want to eat hearty and healthy, witness smiles of universal contentment and enjoy the continuous delight of any shorties travelling in your party then come on down.

The apres sushi carnage.

J-folks do it right!
posted by Billy at 12:24 | Kyoto (Japan)




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