Friday, 29 June 2012

Train Station Food

In Canada I would shudder at the concept of taking someone out for dinner at an airport or other public transportation hub. In Japan we have been treated to first class meals in a train station environment. One prime example occurred in Osaka, a city that prides itself on its cuisine. Due to the stimulating influence of commuter traffic frequently some of the best shopping and food is available near train stations.
On one of our recent trips to Tokyo we decided to have lunch in a small restaurant at Ueno train station. At first glance it appeared to be busy and full, but the short line up at the ordering counter appeared to be progressing so we entered and had our orders taken promptly while the host efficiently reserved a couple of spots for us. I tend to be a very slow eater, enjoying every slurp of my noodles. Meanwhile I analyzed the situation around us and realized that I was cutting into their profit margins. Most people ordered promptly and ate quickly and then left leaving room for the next clients. It appeared to be a ten minute turn around time.
At Kanda train station we sat in a restaurant and I observed many "salary men" in dark pants and white shirts and ties going for lunch. They would enter small narrow restaurants in small groups sitting in a row at a counter most likely eating (slurping) noodles such as udon, soba or ramen. I suspect that if I had entered one of these places five minutes prior to the working crowd I would have inconvenienced someone.
Restaurant owners in Japan obviously pride themselves on serving delicious meals. We seldom encounter so so (ma ma) food and if we do it tends to be a larger family type restaurant.
And did I mention the pasta Viking (buffet) place our nephew Naoki took us to in Ome last weekend. I ate much tooooo much. You had to be careful not to get run over especially when announcements were made regarding the latest dish that had just come out. Oishi (delicious)!

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