Well after a long day we decided to hit Shinjuku for the evening. Find a renound tempura restaurant, the go through Kabukicho, the lively, electric, and also some what seedy area that is full of life and contradictions.
First of all we found the restaurant, Tsunahachi, which has now been open for more than 80 years and has a constant queue outside just to get to the waiting area within. The menu is small, plus there are three set menus. Pak went for the middle one, I went for the more expensive top one. The main difference was I had a fresh prawn and a fresh scallop to his two frozen prawns.
Just like in Hiroshima three years back I got to watch the fresh prawn having it’s head snapped off and it’s mandables and antenae carry on moving for a good 30 seconds after. The expression on the girl by the prep area was worth it’s weight in gold. Not an option for the squeemish. Like the previous time the head was also tempura’ed and again was rather nice, light in flavour and crunchy. The scallop was also fresh, having it’s guts knifed out by the skilled chef in front of us, and we even got to see our eel being truly fresh as a living, squiriming creature was spiked to a chopping board, half filleted, gutted, then beheaded. All while still alive. The food was exceptional nd you can understand why this place is an institution, making all the travel guides recommended list for quite few previous issues, while being a firm favourate with the locals.
Post this we crossed over in to the electic lights that is the main street, then Kabukicho. This is where all the girlie and host bars, plus hookers and love hotels are, but also where most the restaurants reside, along with respectable hotels. It’s an odd mix. Things are different now though. Three years ago it was rare the gaijin to be approached over the girlie bars, this evening we must have been approached a good 6 to 8 times.
We actually walked further than we meant to (on trying to get to the cinema area at the centre) and prompty found ourselves by the hotel myself and Dave stayed at the previous time I was here. On the way back to the station we stumbled across the famous piss alley (where there are alot of drinking haunts in a narrow alley that presumably has not smelt of urine since the 1950s.
We’ve now got back to the area of our hotel (the last train from Shinjuku is at 00:22) to find no where open, so time to see if I cna upload some photoes, then bed for me as all the walking ahs knackered me.