Ajijiman Mihama Izakaya
As soon as we entered Ajijiman Mihama, a cool little izakaya we had been wanting to visit in Chatan, we saw that the restaurant was designed in traditional Japanese style, with low tables separated by hanging blinds. Although, this meant having to take off my shoes and stash them outside of our dining 'cubicle', which Tania has started taking slightly too much delight in (Ha! You have to take off your shoes in here hahaha).
Ugh, the perils of travelling through Japan with winter hiking boots for Russia.
Regardless, it was a pretty fun experience, and we straight away we started flicking through the menu to see what took our fancy. Which was a little overwhelming, I must say.
The menu. Note the cheese section.
Divided into sections - for example Okinwa, Sushi, Sashimi, Fish, etc - our initial aim of translating menu items using Google Translate didn't work as well as expected, with the translations never really reaching English. Our modus operandi then shifted to a more ad hoc approach; choose the best looking dishes from each section.
Which would have been easy, were it not for the fact that every single thing on the menu looked so damn good. Eventually we decided through a mix of methods; avoiding pork (ooh, that looks good - oh wait, it's wrapped in bacon), using the ever-reliable Select Who? app on my phone (Okay, you be the maybe-deep fried fish and I'll be the maybe-steak tartare), and using Tania's knowledge of various food-related kanji (oops, no, that's the kanji for pork belly. Oh, but I think this one's chicken!).
Attempting to translate the menu with my phone camera and Google Translate
We had finally decided, and pressed the buzzer to place our order. Unfortunately we ended up leaving a few sections untouched; namely the cheese, pasta, and salad sections (I did suggest a pepperoni pizza from the cheese section, but was rebuffed) as well as the dessert and sushi sections. Side note: I've been in Japan almost three weeks now and I still am yet to have a single piece of sushi. Perhaps that's testament to how strongly Okinawan cuisine differs from standard mainland cuisine.
After taking 20-30 minutes to decide what we were having, we sat back and prepared ourselves for the wait (apparently izakaya's are quite slow, with food meant to be ordered in courses throughout the night). Which didn't turn out to be much of a wait, as the food arrived almost 5 minutes later.
We were almost in shock ('did... did they somehow know what we were going to order in advance?'), but quickly settled into the now familiar routine of painstakingly photographing and documenting the food in front of us. Perfect role-model tourists (no instagram involved, however).
Photographing the food
We were sure this was a steak tartare from the picture. Oh well, tuna sashimi is just as delicious!
Getting in on the action myself
Ajijiman's is known for their yakitori, and they were pretty ridiculously delicious.
Chicken gizzard yakitori - not bad, but having never had gizzard before the texture was quite unexpected!
Possibly my favourite dish of the night - chicken skin yakitori. Tania was not impressed, however ("it's just fat! on a stick!")
Finishing up with some delicious fish
American Village at night
Once we had finished, we decided to go for a quick walk through the Mihama American Village, to see if it was more lively at night. Ajijiman's was actually right across the street from the American village, and the American influence leaked slightly into the izakaya - not only were pizza and french fries on the menu, but they even accepted US dollars! (Although not coins, as the sign cheerfully informed.)
Yet we were not prepared for the extant to which the American Village lived up to its name.
Upon crossing the street, everything was suddenly in English; Japanese was few and far between. That was fine though, I mean, you kind of expect it from a place known as the American Village. It was more the fact that, on this side of the road, you only heard American English being spoken, be it along the street, in shops, or even in the car park behind. We walked passed a bar and looked in, the bar chatter comprised entirely of Americans. (Mostly American servicemen, likely from Kadena Air Base we assumed, celebrating the start of the weekend.)
No sign of Japanese to be found
It was just such a surreal walk. We couldn't help but laugh at the sight of it all, as we re-entered Japan and walked back to the car.
An American flag proudly flanking a christmas tree composed of jeans, outside American Depot. Yep. Pretty much sums it up.
- May January
- Mon 29 December 2014Temples, shrines, and Irish pubs (oops)
- Sun 28 December 2014Temple run and too much sake
- Fri 26 December 2014Hiroshima
- Wed 24 December 2014Things I've noticed since coming to regular Japan
- Mon 22 December 2014Last day in Okinawa
- Mon 22 December 2014A very Okinawan Hanukkah
- Sun 21 December 2014Onna Industrial Festival
- Sun 21 December 2014Last week at OIST
- Tue 16 December 2014A surprisingly good time to go to Russia
- Mon 15 December 2014Cape Hedo and Hiji Falls
- Mon 15 December 2014Vires Acquirit Eundo
- Mon 15 December 2014Chicken skin (and other assorted delights)
- Sun 14 December 2014Bread 1.0
- Sun 14 December 2014More things I've noticed since arriving in Okinawa
- Tue 09 December 2014The Heart Attack Murder Burger
- Tue 09 December 2014Spongebob and the birthday pig
- Mon 08 December 2014Kourijima
- Mon 08 December 2014Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
- Sun 07 December 2014Americana teppanyaki
- Sun 07 December 2014Searching for yeast on a Friday night
- Mon 01 December 2014Pineapple Park
- Sun 30 November 2014Castles, pancakes, Naha and more
- Fri 28 November 2014Attempted drive to Ishikawa
- Thu 27 November 2014Walk through Tancha
- Tue 25 November 2014Things I've discovered since arriving in Okinawa
- Tue 25 November 2014Settling in at OIST
- Mon 24 November 2014Accidental business class
- Sun 23 November 2014Delayed in Hong Kong
- Sun 16 November 2014A Siberian adventure