Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bari Bari Potato (in Tokyo)

Well, I was in Tokyo again over the weekend. VAOJ readers might recall my previous difficulties in Tokyo in the past. This I was in the big city for a one day workshop on low budget filmmaking conducted by Stephen Clearly. The workshop was excellent and I plan to post an article about it in relation to ethnographic filmmaking in the near future.

Anyway, after the workshop I found myself in Shinjuku with an hour and a half to kill before I had to make my way to Tokyo Station and the bullet train back home to Osaka. I found what looked like to be a cozy little izakaya, entered and ordered some simple food and drink. One of the things I ordered was something called bari bari potato. The picture on the menu made it look delicious - sliced potatoes with cheese and spices, all for a mere 390 yen. What a received was very different: half a bag of potato chips with some cheese, salad dressing and seaweed on top. Is this the Tokyo version of chips and salsa? The lemon chu-hai I ordered had no lemon flavor at all. The yaki-tori was passable. I did pass on another of the shop's specialties: natto karage (deep fried fermented beans). At least there weren't any cockroaches. But what does it take to get some decent food in Tokyo?

I couldn't get back to Osaka soon enough. But of course this involved the rat mazes of corridors, stairs and escalators all seemingly randomly placed to transfer between various train stations. How do people in wheel chairs, crutches, canes or walking difficulties get by? While I am sure there must be something good in Tokyo (aside from workshops, film screenings and progressive deaf schools), I wish someone would educate me about them.

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