All posts by dragonlife

Robert-Gilles Martineau hails from Bourgogne/Burgundy, France and presently resides in Shizuoka/Japan

Izakaya: Take Chan no Daidokoro

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sake, shochu and sushi

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Take Chan No Daikoro might have opened in Shizuoka City only two years ago, but you will need to reserve your seats if you are than two of you!
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Why? (silly question, if there was any!)
Because the food is great and very reasonable, they have plenty of local sake, their fish in particular is local whenever possible and service is attentive and easy-going.
I visited the place more on a hunch than anything else last Friday and was glad to notice the following local sake:
Isojiman Hojozo (Yaizu City), Kaiun Honjozo (Kakegawa City), Shosetsu honjozo & Junmai (Shimizu Ku), Shidaizumi Ginjo (Fujieda City), Chumasa Honjozo (Shizuoka City) and Hana No mai Honjozo & Junmai(Hamamatsu City) !
Of course they have shochu, Beer, Awamori and so on!
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I first ordered “kinme”, a fish caught off Izu Peninsula. A beautiful soft sashimi!
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I could not help notice the beef sashimi on the menu for a mere 720 yen, and my carnivorous instincts took over. And I did well to listen to them. So sweet and tender!
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As I needed some more food with the sake I was drinking so fast, I asked the “oyakata/chef” to recommend me a grilled fish. He advised to try “kuromutsu”.
It came cooked to perfection. The flesh came off so easily off the bones and was so soft and juicy!
I had the good fortune to come early as by the moment I was going to take my leave, it was absolutely packed and had all the six staff running!. I also discovered a few pairs of ladies obviously enjoying themselves.
I will have to come again to check the rest of the menu, but the sashimi sets seemed very reasonably priced and the kushiyaki yummy. Parties are possible but you had better reserve a good week in advance!

Take Chan No Daidokoro
420-0024 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Naka Cho, 22, Saitouya Bldg
Tel. & fax: 054-2215065
Business hours: 11:30~13:30 (Tuesdays ~Saturdays), 17:00~23:00
Closed on Sundays.

Credit Cards OK

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Umeshu Season!

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This is Umeshu making season in Shizuoka!

I decided to make my own, even if I am breaking all the rules!

Here how I proceeded in the secrecy of my office (even my better-worse half does not know about it!):

Bought 1 kg of green “ume” (Japanese plums) from a local grocery, 1kg of “koorizato” (“Ice sugar”) at Tomitaya Saketen.
To which I added in the most extravaganta manner:

1 bottle (720ml) of Kumpai Meguriai Honjyozo (Kumpai Brewery/Shizuoka City)

1 bottle (720ml) of Sugii Shodai Saisuke Kome/Rice shochu.

I cleaned the ume/plums, dropped them in jar especially conceived for home-made shochu, added all the sugar and poured in the above two bottles.


I closed it tight, marked the date on the lid, put in a cool area away from the light and will wait until next winter!

Blueberries Season

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sake, shochu and sushi

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Blueberries are already being harvested in Sena farms, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City!
For example, Mr. Tsutomu Fujimaki (57) who has been growing the fruit for the last 7 years has started picking 20 varieties of blueberries from no less than 600 plantings.
The ripe fruit reach as much as 1cm diameter.
Apart of the best items found fresh on your tables, a lot will go to make succulent jams.
Some gourmets even preserve in shochu or sake!
Some fine samples can be bought at the Shizuoka JA direct agricultural products sale shop in Shizuoka City.

Izakaya: Yukichi

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The city of Fujieda have seen a lot of changes these past years with more people coming to live there due to the crowding of nearby Shizuoka City. The old JR Station has disappeared to be replaced by a whole urban complex around both exits. It means that the city has more or less become the “bedtown” of Shizuoka City. It is not all negative as it has encouraged businesses, especially in the restaurateur’ field, to set shop for the benefit of returning workers and company employees.
And some of them are definitely worth visiting.

So, Patrick of Think Twice met me last Friday at Fujieda Station and we went to Yukichi I had a checked an hour before.

Yukichi is an izakaya of a better standard opened in 2005 and it is extremely popular. We were very lucky to get our seats as most were already reserved! Most customers are in their early 30’s.
Now as a general rule, one should patronize only izakaya who serve local sake/jizake. We were not disappointed: Yukichi has some great ones on hand from Aoshima Brewery/Kikuyoi (Fujieda City) and Hatsukame (Okabe Cho)!
I also always make a point to order a chef’s sashimi set recommendation.
The one we were served (see pic above) included not only great fish but succulent chicken sashimi. An acquired taste for some I must agree, but such an unusual combination.

Now, the fact that especially makes you want to come back to Yukichi is that the Lady in charge, Ms. Yoko Naruoka will come to show you a tray with the fresh fish of the day for you to choose from before the “banchyo/chef”, Mr. Masaki Kobayashi prepares your choice either as sashimi or cooked fish as you wish. We opted for “kisu tempura” and “maguro no kama yaki”!

As we had planned to visit another place later, we limited ourselves to a glass of each sake cited above with an extra serving of “tamago yaki” and took our leave with the promise to come back very soon!

Yukichi
Fujieda City, Ekimae, 1-7-21, taiko Bldg. 1F
Tel.: 054-6469494
Business hours: 17:00~24:00
Closed on Sundays and every second Monday

Agricultural products: Biwa/Loquat

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The Loquat season has reached us in Shizuoka Prefecture at last!
Called “Biwa” in Japanese, it is considered as a fairly expensive delicacy as the beginning. Fruit sold at stores are carefully chosen. The bigger, the better it seems.
The most noted growers are located in Okitsu where 20 of them have formed the Okitsu Biwa Association. They particularly sweet and juicy.

Whenever I can, I pick the small ones you can find almost everywhere and either make sorbet of “biwa shu” (preserved in Shochu and sugar).

Today’s “bento”/boxed lunch

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On Mondays, as I’m too busy to come back home for lunch, my better (worse?) half usually prepares a boxed lunch, or “bento”, in various guises.

This time, it was all very Japanese:
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As for staples, she made “shirogoma to tobiko tsuke shyouga nigiri” (balls of rice steamed with fresh ginger topeed with white seame seeds and flying fish roe), “tamafoyaki” (Japanese omelette) and pickled fresh ginger roots.

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As for garnish, she fried asparaguses inside bacon to go with French pickles, fresh mini tomatoes, golden kiwi fruit, lettuce and processed cheese.

All this with avegetable juice pack.
Cannot complain, can I?

Marine products: the bright side and the dark side

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The bright side:
“Taka Ashi Gani” (“Tall Leg Crab”), the largest crab in the world found in Suruga Bay, notably off the northwestern part of Izu peninsula has significantly in numbers in recent years.
Fishermen realized they were catching to many young specimen in the deep sea nets. They decided to preserve the caught crabs and with the help of Heda Marine Association taught local children about the importance to preserve marine resources and replenish existing stocks when they show the crabs to the kids every year before releasing them back to depths of 500 metres about one kilometre off Heda Harbour.

The dark side:
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Poachers have increasingly caught “uni” (sea urchins) and “namko” (Sea slug/beche de mer) and the Japanese had to take drastic measures with boat confiscations, heavy fines (between 100,000 yen and 2,000,000 yen) and even prison sentences.
Sea urchins will find high prices on the Japanese markets while China and Hong Kong have an unquenchable craving for sea slugs.
Both command higher and higher prices, due to the decreasing catches and measures to preserve stocks.
As an indication, illegal poaching cases increased from over 900 in 2002 to more than 1,200 in 2004 and still on the way up!
On the other hand the legal export of sea slugs has increased by 43.5 % from 2004 to 2005 to reach 7,900,000,000 yen in sales of which China’s share amounts to 520,000,000 yen, an increase of 60% in one single year.
The total illegal catch was 32 tonnes last year in Hokkaido.