Monday, October 16, 2006


On the way to the Nakaochiai gallery in Shinjuku-ku, where we were to meet up with Chris and D., both vegans, we stopped in Ikejiri Ohashi to check out the rumored vegan bento place.
After walking up and down 246 for a few minutes, trying to find it, we finally hit the jackpot only steps from the north exit of the subway. Haotsu-ya is a Taiwanese take-out joint, offering excellent, large, and cheap bentos, vegan style! They have a variety of fake meat-ish dishes, like gluten, seitan, and tofu; and also, my favorite, they have both gyoza and spring rolls. Hallelujah! The fu-manchu sported by the old man working is a definite bonus. As was the (admittedly surly) monk who came in to get food just after I. did - a very good sign. Yummy yummy bentos. I never get to eat them, at least not the store-bought kind.

Chris's work was great, the gallery a really interesting space and very crowded. Both C. and D. loved their food, and I learned a great new expression. D's friend, a girl who lives outside of Tokyo, had a special name for her place of residence: DaSaitama. Saitama, she explained, is decidedly uncool, always striving to be like Tokyo, but never really making the cut. Dasai means uncool, unsophisticated. I told her that I also lived in the borderlands, but she begged to differ. Yokohama, she explained, has its own style. It's content in being itself. Not so Saitama. Thus ださいたま。

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