Yakiniku, Obihiro, Yakiniku

July 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sunday I went to Obihiro with Inoue and Keiko. We stopped by the hospital to visit a coworker who had just given birth. I held the baby, three days old, and posed for a picture while he cried. I can only assume this is a Japanese tradition. This was my first baby-holding experience and I had always thought babies were supposed to be sort of soft dumpling things, but he felt wiry, like a wound-up spring. I was amazed and a little disappointed.

For dinner we went to Birra Restaurant Gaja, a yakiniku place.

I was, of course, mainly just happy to be shoveling meat into my face. Life affords me few greater joys. We had beef, cow tongue, chicken, various cuts of pork, and ジンギスカーン (jingisukan). Jingisukan, which is a Japanization of ‘Genghis Khan’, is a lamb dish that’s really popular in Hokkaido. This was my first time trying it and it was easily the best thing there. In general the meat could have been better seasoned (the tongue didn’t really taste like anything) and the beef was a little tough, but that lamb I’d be happy to eat by the bowl.

We also had daikon salad, which was unremarkable, and bibimbap, which I love. It wasn’t spectacular here, but it was warm and filling and I was happy and full.

Inoue and Keiko told the waiter that it was my birthday so they brought this thing out, which was nice of them. The ice cream was unexceptional and the cake, which I think was supposed to be a molten chocolate cake, was overly sweet with a heavy, unpleasant slickness. There were also, weirdly, saltine crackers stuck on top. Generally I like the idea behind this combination but, well, this was just badly composed and badly executed.

Continuing with my days of excess, the next day, yesterday, we had a welcome party for the new woman in our office, a going away party for the person she’s replacing, and also there was a birthday cake for me. Everyone, for the most part, got hilariously drunk and the 18 year old who works in my office asked me to date him. We had yakiniku and there were whole prawns in their shells. I noticed afterwards that everyone else was picking the meat out but I just crunched them up, shells and all. I got a prawn eye stuck in my teeth, which is more painful than might be expected.

Afterwards I went to a yakiniku party in someone’s garage that was being held for my predecessor, who was visiting with his wife and kids. I managed to continue drinking somehow and eventually stumbled home, only to collapse on the floor with the kakuni (stewed pork belly) that Inoue had given me earlier that day. Inoue’s kakuni was beautiful, fatty, I ate all of it while sitting drunkenly on my floor.

This morning, futsuka yoi ne.


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