Can't you see us in the back? 'Billy' and the 'TokyoOctopus' joined me Saturday evening at Yona Yona Beer Kitchen in Akasaka Mitsuke. We went for another drink (well, they may have stayed longer for more) at friends of 'Billy's in Ebisu. It's a low-key but comfortable place. 'Billy', comment here with that information and I'll include it, if you like.
A more complete review is here, but I'll add a few reasons I won't make an effort to return. Some of these reasons are my own and some are agreements with 'Billy', so don't blame him for the reasons you don't agree with, or give me all the credit for ones you do.
I live on the rougher, aged, shabbier, east side of the city, so when I go to Akasaka or the like it feels shiny, though I'm happy for the eye-candy decades younger than myself. The pub fits the location, and whether it's fake in some way or just hasn't had time to develop a patina, it's a bleached-wood warehouse for professionals to consume beer that you could find in any modern city or airport in the world. 'There's no there, there.'
The food was all very salty. I mean fuck, I live in Japan so have some tolerance for salt, but it was salty. Japan is so salty that I use none when I cook but can still taste the salt salting it from my saliva. This was saltier. Also greasy. I am aware that it is in Japan, an izakaya, and salt makes people drink more, but it was saltier and greasier than that. Apart from this caveat, the food was fine: if you are on any kind of salt or fat reduced diet you'll die.
The beer was as good as Yona Yona beer is: every beer tasted like the keg was fresh, unlike some Yona Yona I have had elsewhere. 'Billy' was less than happy with prices for the beer, and since they serve their own he is likely right. With two kids I get out so little it hardly matters. They do have their two 'real ales' on tap,* but I can't say I paid enough attention to the one I had, except it was good. The fundamental flaw with craft beer bars is that after two pints you could drink swill for all the taste left in your palate. I should have gone for their beer sampler platter if I'd thought to do it.
The bloggersIt was nice to have some join me, and put faces to online identities. We even shared our real names, which I won't, of course. Too bad a few of the others couldn't join us, but then again I wasn't up for drinking up to the reputation of 'Mr. Salaryman', nor could 'kamo' make it in from whatever innaka he calls home. It was only 'Billy', the 'TokyoOctopus' and myself. We were later graced with the loveliness of 'Billy's partner, where we met fine friends of his who own a bar.
The bloggers blogs speak for them better than I can after meeting for a few hours, and I expect the same is true for mine. The type of person who keeps at writing a blog and with whom you have regular online communication with in comments sections is someone you should get on with, and I am glad to say I did. 'Billy' kept us talking, and I appreciated him for doing it. I have a bad habit of being too interested in what I want to talk about, so I'm very happy someone else took the role of facilitator because they're likely to do it better. He did. 'TokyoOctopus' has if not a quieter personality than 'Billy' or I, in general a less talkative one.
That is the end of my thumb nail sketch, as poor as it is. I hope to meet them again before I leave this summer, and I'd be happy to meet more of you. An ideal place would be at 'Billy's bar, which opens in a few months, but I'll leave that up to him. No, I do not know precisely where it will be.
*Bottom two beers on the pdf.