Hanshin Tigers Izakaya



For a while now, my parents have been telling me about an episode of "No Reservations" with Anthony Bourdain that took place in Osaka. It took me a long time to find it, but I finally did and of course he went to some amazing places in town. The annoying part is that the show gave no indication of where the places are in the city and because of the editing, it is completely impossible to figure it out.

As a bit of setup, Japan doesn't have street names for the most part. Larger streets will have names, especially those following train lines, but that's about it. The way addresses work is sort of like on Google maps where you start far out and focus in. As an example my address in Japan goes:
Osaka-fu (Prefecture)
Osaka-shi (City)
Chuo-ku (Ward)
Kozu 2(Neighborhood)
3 (Block)
15 (Building)

As you can imagine, unless you have a map and an address or at least some landmarks, it is nearly impossible to find a place.

Anyway, on the show there was an izakaya (bar/restaurant) where Hanshin Tigers fans got together to watch the game and eat sushi. I was able to find the place through a tourist info place. The place ended up being in Tennoji, my old neighborhood (though in the show it looked as if it were in Shinsaibashi, 4 train stops away from the actual location.) Adrian, Steve, Nadja and I went on Sunday, and it was fantastic. It was the best sushi I've ever had in my life. Of course the sushi was a bit awkward.

As you can see in the video, there was a live fish in the case in front of us. The thing about that is that if you look closely you'll see that the bottom half of the fish has no meat on it. That's because we ate it. The fish was flopping in front of us the whole time. It was delicious, but very strange.

The Tigers ended up winning the game, which meant that after the game beer was 100 yen ($1)! And to top it off, throughout the night the chefs and waitresses took quite a shine to us (likely because we were eating and drinking far more than any Japanese people could.) The chef who loved us the most was (I think) named Yuzu. He was a great tiny little man. I hope his name really is Yuzu, because that would be funny. A yuzu is a grapefruit/orange hybrid fruit here in Japan. Anyway, Yuzu ended up giving us some free sho-chu (delicious (because is was expensive) Japanese alcohol) and ice cream.

It's probably for the best that we didn't know that this place existed when we lived in Tennoji, because we likely would have spent all of our time and money there.