Thursday, January 9, 2014

Will Miss #44 - Akiyoshi yakitori-ya (reflection)

Sticks served on a stainless steel rim around the food preparation area at Akiyoshi.

One of the things that I mentioned to my husband about living in California was that it was not a happy place for me because I had no good memories associated with being here. In fact, I only had bad memories connected to it as the 10 months that I lived here from the summer of 1988 to the late spring of 1989 were not happy ones. He grew up where we are living now, so he at least has some sense of nostalgia and sentiment connected to the location. That being said, during our 23-year absence, the area he grew up in changed a great deal so even he doesn't have a lot of fond connections for particular places.

There is a lot to be said for places at which you've built memories by frequenting them. Akiyoshi was one of the first places in Tokyo that became familiar to me, both in terms of the food and the atmosphere. There were three locations in range of our apartment or our workplaces - Nakano, Ogikubo, and Ikebukuro. We used to hit the one in Nakano 2-3 times a month during our first year or two and the one in Ogikubo became our once a month visit during our last year. In fact, we had our last meal in Japan at the Ogikubo branch of Akyoshi.

I have so many memories of Akiyoshi and they are all quite good. It's a place which not only had good food, but a convivial atmosphere and a menu any foreigner could find tasty dishes on. I truly miss Akiyoshi and probably will for the rest of my life. 


  1. Just out of curiosity, did Akiyoshi serve only chicken, or did they serve other kinds of meat on skewers? Up here yakitori-ya sell quite a bit of pork on skewers too, so I'm curious about what a Tokyo yakitori-ya sells.

    1. They served a variety of food on skewers and some otherwise. There was beef, pork, and chicken as well as some vegetable items (grilled shishito was one of my favorites). They also had great yakionigiri and the best akadashi (miso soup) ever. My husband would sometimes get their cabbage or "fried potato" (French fries) as a side. It was so good that I'm making myself hungry now at 10:45 am! ;-)

    2. It does sound good, even in the middle of the night :-)

  2. Good food in the context of good company makes for wonderful memories! There was a small tonkatsu shop in the Ginza many years ago that my wife and I used to frequent pretty regularly. We'd meet there on the way home from our jobs, have a great meal and visit about our respective day at work, and then go home for a nice bath in the o-furo, etc. Sadly, but understandably, the shop was not there a few years later when we were back in Tokyo for a family visit, etc


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