For a country obsessed with rules and regulations, Japan is oddly relaxed when it comes to hygiene standards — or at least it is in regards the capital’s countless, and wonderfully comfortable, little bars and eateries. Places where cooking areas often seem as old as the septuagenarians using them, and buckets even make do as a bathrooms. And yet even those elements could arguably be deemed as minor concerns when compared to this lamp. A device that is now almost more artefact than implement.
I hope that’s an alien monster’s tentacle looking for dinner and not actually a grungy lamp.
Haha, a tough choice either way!
That is truly astonishing.
It’s a bit special, isn’t it? Heaven knows how many years it has taken to get like that…
At least they have pride in it, judging by the photo on the shelf.
This raises questions for me, such as who gets to change the bulb? And, was it the inspiration for any Godzilla genre movies?
Yeah, I like the picture on the shelf. So many Tokyo restaurants have photos of minor so-called TV talents who have visited, but for them the lamp is more famous. Got more talent than most too.
As for changing the bulb, no doubt a job given to one of the staff newbies. A rite of passage of sorts perhaps.
Classic. Did you notice any of the gunk dripping onto the food, or was it fairly solid?
Seems pretty solid to be honest, but I’m not sure I’d want to be eating underneath it…
Hans ter Horst says
Wow, it looks like it is dripping into people’s food, I guess the lamp counts as one of the condiments 🙂
I’ve seen dirty restaurants in Japan, but this beats all!
Haha, maybe! Will it be sauce, salt or gunk from the lamp?
But yeah, it’s a bit special, isn’t it? Well, more than bit special.
Is that a painting of that lamp in the background there? “This is how our lamp looked like before evolving into a food monster from hell”
It is, yeah. Almost like a picture of its birth…
I see it has changed very little since I was there… http://www.desenfocado.com/2008/09/23/desatino-de-pollo/ 😉
Tokyo changes so much, and yet in many ways changes so little.
Well, there is some soothing in those unchanged places 😉
There most definitely is. They are the places I like the most. No doubt about it.
If I have the chance to go back to Tokyo, It’d be great to have a beer with you at one of them 😉
Definitely. Always up for a beer or two.
Looks like a prop from a horror movie. Wonder if it “molts” when all that grease and dust warm up enough? About as charming as a fry cook smoking over the grill.
I agree it looks like a movie prop. The uniformity of the color is a give away in this regard.
Quite possibly. Will probably be hot enough at the end of the evening…
Ah, interesting. Hadn’t even considered it not being real. Will have to examine it closer next time I’m there.
This is both horrendous and incredible. I am confused!
That’s a very understandable reaction!
These oishiii things just keep getting more beautifully complex…
They do indeed. And hopefully will continue to do.
I just saw this place on an NHK English TV show. The proprietor said the lamp had been there for 60 years. Looked quite real in closeup, by the way (with authentic little dangly bits at risk of falling off into the food).
Cheers for the info, Linda. Very good to know. I reckon we can safely say it’s the real deal then.
And 60 years…? That certainly explains the amount of grime!
I’ve just (June 2015) seen this place featured on the NHK World Japanology Plus program. I recognised it immediately from your photo. The host spent a while in here and we got several good shots of the lamp, though it was never actually mentioned. One shot showed the sound man’s furry microphone-on-a-stick perilously close to the oozing shade 🙂
I also now know where to find it – so when I can get back to Tokyo, I’ll be dragging my wife here on the promise of a slap up meal of grilled eel on a stick.
Annoying thing is we must have walked within 50 yards of it a couple of times.
Good to hear you know where it is now. The opening hours seem a bit irregular, but hopefully you’ll get your eel and a beer.
Thank goodness the lamp wasn’t hit by the mic. A potential disaster narrowly avoided!
Hi Lee —
I went to that eatery when I visited Tokyo this past May. The lamp’s position had been moved and it looked a bit cleaner. Also, the old fella wasn’t around. I hate to say it but I fear that he may have passed away rather than just plain retired. On a positive note, the younger crew there really seem like a nice, friendly lot — and the food really was wonderful. All in all, it may well be my favorite meal of the trip!
Excellent. Wonderful write up too. Glad it meant and even surpassed your expectations.
Happy to say I passed by fairly recently and the old fella was back in his usual position. So all is well with the world!
Hi again Lee —
Thanks for reading my blog post and I’m so glad to hear that the old fella is still alive! Hopefully he’ll be around when I next visit the place — definitely plan to go again on my next trip to Tokyo! 🙂
Not at all. I thoroughly enjoyed your write-up. Really nice to hear how much you enjoyed it.
I can always check for you beforehand. I pass by there regularly. But I’m confident he’ll still be behind the counter!