Nabana no Sato
– Enjoyable Chat with Japanese Senior
When I lived in Tokyo for nearly three years, I visited all the famous tourist spots in quick succession, but I soon felt that I might miss the essence of the megalopolis. That is when I started exploring the tiny neighborhoods around the stations of the very many train lines: mostly residential areas that sometimes turned out to have a very special atmosphere. Quite often, I got into conversations with older people – we talked about our respective lives, the olden times, the days to come… By chatting with them, I was brought back to the old days of Japan.
Today, I would like to share a very special encounter with an extremely impressive person whom I might never have met. Let us start a few decades ago…
Even during World War II, a little boy's mother somehow managed to serve his all-time favorite dish kare raisu, a Japanese style curry, but when the air raids in Tokyo worsened, he and his sister were evacuated to his grandmother´s place in Toyama Prefecture. Nearly every day he went to the train station after school, looking for the trains and longing to return to his mother.
This episode might just have turned into a childhood memory, but it resulted in a lifelong passion for trains and food.
Back in 1963, this grown-up boy opened his tiny restaurant serving curry in the style of the Showa era. Over the years, he collected train memorabilia from all over the country to decorate his restaurant. Not just a few, but heaps of them cover every place available: old maps, uniforms, station signs… The customers sit in old train compartments. The food is actually served by a model train!
Having been in business for over 50 years now, when everybody else might have thought that this would have been long enough for retirement, but love and passion are the key factors for managing his restaurant and for his incredible joie de vivre. Thanks to it, I got chance to visit this special curry restaurant, be shared and be inspired by his story.
Entranced with the special atmosphere, I looked back to my own childhood, but also started thinking about my old age as well. Receiving a "train ticket*" as a small gift for my visit, I keep it in my passport cover as a token and to remind me of the possibilities that lie ahead.
Who and what stories will you encounter in your trip to Japan?
*"Train ticket" is distributed after dining, while stock lasts.
(In formation in this article is based on writer's visit in 2012.)
Name: Matthias Adler
Current section: Administration Section, Frankfurt Office
Niagara Curry Station
11:00 to 20:00
Closed Mon & Thu (open if those days fall on a national holiday, but closed the next day)
1-21-2 Yutenji, Meguro-ku, Tokyo (Zip code: 153-0052)
(3 min from Yutenji Station on Tokyu-Toyoko Line)
Website: www.niagara-curry.com (in Japanese only)