Ryoko Serving soup

It took us absolutely forever to find this tiny restaurant in Shinjuku. We were meeting an artist that had been on a residency with Paul in Banff several years ago, Yoshiagi Kiahatsu. We were not able to locate the restaurant in Google maps before leaving. The addressing system is completely different in Tokyo. Nothing is numbered according to the street, in fact, only main roads seem to have names. Each area in the city is named and broken down into districts or chomes which are then broken down into individual buildings which are numbered according to the year they were built. Number ! being the first building built in the chome. So, knowing which building was built when, helps you find what you are looking for. Good luck with that and take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Most don’t know either.

After asking several people where the restaurant was and not finding it with their indications, a kind young woman working in a bar up the street, took us in hand and left her post to walk us down the street to the bottom of the stairs that led to the restaurant on the 2nd floor. The place was packed and because we had no reservation and there was no sign of either Yoshiagi nor a reservation in his name, we went back down to the street to wait, still not sure this was in fact our meeting point.2014Ryokoservingsoup 2014Soupwithgang 2014SoupwithRyoko&Yoshiaki

Minutes later, he arrived with three other artists and we all went upstairs. The reservation was in Ryoko’s name. The food never stopped coming; it was good and very cheap. Ryoko served us all. She said that the men are not usually very thoughtful about taking care of serving the food and that it usually falls on the women to look after that. Here is Ryoko serving us all chicken nabe.