Source: Visual Anthropology of Japan
My Tachinomiya research has been greatly influenced by Yoshida Rui and especially his Sakaba Hourouki TV show on the TBS networks. Yoshida calls himself a 「酒場ライタ」 or “Tavern writer.” In a typical 15 minute show he starts out at an easily accessible train station, explores local landmarks and/or rare shops in the area before arriving at an izakaya or “traditional Japanese pub.” Here he drinks, eats, interacts with the owner of the shop and regular customers, typically getting a little drunk in the process. While Japanese TV is full of food shows, Yoshida’s approach is interesting/entertaining and real. He then leaves the izakaya with some final comments and then presents a haiku about his adventures that day. Remember, this is all in a 15 minute show. He’s been doing it since 2003 and he is still popular. I have called his approach ethnographic, in the spirit of autoethnography and Gonzo Anthropology.
So, before my recent trip to Tokyo I researched the records of all the izakaya that Yoshida has visited in Tokyo. I have never had any luck finding a good place (in terms of good food, good drink, friendly atmosphere) in Tokyo as opposed to my many successes in Osaka. I remembered one episode in particular about a shop called Daruma in Monzen-Nakacho. It was featured on episode #226 first aired on December 3, 2007. It seemed to meet all of my criteria so I went to check it out.
And it was great! All that I wanted! Everyone was very nice and friendly. Lots of regulars were there. The place was packed on an early Monday evening. It was like a big family.