I technically began this food blog when I arrived in Utsunomiya, Japan–a city known for pot stickers (gyoza) and cocktail bars–for work in mid-2015, and am finally starting up a formal site for it. Here is how it came about:
I’ve just rounded out my second week in Japan, and I’ll tell you: I feel weird. Our language needs a word for déjà vu that applies for locations, not just time, because that’s what I’m feeling. I know I’m in Japan. I’m using Japanese everyday. But I feel like I’m back in Taipei. The driving (of both cars and bicycles and let’s add in the walking of pedestrians because it’s true) is terrible and sporadic. Cars are parked on the sidewalk. It’s okay clean, but not clean at the same time; it’s a very gray city. Mom and pop venders are everywhere, and I can’t even tell what they’re selling half the time. There is nothing but crazy, winding alleys linking all sorts of major roads. Women cover their necks and arms with cloth underneath parasols so they don’t get tan in the 95-degree heat. The rare trees and other beings of nature are surrounded by concrete, to the extent that they might not even be there at all. And there’s this massive, pulsing energy to everything.
One of the things that strikes you immediately in Utsunomiya is the plethora of trendy watering holes in its worn streets—you can’t go by one block without seeing “wine,” “bar,” “izakaya,” “club,” “café,” “tei,” “cocktails,” or “pub”—or any combination of those+. For some reason, history has made Utsunomiya the hub for jazz and cocktails. Indeed, I’ve found 3 groups of people living here: the underage, the elderly, and the fashionable. The trendy spots go to the extent that you can’t choose where to go, and so you don’t go anywhere at all. It’s the epitome of a first world problem.
Considering I had been teased since my high school years for taking so many pictures of both food and people eating food, I figured this would be an excellent start to an official food blog. And also considering my deep love for puns, I bringeth to you my Utsunomiya food diary: Eatsunomiya. (I had originally thought of naming it Utsunomeats—for Utsunomiya+eats—but realized that not to be too vegetable/fruit/grain/lentil/any-non-meat-friendly sounding.
So here, we begin.