One of the things I would really, really want to spread around Japan is English menus. Probably any of us, foreign residents of Japan, has had our own funny or sad experience with some otherwise wonderful place, where she or he desperately needed some explanation about the menu, but it was impossible to receive it.
When I first came to Japan, I already could communicate and understood kanji used in everyday life, but once I visited soba-ya, which menu I didn’t understand - it was all written in beautiful, but totally unrecognizable kanji. My friend who doesn’t speak Japanese at all wanted to visit one particular ramen-ya in Tokyo. She found the word ramen in Japanese and wrote it down in her notebook, but she had another sad surprise - the prices were written in kanji, too.
It’s not like Japan is much different from other countries. In my own country, if you visit some local sweets shop, or a nice, country-style eat-in, you will have the same problem. I like places where everything is written in kanji, because they are very local, traditional, and even some struggle with understanding the menu adds to the unforgettable feeling of exploring something new.
Nevertheless, a traditional place equipped with English menu is something worth noticing. In fact, Ichiban-goro is worth noticing even without an English menu.
Situated right at the entrance of incredible Iroha-yokocho, this Japanese-style bar offers delicious miso-ramen and unique Aoba-gyoza - juicy meat dumplings. You will probably be surprised by their color - yes, these gyoza are green like Chozenji-doori trees in spring. It is because of yukina - Sendai’s famous green vegetable, so these gyoza are a 100% Sendai product - you won’t find something like this elsewhere.
In the evening you can take your friends and have a glass of beer, enjoying the atmosphere of a real Japanese izakaya, the taste of different types of gyoza and, of course, a good conversation in a good company. English menu will help everyone of you to make a perfect choice without constantly asking someone who knows Japanese - “Is this what I think it is? Or am I wrong again?” And one nice evening in a nice place makes a perfect memory, if you ask me.
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