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Friday, November 24, 2017

Shimokitazawa Sendaiya Tofu Restaurant

Shimokitazawa ("Shimokita" for short) is a fascinating little enclave in western Tokyo of stores, restaurants, cafes, theaters and live music clubs. We were there on the weekend to make a video for the Shimokitazawa guide page on JapanVisitor.com.

We started filming about 11am. The weather was perfect, and the streets were buzzing. But making movies can get quite tiring: avoiding getting in the way of flow of people, trying to think on your feet and sound and look good on camera, working out where you are and where you're going, keeping a keen eye out for shooting opportunities, and, last but not least, trying to be inconspicuous. Stores in Japan, in particular, are very jealous of their image and seek to control every last thing about it, and strangers bowling up with cameras generally fill them with dread.

So by 1pm we were already a bit tired and hungry. I wanted to go to a Hokkaido soup curry place  called Rojiura Curry Samurai Shimokitazawa that I included on the Shimokitazawa dining page that I recently created, but my partner was taken by a tofu restaurant, so we checked it out.

Sendaiya was small, friendly and cosy. It looks like it started life as a regular tofu store, and then added a few tables and chairs and started serving tofu-based meals. Asking the proprietor, we found out that it is actually based in Yamanashi prefecture, and has a couple of branches in Tokyo, the other being in Ikejiri.

We both went for the salmon, natto, and tofu set. It arrived pretty quickly, although there was a hiccup in that although the waitress had gotten our order right, the kitchen hadn't, and we were missing the salmon. It turned up promptly with an apology after we said something, and we enjoyed a hearty meal - thanks partly to the rice and natto being tabehodai (all-you-can-eat).

As we were paying, we ordered a couple of the tofu donuts they had in the glass case under the counter. They even got that wrong - giving us a vegetable flavored one instead of the pumpkin one we clearly ordered. However, it wasn't a big deal, it tasted great, and cheerful, friendly service is more important than dotting i's and crossing t's.

See the Sendaiya website

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