Monthly Archives: April 2015

Understanding the Japanese Izakaya

Neighborhood izakaya (photo by Fabian Reus)

Neighborhood izakaya (photo by Fabian Reus)

Japanese cuisine first went global when sushi shops spread throughout the urban dining landscape. Today, ramen shops are rapidly taking over the restaurant scene of large cities across the world. The next big thing to come out of Japan is the izakaya. Izakaya is spelled 居酒屋 in Japanese which translates to sake shop where you can settle yourself. The first izakayas were nothing more than extensions to sake shop where people could sit down and drink the sake they had purchased. As drinking always involves some eating in Japan, these places soon became as renowned for their food rather than their drinks. Izakayas or aka chochinas they are sometimes referred to by the red lantern that hang outside the entrance, are an ubiquitous part of Japanese culture that needs to be understood in its Japanese context.

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