Japan’s tastiest greasy spoon chain

“Greasy Spoon” is perhaps an exaggeration for some of these places listed in this goo Ranking survey into Japan’s tastiest set meal chain restaurants.

The basic features of a set meal in Japan is usually one main meat dish like pork cutlet or boiled beef, with rice, miso soup and pickles, and maybe a small salad or other side dish, all often for under 1,000 yen. Here’s a sample from the rather nice (but over 1,000 yen) Obon no Gohan chain:

鮭魚排蜂蜜生薑燒, 御盤de食堂, おぼんdeごはん, 微風松高, 台北

Number 2, Ootoya is just about my favourite price/performance-wise on the list, and is far from the greasy spoon I in the title. Last time I was there I had a very quiet and relaxed time with basil grilled chicken on a large salad bed plus the above side dishes and self-service soft drinks, posh tea bags and freshly-brewed coffee for just over 1,000 yen.

On the other hand, places like Sukiya, Yoshinoya and Matsuya are rapid gob-stuffing pit stops (convince me otherwise!) that as someone very sensitive to chewing and slurping noises quite frankly scare me!

What’s your favourite chain?

Japan’s favourite conveyor belt sushi chain

Whenever (if ever…) tourism opens back up again, one must-visit place for many foreigners is a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant, so this survey from goo Ranking into Japan’s most favourite conveyor-belt sushi chain may be useful for ideas of where to go. This video might also give you tips on how to behave whilst there:

Note that in Japanese, the “conveyor belt” part of the name is pronunced as “kaiten” (or sometimes “mawashi” or “mawaru”), so I have kept the original Japanese rendering in this translation.

Despite having been in Japan more years than I care to remember, I’ve only once been to a sushi place and I stayed clear of the whole raw fish section…

Where in Japan Japanese wish they had been born and brought up in

GIRLS' EDUCATION IN OLD JAPAN -- Freedom of Hair Styles and Kimono in the Classroom -- ALL DIFFERENT !

This survey by goo Ranking into which Japanese prefectures Japanese wish they had been born and brought up in was conducted last year, but they only got round to publishing it a few days ago.

Not surprisingly, Tokyo is the most popular, and I presume people were mostly voting for the main metropolitan area, not the suburbs. Hokkaido being second is not a surprise either, although the winters are too harsh for my tastes. Kanagawa, in particular the prefectural capital of Yokohama, is the best of the top three for me. The photo above is apparently from Yokohama, although a bit before my time.

If I had been brought up in Japan, I’d want it to have been Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture (9th here), as it’s a compact city with easy access to the countryside, and for a long time has been very international.

If you had been born in Japan, where you would you choose?

Japanese prefectures I’d want to try living in

This is the first survey for a while from goo Ranking not featuring a long list of quite unknown to me celebrities, a look at which prefectures in Japan Japanese themselves might want to try living in.

I’ve lived in a grand total of three (out of 47) prefectures, which I see all feature in the top ten here. In my opinion, Hyogo is underrated; Kobe and the surrounding area are very livable, with a lot of history of foreign settlement from when it was a major trading port. Osaka is also great, but I understand that Tokyo people are quite put off by the image of the locals. Tokyo is my current abode, in a suburban city, but I wouldn’t want to stay near the centre, but like capitals anywhere, the roads paved with good always attracts.

For where I’d like to live, Fukuoka seems attractive, as does Nagasaki.

For the top ten here, everything rusts and/or gets covered in mould, Hokkaido is too harsh in winter, and Kanagawa, or the main city Yokohama at least, is pleasant, but from my standpoint, a cheap copy of Kobe. Kyoto city has too many tourists (well, not currently, of course) to detract from the rich cultural heritage.

Note that I am mostly focusing on the major built-up areas in the prefectures, as once you get into the countryside the differences between many prefectures disappears. Even Tokyo has about a third of its area taken up with deep, deep countryside, and over 1,000 km offshore there are sub-tropical islands:


Where would you like or dislike to live in Japan?

Japan’s coolest station names

Today’s ranking looks at the coolest station names in Japan. I’ll present the kanji characters, the English transliteration, and a short translation of explanation of the name.

Note that the two Disneyland monorail stations have names “station station” – the first is English to be cool, then eki, the Japanese for station.

I’ve lived beside two of the cool names below, and in the same town as a third, but my current local station might feature in a cutest list!

Here’s Bishamon station versus Bishamon himself – you choose which is cooler:

Bishamon-Ten, roi gardien du Nord (Vaisravana) (14316580832)

Japan’s biggest worldwide celeb

goo Ranking asked people to name who from the world of entertainment was the most active worldwide.

I’m not surprised by Ken Watanabe being number one, nor Ryuichi Sakamoto being the top-rated musician, but some of the bands listed seem a bit dubious to me; they might have been mid-bill at rock festivals, but whether they left any lasting impression I do not know.

A couple of the comedians (Yuriyan Retriever, Yumbo Dump) seem to have their worldwide success defined by having appeared on America’s (and other parts of the world) Got Talent. Here’s Yumbo Dump, which does nothing for me, though: