After watching Detective Pikachu, I was still on a “high”. Seeing pokemons in the big screen feels it is 1996. Seeing the colorful Japanese neon lights like I’m some part of my favorite childhood cartoon makes me long for Japan, though, I have not been there yet.
I stroll the busy hallways of Venice Piazza in search of food. Hunger looms and my desperation to find a good dining spot increases. Then, a random lady starts beating a drum—in beautiful harmony. I search for her in the crowd. And there, I see her, the lady in red shirt with a big smile on her face.
I did not see the interior at first. I was busy perusing the menu for food. It is good. A wide variety of our well-loved Japanese food is written in between the pages. And like magic, I slowly pull my chin up and the restaurant’s design unravels.
This is actually the first time I see a railway-themed Japanese restaurant. Tables are designated with a specific train station. I see a few stations that ring a bell—maybe from watching too much Japan travel vlogs. Yodoyabashi, Umeda and Namba (after their namesake) to name a few.
The whole room is warmly-lit. Short curtains with Japanese characters hang over the counter. Further inside the restaurant, is a wider venue with wall canvases and more curtains hanging on the ceiling. It is very reminiscent of Marugame Udon, another favorite of mine.
I slide my tray into the counter’s ledge and begin to pick my food. Express food is my thing. Sometimes it’s really disappointing to wait too long for the food to come.
I sit under Namba Station, where I can watch the whole shebang happen. I like being in a corner. I have a weird fascination with people-watching, especially in their most comfortable zones—like restaurants.
Then, I set the food on my table. This has got to be one of the best things to do before eating. I get to arrange and take countless photos of them.
I slice the tamago furai in half, expecting for the yolk to overflow but somehow it did not. Then, I remember to google translate the word “furai” and learn that it literally means “deep-fry”. It kind of explains why the egg was hard-boiled. The taste is just right.
Spicy salmon roll’s four-piece ensemble look so enticing. I pick my chopsticks up and I take a piece. For something so inexpensive, I find the quality of food to be excellent.
The tonkatsu is a good choice, as well. It is well-cooked and the meat is tender. It comes perfectly with their sauce and Japanese mayo.
And to put the cherry on top of my Namba Station experience, I ordered myself a coffee jelly with ice cream that literally comes with a piece of cherry on its top. The taste of vanilla ice cream is too strong, it somehow overpowers the coffee jelly. I still love it, nevertheless.
Hesitantly, I approach a lady in black and she responds with politeness. I ask her some info Namba Station due to my heightened curiosity about this cool restaurant. She said they just have opened last February 12th and the owner took inspiration from the moments he/she was travelling in Osaka.
I like how sincere they are, to the point of even asking how the food was—something that other restaurants’ staff are lacking.
I will come back soon to try their ramen with the person who loves it the most, my Mom. Surely, she will have a blast just seeing a glimpse of Japan, like I did.
For now, I am content with seeing glimpses of Japan here in our country. But that lingering feeling of going there isn’t going anywhere. More and more each day, my desire to travel to Japan grows heavier.
Thank you, Namba Station for giving me my prelude to Japan.