Last night we tried a new izakaya 居酒屋 that opened up (somewhat) across from the SanA Nishihara city mall. It is called something like にっぽん丸かじり Nippon maru kajiri (taking a bite from Japan is something like the literal translation, but it is not very clear to me, so let’s call it “Maru kajiri”).

Anyway, I noticed the new construction as I drove to hula back and forth the past few weeks, and as it was not so far away from my house, I could not wait to see what was offered. Luckily my husband was all for it. So on a Friday night, we arrived with no reservation in the middle of bonenkai season to a new izakaya. As much as this sounds like disaster, it was not. When we arrived, I asked if 2 people, and at first, no… all booked. But then after a short hesitation, can we speak Japanese? Yes. Then until 8pm is okay? Well sure, it was only 6:10 and my husband I would be done by 8, so no problem. So… if you want to visit this izakaya (or maybe any popular izakaya in December or on a weekend), it is best to make a reservation…

The menu was a bit all over the place (it is actually a small chain), a handwritten and a regular typed menu. We started with draft beer; the special was 190yen drafts the first hour of your visit, into hour 2 and it became 290yen. We ordered a variety off the menu– some meat skewers for the husband (串焼き合), fried squid (いか唐揚), cabbage salad キャベツ塩ダレサラダ (which had a most interesting creamy sauce), and a kind of fried noodle (yakisoba-sort of 五目あんかけ焼きそば). There was a maguro (マグロ tuna) butter-yaki (バター焼き batayaki) that my husband was interested in, but I did not tell him until after we ordered… we will save it for next time. All sorts of interesting sashimi dishes left the kitchen to other tables as well. There was a 300yen per person seating fee (very normal for Japan!), and the free appetizer, called otoushi お通し was hot or cold tofu with toppings (self-serve, as much as you could eat), so it felt like a good value. Total with beers we spent less than 4000yen, so a good night out.

A quick Daiko service home ended the night. In Japan, there is a nice service where if you drive somewhere and drink, you can call a Daiko service, which is a “taxi” that picks you up and drives your car to your home. So nice, and actually cheaper than regular taxi fares for 2 ways. Our Daiko was particularly excited to talk to gaijin who spoke a smattering of Japanese– we talked about easy topics such as the izakaya, and weather in Hawaii and Okinawa. A successful night, and our own sort of bonenkai together.

address: 639 Onaha, Nishihara-chō, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa-ken 903-0103

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