If you read my blog yesterday, you know that I was on the struggle bus in determining interesting writing topics. I mentioned this challenge to my husband, and he said, “you should write about our little town.” These few words got me thinking about my favorite things about our little town, which led me to consider writing about our local izakaya .

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it basically means a local bar or pub. It literally means “stay” “alcohol” and “room”, which means you can stay and drink instead of buying drinks to consume at home.

The History

The full-scale development of izakaya began around the Edo period (1603-1867).

Another Fun Historical Fact:

An izakaya in Tokyo made international news in 1962, when Robert F. Kennedy ate there during a meeting with Japanese labor leaders. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izakaya

Our Local Izakaya

When we first got to Okinawa, the local izakaya was run by a mixologist who grew up in Ginoza, but who had moved down south to the bigger city of Naha. He made his money on the weekends down south, and he would randomly open the izakaya up here on Tuesdays and/or Wednesdays. We liked the little place, which consists of 3 tables, 5 bar stools, and an outdoor table on the patio, but going to an izakaya on a Wednesday night didn’t work well with our busy schedules.

The Owner, His Wife, and His Sister

As I mentioned, the owner made and continues to make most of his money down south, but he has a wife, who happens to have an entrepreneur spirit, is a great cook, and can whip up some drinks too. Within a few months, the owner’s wife takes over, recruits his sister, they add a ton of random decor, create a new menu, and all of a sudden, this little izakaya becomes a hit for the little town. It’s opened most nights of the week, and it can get a little rowdy and fun on the weekends. I mentioned that the wife and sister added random decor, and when I say random decor, I mean RANDOM. You can get easily distracted looking at figurines, quirky signs, and even very large lighters.

The Food

When we first arrived on the island, the menu consisted of a couple of traditional appetizers like edamame and french-fries. I think they may have had one pasta dish on the menu too. If you were looking for a lot of options, this is not the place for you. However, after a couple of years of the ladies taking over, the menu has grown, is varied, and is super delicious. You can still order edamame and french-fries, and you can now get delicious pizzas, salads, various pasta dishes, shrimp, and we even ordered thick cut bacon, because who doesn’t love thick bacon?

The Drinks

Izakayas are known for drinks. They ARE drinking establishments, but I am not a curious drinker. I typically stick to beer and wine. However, if you like to try different types of drinks, izakayas are great! They tend to create sour mixes, and our local one makes a mean mojito. The wine list is limited, and surprisingly, they don’t offer a lot of sake’ choices, but they also offer non-alcoholic drinks, and we see people bring their families there for dinner, so kids are allowed to come enjoy the fun too!

As I consider where this blog is going, I am excited to explore more things and to share my experiences. Basically, my husband and I went to the local bar last night so that I could work on this blog. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan to become a bar hopper or a food blogger, but I now know how people become food bloggers. You get to go out, have fun, and you have a purpose. You are eating and drinking for the blog. What a concept!

Published by mondaymorningwithmona

I am a Texan, runner, military spouse, reader, a giver and a good friend.

4 thoughts on “Izakaya

  1. There’s something about a local Izakaya. I love walking into mine and the owners or the local regulars greet me with an, “Shirubia-san! Ohisashiburi!” It’s that sense of belonging and feeling like I’m part of this community 💕Love knowing how you and your husband embrace this and is a genuine part of the community!


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