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I’ve been steering away from being that foreigner who compulsively photographs every piece of food that goes in her mouth while vacationing in Japan.  I traveled that road for a number of years and finally now feel no need to document it.Eating beautifully presented food has become more of a daily event, not something unexpected.  For example, I don’t photograph my morning bowl of oatmeal each time I have breakfast. It’s also pretty boring looking at the food other people have eaten, even if it is garnished with a maple leaf.  No one has shouted at me,, “More food photos, please!”

In order for you to see what I was into, I’m posting some Japanese food photos from previous visits.  These look pretty amazing to me at the moment, although it’s probably because I haven’t eaten dinner as yet.img_6402 img_6462 img_6782 img_6858 img_7223

The simple truth is, I eat more humbly while I’m on my own.  My husband loves to go out for more elaborate meals, which of course, I enjoy. But to eat in these places, one must first plan ahead and make a reservation. Plus, these aren’t the kinds of places I’d want to eat in by myself. Left to my own devices, I find more than enough tasty options, that I can just take advantage of as the spirit moves me, or shall I say when the hunger pangs strike.  There are dozens and dozens of choices.

My recent last -minute- eat -alone stand-by is a fast food chain, named Ootoya, specializing in a contemporary hybrid of teishoku (set meal) cuisine.


First of all, a fast food restaurant, that plays a soundtrack of Miles Davis’ Autumn Leaves and June Christy’s Lilac Wine, has to have something going on.  Secondly, consider a restaurant  whose workers function like a smiling,well-oiled relay team from the moment you are greeted, seated, order and served.  Last, but not at all least, they deliver a very tasty meal in just a short time. Just like Goldilocks, you can choose a small, medium or large bowl of rice, white or whole grain.   Food and small, whole grain rice bowl consumed, I walk out smiling as well.

All for under $15.  NO TIP NEEDED.

P.S.  It might happen that you’ll see a few food photos in future posts, now that my husband is here with me and has taken over the reins of making food decisions. But only if I absolutely can’t resist.


Dianne Vapnek

Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.

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