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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

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.