Korean BBQ

There comes a point after living in a foreign country for so long that things stop seeming as scary as they once may have been. That’s exactly what happened with navigating the Tokyo metro. I know the way to and from the university like the back of my hand, and the same can be said for finding my way to Asakusa. Once you learn the trick of the trade, everything falls into place, even if all the words are in a foreign language that you still have trouble pronouncing more often than not.

For me, the trick of the trade meant knowing what platform to stand on and what number (ex: T18 for Urayasu or T04 for Waseda) to get off at. It astounds me how people navigate any other way, but I kid you not whenever I ask what platform or number to get off at more often than not people look at me as if I’ve grown a second head. They all rely on their GPS to get them where to go. Turn right here, turn left there, oops let me redirect because you passed your destination. Personally, being in a foreign country and listening to a GPS like that would just give me more anxiety since I’d constantly be looking down at my phone and then looking up to make sure I’m not about to run into a pole. Just so you know, that’s happened and not only did it seriously hurt physically but there were many people around so it hurt mentally too.

Anyway, I’ve gotten completely off topic. I could go on for hours about the Tokyo metro, but I’m here to talk about Korean BBQ in Korea town. So, I navigated the hour train ride from Yokohama to Waseda to meet up with some friends. It was officially the start of Spring Break, February 2nand after that night we wouldn’t be seeing each other for a while, at least not altogether again. One of us was heading back to Australia as they were only here for a semester. It was sad to say goodbye after spending so much time hanging out. We met in a Religions and Cultures class and instantly clicked. Those are the kinds of friendships I live for and one reason I love to travel so much.

We’d been making these plans for the past week. One reason we were set on Korean BBQ is because we’d tried to go once before, but I’d gotten sick and had to back out at the last minute. It’s safe to say I’d spent a good majority of that week drinking vitamin water religiously and taking excellent care of my health to make sure the same thing didn’t happen again.

The place we’d gone to eat was a much recommended restaurant called Tomato. Yes, it’s named after the food. Now, I’d never gone to Korea town before this. I’d heard about it and wanted to go. The moment I stepped foot outside of the station I was blown away with how much BTS dominated everything. I should have expected it since they’re not only from Korea but a huge band. Honestly though, I don’t listen to much K-Pop, which I’m trying to change. So, while we walked towards our restaurant I was akin to a child in a toy store, awe-struck by all the pretty faces.

The restaurant was amazing, though it took us a while to get seated since it ended up being a scavenger hunt to get our reservation found. There was this sign downstairs that told us reserved seating was on the second floor, so we go up to the second floor. Once we got there, they sent us back downstairs for this little ticket we had to show the people upstairs. With the ticket in hand we went back upstairs, showed the people our ticket, and they sent us to this other room where we finally had the chance to sit down. Everything was smooth sailing after that. The food, pork was delicious and what’s even better is that they make it in front of you. This differs from the Japanese BBQ that I experienced with my host family before since we were always the ones to make it once the meat was ordered. It was nice to just sit back and relax.

With dinner filling our stomachs, we were craving something sweet. We went in search of some desert and found it in a small cafe called Binggo where we split this amazing looking Oreo shaved ice. It was full of chocolate and exactly what each of us needed.

I think we were in that little cafe for about an hour after finishing the desert, partially because the other two had to finish their drinks since we weren’t allowed to order just one thing while there were three of us. The other part of it was because we kept getting lost in the conversation.

I talked about this before in a previous article about how the best part of study abroad are the people you meet that enrich the experience all the more. There are so many people I’ve met from all over the world that, when I think about my life before coming to Japan it just feels weird and wrong not having these people be a part of it. Everyone here is so like-minded in that we all want to see the world and experience everything it offers us.

We talked about the stupidest of things and had a lot of good laughs that made it sad to part afterwards. It was such a superb day filed with so many memories and that’s the thing. It was only one day out of a year in Japan. Thanks for reading; until next time.

All the best.

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