Miyama 162 already looks to be a really cool little place, not many people in here. There’s a projector playing music videos on the wall. We settle up at the bar and introduce ourselves. There’s a bartending duo that are clearly friends. They keep busting each others balls, it’s great. Good selection of whiskeys and a few beer taps. I like it.
The projector is playing all Oasis videos. At first I thought, “Oh gaaaaaaaaawd Oasis”, but actually I haven’t heard this shit forever and forgot how good all these tunes are. I mention how cool the driftwood frame is and one of the bar guys says he went to his hometown to collect it. The other says, “It was totally my idea, don’t let him tell you it wasn’t.” Ha, these guys are great. They give us some pistachios and we order up a small plate of venison sausage. It comes out and Queenie says, “Thanks Bambi” and everyone cracks up. Man, it’s damn good too. Get some beer to wash it down.
Wait.. is that Golgo 13 whiskey. “Isn’t that an assassin or some James Bond type?”, “Yeah, it’s a manga. The longest running one. Pretty good whiskey too”, “Let’s do it”
So these two guys, Ken and Jun, own the place. Jun has another spot with the same name not too far away too, “This bar sucks, go to the other one”. These two have been friends since elementary school, which explains the brotherly smackdowns. This place has only been open since August. The other one for about a year. They seem to be doing well.
A pregnant girl walks in and Jun introduces her as his wife. Friendly girl. She wants to know about our trip so we show her some pics. The Bird Cafe, Hedgehog cafe and Robot Restaurant are hits, “Super kawii!” She has a parakeet so we swap stories about Birdrito too.
I take a break to hit the head up stairs. On the way I take a little self guided tour. It’s really neat in here. The decor is hipster-bansky (or hipster- Massive Attack, if you believe that). There’s a sitting area upstairs too. Awesome spot Ken’s got here.
Damn, this is the smallest urinal ever. What gives? Oh wait, did I just piss in the sink? Hmmmm running water. Yep, think I just pissed in the sink. Whoops! But c’mon, that totally looks like a urinal. Maybe it’s both?
Jun’s wife is due in February. She asks how long Queenie and I have been together and we tell them we got engaged just a couple days ago, “Whoooooa! We have to celebrate! Tequila shots!” and Jun pours a round of shots for everyone that’s not pregnant. We show them our bacon and eggs engagement pic and they just absolutely love it.
I start eyeing up some whiskeys and Ken recommends a few. “Wedding prices for you” and he puts a bottle of Kirin Fuji-Sanroku 18 Year Old Small Batch in front of me. Sure, let’s do it. Oh daaaayum that’s good.
Then out of nowhere Ken asks me if I’ve ever seen Baby Metal. “Baby Metal? What’s that?”, “Oh you’re going to love it!” He dials up some live Baby Metal tracks on the projector and my mind is fucking blown apart.
Oh my gaaaawd, what the hell is this?! Three cute girls in amazing outfits with choreographed dance moves singing Idol-style Jap pop vocals over shredding metal tunes?!! This is incredible, how have I never seen this before? The band is seriously ripping it up too. My new life goal instantly becomes seeing Baby Metal live. Oh Japan, I love you.
We tell Ken and Jun that we’ve been checking out a lot of craft beer joints around town and list the places from last night. They suggest we go over to Jun’s other spot. He gets excited and writes out an IOU with his signature on it, “Show them this. you’ll get money off every drink!” Ken also recommends a good yakitori place and shows us roughly where it is on a map. These guys are the best! We thank them immensely and depart.
We mosey down the street towards the yakitori place that Ken recommended. Hmmmm he didn’t really say which side of the street it’s on. We pop into a spot. Maybe? We have a seat and peruse the menu. Oh this is an okonomiyaki place. Whoops wrong spot. Ah well, this is probably awesome too, let’s try it! Yep, it looks great. Negayaki pizza style with cheese? Pork and egg? Shellfish? Wow, I guess you can throw anything in these pancake things.
The server comes over and asks if we’re ready. I use google translate to warn her about my fish allergy and she gets super worried. She goes to talk to the chef and he flat out says no. “Oh no, sorry. We cook everything on same iron skillet”, it’s just one large iron surface covering the table, “Use fish sauce. Coat the whole skillet. Very danger for you. So sorry”, “Oh no, it’s ok. Thank you” and we politely head back to the street.
Across the street is a yakitori place though. Probably the one Ken was talking about. Looks great, let’s go in there.
Oh yeah, this place is awesome. We get seated and grab some menus. They have every part of a chicken you can get on a skewer. Chicken hearts and throats and colons and cartilage. Even though we’ve been snacking throughout the night we throw down on a feast of skewered nummies.
Yakitori is quickly becoming my favorite food. I like the portions. You basically order some skewers and if you’re not full, just order more. They’re all a buck a piece or something, it’s super simple and amazing. Tons of different dipping sauces. Maybe I’ll open one of my own! Bird up, Ahhhhhhck!
I overhear the girls at the table next to us speaking French and ask where they’re from. They’re from Toulouse. Been to France a few times but don’t think I’ve ever been to Toulouse. We tell them where we’re from and they say they lived in Quebec city for 6 months while studying. Now they’re in Kyoto for a conference about Biology research in hair growth. “A hair growth conference? Can’t say I’ve ever heard of one of those. Are you trying to solve male pattern balding or something?”, there’s a funny pause, “Yes that’s exactly what we’re doing. And solve grey hair as well.”
We chat it up for a bit and exchange some travel stories. Nice couple of girls.
Last call gets announced. oh shit! We order up the other half of the menu and re-up on drinks. This place rocks! But I’ve had a fair number of drinks by this point and forget to get the name of it.
Out in the alley we spot a Geisha escorting a dapper gentleman down the street. Queenie whispers in my ear, “Oh look a gyoza!” I buckle over laughing, “Oh Bee, it’s Geisha. Gyoza is a dumpling”, “Oh noooo”.
Secret Mission: Success!! Found a Geisha on our craft beer crawl.
We pass by another really cool craft beer spot called Hop Seed and slide open the door to check it out. “Sorry, we are full.” That’s fine, we are pretty gooned at this point anyways, maybe just call it a night and head back to our mini apartment.
But first a stop at the nearby family mart for some late night drunk snacks
Back at Gion Hanna Stay, we chill in the room with a nightcap beer. Queenie makes herself a green bath and I chill on the balcony creepily staring out at the graveyard headstones.
Wow Kyoto. You’re something else. What a place. Can’t wait to see more tomorrow. Maybe we’ll check out that Yayoi Kusama exhibit and another quadrant of this temple-rich zenderland.