Into Hiroshima

 

The shinkansen drops us off in downtown Hiroshima. We grab our bags and exit to the street. Looks like we have to take a street car to get to the hotel. That’s a new travel mode for this trip. Check the map. Hmmmm Chuden-mae stop? Oh shit the car is already here! Where do we get tickets? Booth. No… we get them on the train. That’s easy. Where are you going? Chuden. Yes yes hurry. We get on just as the doors close. We made it!

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We cross town in the street car and get our first impressions of Hiroshima. Can’t wait to investigate. Doesn’t take long to get to our stop. We grab our bags and cross a couple of streets to the Sunroute Hotel. Nice big lobby with seating areas and a bar in the back. Medium upscale place. Smells great. We get checked in and take our bags to the 10th floor.

Do we have a river view? I open the curtains and immediately see a naked guy through the window into his apartment across the street. Ahhh haha that was unexpected. Fascinating, I can’t look away. He picks up his cat and has a little snuggle moment. “Ummm Queenie, did you wanna see a naked guy cuddling his cat?”, “Whaaa?”, “Yep, just across there… Oh he walked away. I swear there was a naked guy right there”, “Oh we can have a naked off!” We win the naked off.

The sun is down and the hunger is on. We hit the streets to explore our surroundings and find a place to grub. Boom! Okonomiyaki place right around the corner yaaaaas!

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We go in and it’s just a small space with bar seating right in front of the chef and a few tables behind. “Sir, right at the bar”, “Sounds good!”

We get a menu and order up a beer. Ohhhh this looks gooooood! We put in an okonomiyaki order with pork and noodles. The cook starts on it right away, first spreading out a batter on the grill then topping with veggies and the pork. Then he gets the noodles cooking in a pile and some more ingredients beside it. He flips the ingredients once they’re half cooked and then puts another fried batter on top. He cooks an egg and then picks up the noodles and puts them on the egg which he mixes with a bit more batter. Whoa this is getting crazy. Triple decker? He flips the other pile of veggies, meat and batter on top of the eggs and noodle and just lets the whole shebang melt together. Our server girl comes by and lights it up with some sauce and green onions on top. Batter, veggies, pork, egg layer, noodles, batter, sauce, gaaaah it looks insanely delicious!

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We get a couple of yakitori-style chicken dishes and dumplings to snack on while we wait for this whole operation to melt down.

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This is an amazing meal. We’re gonna need some beef tongue too please. Lean cuts just quickly seared on each side. Lemon zest and some earthy tangy sauce. Perfecto!

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People start coming in and occupying the tables behind us. They just order up beer and flip through the tv channels. The Japan vs Brazil football match is on. We watch along as we grub down. As I kind of expected, Japan gets dominated and there are 3 Brazilian goals in first half while we’re there.

Ok, Hiroshima okonomiyaki is the bees knees. We thanks them and pay up. Time for a highball. We exit and flip on the bardar. I spot a server girl run from the bar across the street to a vending machine and pick up 6 packs of smokes for her customers. that’s service. Looks full though, keep trucking.

We find a spot called Curry and Bar. It’s colorful and classy looking. The curry options on the chalkboard look sensational actually. We order up a highball. They’re also watching the soccer game in here. Whooooa… wait. Don’t we have a secret mission to look into here? Craft beer in Hiroshima. I search my pics by location and get back to the notes from our bartenders back in the Watering Hole in Tokyo. Bingo! Rakubeer. Is it nearby? Walkable. We’re on the case…

It starts raining along the way. We pass by a weird police crack down in a park with a bunch of well dressed business types rounded up by officers. Nearby we find the entrance to Rakubeer.

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Typical gastropub style, all wood, open seating and a bar area. The game is on in here too. Peruse the beer list. It’s ok. Doesn’t seem as good as the other places we’ve been. The space has a little less personality than the ones in Kyoto for sure. But enough snobbery, let’s drink! Oh what they do have is little flower shaped hams. Oh Narco, we’re stuffed but ok.

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Japan scores! A trio of Brits come in and take the table next to us. Probably meet them later. A lot of these beers are from Tottori where our Planetary Materials flight friend Matt is living. Guess we’ll honor him with a Tottori flight! The beer comes out in funny cartoon glasses.

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We introduce ourselves to the Brits next door. They seem like good fellas just out for a pint. They’re in town for work. They kind of want to leave Rakubeer, not much of a scene here. Sure, I could go either way. We look up some other bars in the area. One’s called Wonderful Joke. Haha alright, let’s do it.

We hit the streets with our new friends. The one guy who’s originally from Nigeria is a riot. Never stops talking, he’s very animated. The other two seem subdued. Maybe jetlagged. We cruise through town looking for the bar. This proves more difficult than expected.

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We pass it and spin around. Pass it again. Wtf? Ok, Wonderful Joke is supposedly up in here somewhere. Scan the signs.. hmmm don’t see it. “I think the wonderful joke is on us”, “Yeah, it’s probably just some dude’s apartment”

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We go in anyways and take the elevator to the second floor. We find an open doorway into a tiny bar and we basically take up the whole place. There are only 2 others there. They leave immediately. We order up a green tea sochu. The bartender guy has no idea what we’re talking about. Ok, let’s keep it simple. I just point at some vodka bottles and soda. That’ll do.

We chill with our drinks for a bit and talk to the Brits. The bartender is on the phone with someone. The Brits seem a little on the tired side though and are having a hard time rallying. No worries, that’ll happen. Travel fatigue.

Suddenly a smoking hot Japanese girl in a pink dress comes up to the bar and grabs a seat right beside us. She orders a cocktail and lights up a smoke. Haha what’s happening here? Did the bartender phone up a prostitute or what? I mention it to the Nigerian guy, “That’s totally what’s going on hahaha”

Ok well this is a weird scene, just our group and a prostitute. Doesn’t seem like anyone in our crew is gonna blow it up tonight. We finish up our drinks and take off. The Brits decide to head back to their hotel and we say we’ll do the same. We give our temporary mates a round of handshakes and high fives, have a good trip.

We make our way through the drizzle back to Sunroute. Hiroshima has a good feel to it too. Calm. It’s a big city but has a different vibe than the others. Seems more chill than Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Easily walkable too, like Osaka was. Liking it so far.

We get back to our room. Naked Guy check. Nope. Ah well. Nighty night Naked Guy.

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