On a visit to Nagano city one time, I arrived around midday and set about looking for lunch, hoping for something tasty, filling and inexpensive. I didn't have to go far; just a few minutes from the station I saw a nice-looking Japanese place with 'English menu available' in the window. It looked good, and I like to encourage businesses that make the effort to cater to visitors from overseas, so in I went.
It's a friendly, cosy little izakaya, with a short counter, a handful of tables, and a counter bar which looks pretty well-stocked. The proprietress was delightfully friendly and cheery, despite her lack of English, and kept my tea topped up throughout my meal. (If you're using the English menu, you order by number; the drinks menu is only in Japanese).
They have a good range of dishes, with set meals costing between JPY650 and JPY1200, among them soba, sashimi, chicken, grilled mackerel and, my choice for lunch, eel tempura. It was really good; the eel was full of flavour and far too big for the bowl, the other pieces of tempura were all light and succulent, and I felt satisfyingly full after I'd finished.
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I came to Japan from Manchester, England in summer 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I`m not working I write satire at www.iothern.blogspot.com and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check my youtube channel `CunningPunster` for a taste.