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Tokyo Jizake Strolling (restaurant Jinsei Sakaba inside the New Shinbashi Building) 

By Ryuji Takahashi

Shinbashi is a renowned business district where many shops line the streets, reminiscent of the Showa era (1926-1989). One venue familiar to many is the New Shinbashi Building, a large multi-tenant shopping mall on the Hibiyaguchi side of Shinbashi Station, occupied from the first basement floor to the fourth floor by many restaurants, a ticket broker, massage parlors, and shops targeting businessmen. Some call it a mall for old men. The Shinbashi Station west exit started as a black market after World War II and evolved until the current New Shinbashi Building was constructed in 1971.             
The interior of the retro, chaotic mall is long cherished as a mecca for businessmen. Many new commercial buildings were constructed recently to lease retail space to swanky shops featured on TV. The New Shinbashi Building built over fifty years ago offers a heartwarming nostalgic ambiance of the Showa Era, not felt in new stylish buildings. The basement of the New Shinbashi Building is home to many restaurants that serve alcohol during business hours on weekdays. Since I had a day off during the week with nowhere to go on my day off, I walked many rounds inside the basement floor of the New Shinbashi Building like a migratory fish.    
I saw “fans of alcoholic beverages” here and there partaking early in the day. I started to ponder ordering a glass of beer when a female restaurant worker greeted me and said, “We’re serving alcohol right now.” I quickly accepted the invitation and entered the restaurant “Jinsei Sakaba.” What a suitable restaurant name for me, I thought. The worker said, “If you want to enjoy more than one drink, all-you-can-drink is a better deal.” I quickly agreed and selected the 1 hour all-you-can-drink option for 980 JPY. First, I ordered draft beer. 
The cold beer was delicious after walking around inside the mall.       
The food menu listed Chinese style izakaya menu items. I ordered a chilled wakame seaweed salad. My appetite switched on as soon as I took the first bite. I ordered another glass of draft beer, then fried gyoza, Japanese-style omelet with spicy Pollack roe, and fried rice. All menu items were delicious, and the food was served quickly. I got into a lively conversation with the restaurant staff as I ate, and the first hour passed quickly. Of course, I exceeded my time limit and ordered several green tea highballs and shochu highballs. 
Two hours of fun passed quickly before I realized it. The food was delicious, the restaurant was comfortable, and the price was economical at this wonderful restaurant. The New Shinbashi Building is home to this excellent restaurant, currently under consideration for redevelopment due to deterioration. Although it would be sad to see this retro and chaotic ambiance close their doors, changes in the local landscape are inevitable in any era, surely, “all that remains of a warriors’ dream.”  

#Shinbashi #alljapannews #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #jizake #sake #tokyo

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