I went to Hayashi, a traditional, family-owned, tempura restaurant in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo. Hayashi has been well-renowned as the best tempura in the nation, with the patronage of a famous historical novel writer and gourmand, Shotaro Ikenami. The letters of the sign in front of the restaurant were written by Ikenami long ago. I had booked this restaurant a half year ago. But, I couldn’t make it to the reservation, ending up with ruining the freshest seafood from Tsukiji Market. As I felt terribly sorry for the restaurant and the fish, I booked again to make up for the last time.
I invited my younger brother and his girlfriend for the meal. They had long wanted to meet me in person somewhere in Tokyo because they were getting married soon and I had never met her. Tempura was a good idea to avoid the silence. Tempura comes one after another directly from a chef behind the counter, so we just have to pay attention to his beautiful motions when we have nothing to talk about. The staff remembered me and gave us a warm welcome. Also, they liked the purpose for our visit.
The seafood for the meal was incredible. The freshest ingredients in season took my breath away. They were served as light fluffy crisp tempura and, sometimes, “medium rare” tempura was the chef’s recommendation. Furthermore, the plates served were beautiful traditional Japanese pottery which the restaurant has had for generations. I thoroughly enjoyed the history underlying the restaurant.
The pleasant hours and conversations with my brother reminded me of our days like “A River Runs Through it.” I wanted to talk with my brother more, but I didn’t say so. We each had other fish to fry. I just said good-bye to them and paid the bill…