By Mina Kim
Hakkoen, what a wonderful place. Hakkoen, it ain’t no passing craze.
When I first heard of Hakkoen, it was my first year in Aomori and a 5th year JET was talking about the glory days of overeating and drinking and not spending all the contents of your wallet, in the good ol’ town of Towada. He wasn’t a Towada JET and lately it seemed that the partying had calmed down in those parts, so what was he talking about?
Then, Hakkoen happened to me. Indeed, it was glorious. Every time I’ve gone since then, it’s been glorious. I went three days ago and I’m already thinking about when I can go next. Why? All you can eat AND drink for 2 1/2 hours. 150 frickin’ minutes! So much meat, and the supply of Towada’s famous barayaki was endless. Oh yeah, there were vegetables too. And pickles, I guess. But mostly, all that barayaki.
You like beer with your meat? Great! They have ice cold beer on draft. Don’t like beer? Then you can have lemon or ume sours. Don’t like those? Well then, I guess you’re drinking tea or that fake orange juice they have at every enkai, because that is actually the extent of their drink menu. Take your cup to the counter and one of three little grandmas will fill your cup up with your choice of alcoholic beverage. Soft drinks are self serve.
There aren’t separate prices for drinkers and non-drinkers. It’s the cheap, cheap price of 2500 yen! Except if you’re a woman. If you’re a woman, take 500 yen off your bill, cause sexism in Japan benefits you for once! Yay!