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June 6, 2019

Tokyo: State of the Stomach 2019

By Phoebe Amoroso
Tokyo -- Winding between the teenage fashion havens of Harajuku and Shinjuku is the ultra-hip Cat Street, lined with countless second-hand clothing stores and embellished with a single origin coffee shop. Just a stone’s throw to its south lies a nondescript concrete building. Read more
Tokyo -- Winding between the teenage fashion havens of Harajuku and Shinjuku is the ultra-hip Cat Street, lined with countless second-hand clothing stores and embellished with a single origin coffee shop. Just a stone’s throw to its south lies a nondescript concrete building.

Unassuming from the outside, for the past 15 months its second floor hid a sake bar. The interior was a stylish and modern take on Japanese design – a sleek counter in the center, tatami mats and sliding doors splitting the space into three. Here, a young crowd gathered, sampling the latest sake and regional dishes – from Miyagi beef tongue meatballs and Iwate squid sashimi to Akita smoked pickled daikon topped with cream cheese.

Given its relatively short residency, one might be forgiven for thinking the bar was a trend or a poorly conceived dream. But Mysh, (pronounced “my shu” meaning “my sake”) didn’t go out of business, nor were any of its members of staff full time. Their lease having expired, the founders decided to take some time out before finding a new home – time to review their goal of creating something more than a dining establishment, of creating a community space. Currently, the bar only exists as a monthly pop-up event, but its founding story and model are indicative of Tokyo’s broader culinary culture - one that is simultaneously steeped in tradition while constantly reinventing itself under the city’s bright neon lights.Read more