September 18, 2017
Today we’re taking you down Harmonica Alleyaway in Kichijoji, and we’re going to show you just a small selection of what it has to offer. Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to come here afterwards and do some exploring yourself. I know we still have a lot of places to try out there (we haven’t had the famous curry there yet), so maybe we might bump into you while we’re there.
We have some friends here in Japan who, I remember, told us that they don’t know what’s so cool about Kichijoji. They like the park, but say it’s unnavigable on the weekends because it’s so crowded (which I agree with), and it’s just so completely crowded everywhere around Kichijoji on the weekend. They didn’t go to Harmonica Alley yet, though. And once we took them there, oh boy, they were singing an entirely different song.
Because it’s cool there! It’s so freaking cool! It’s tight and cramped, and the roof is really rickety in many spots. None of the shops are new. All look like they could use some renovation. But the whole places is just glowing with charm. Apart from the places we showed you, there’s also a really great cocktail bar, where the woman makes some really delicious drinks. There’s a great taiyaki place. Kimchi ramen on the second floor of one of the shops is bombastic. And the spaghetti! OH! They make it fresh right there and it’s just freaking delicious. We didn’t even show you the cat shop, where they sell tons of things with cat designs on them (cat bags, cat salt and pepper shakers, cat toothpick holders, cat postcards). And that’s just some of the places we know. When we were waiting for the gyoza place to open up a spot, across from us was a Yakiton joint, and some of the customers sitting there told us to come in because they love the spot. I really wanted to take them up on their offer, but couldn’t, because Minmin was about to close for the night, and we had to shoot that place. By the time we were done our new potential friends had left, but they knocked on the window and waved to us as they walked away.
These potential new friends we had never met before that night, but the way they invited us and even said goodbye to us suggested a friendship that seems to sprout instantly in Harmonica Alleyway. When we went for the standing wine bar, the two people beside us we had never met before, but they just started talking to us and – what’s even more amazing – they ordered the same bottle of wine we ordered and started pouring us some of their bottle. Why?! Why are they so nice?! I sure as hell wouldn’t pour wine for someone I just met! But there was nothing creepy about it. They were a lot older than us, and they weren’t trying to hit on us. They were just laughing and sharing the laughter with us.
Everywhere we go around Harmonica Alley we meet lovely people that want to share their joy with us. We love it there. Guys, it’s amazing. If you’re coming to Japan, head over to Kichijoji, go to Harmonica Alleyway, and do a little stall crawl of your own. Go to some of the places we went to, but also go to one we didn’t show. Go to one where you don’t know what’s on the menu, order something random, and have a fun night with your new friends sitting around you. It’s a great experience, and it’s something we’ll miss if we ever leave Japan, though I’m seeing fewer reasons to ever move. We love it here.
We’ve got some extra scenes if you’re interested for another laugh. Check them out below!