The grungy streets of Shimokitazawa have that untouched, organic feel yet only a few stops away from the craziness of Shinjuku. A popular escape for Tokyoites, musos and uni students, full of record shops, vintage stores and great little bars and cafes. I love the ramshackle feel of the landscape here.
We stumbled upon Cafe Okidokei by sheer chance. The shop sign had a vintage look and the blackboard menu was scrawled with care. I usually get a feel of a place through its signage, its like the font talks to my tummy, telling me its a safe place to eat. So we ventured up the stairs and found ourselves in a cool little bar with smiling staff and the warmth of a little wooden cabin.
Okidokei is actually the Japanese translation of clock and, of which general manager, Taikan Nagai, seems to have a soft spot for. Although, not to be confused with okie dokie (we all had a giggle about this). Clocks and vintage farming bric-a-brac dot the walls and the woodwork gives it a charming edge. We escaped the rain and grey skies of an Autumn afternoon in Japan and nestled in for a set lunch.
For ¥1000 you can choose from a beef curry, baked chicken or a garlic pasta, served with a salad, rice and a drink. It can be a little tricky ordering food in Japan as you will be pressed to stumble across an English menu. It kinda adds to the charm of the whole process.
We settled in with a few beers and enjoyed the cheap and cheerful eats that Okidokei has to offer. It really was like being invited into someone's home and made this little meal all the more special. All I can say is always look up, you never know what wonders await as you climb up those stairs.