外国人の杉並さんぽ 高円寺駅周辺

Koenji: Coffee, Sushi, and Taco Rice

Steve is a professional musician and Greg enjoys playing music when he has time. Together they walked through Koenji on a crisp Autumn day. How will the youthful taste of the area rub off on them?

I first met Steve, a fellow musician living in Japan, right before going out to Koenji with him. I found Steve through someone who heard his music. He's an interesting guy, and we found out we had both been to Koenii before through music-- I often frequent the "live houses" there, while he goes to a music shop there to buy reeds for his saxophone.

We first went to Steve's favorite cafe, Poem, near the music store he goes to. When he goes to Koenji to buy reeds he always goes there for coffee. Of course coffee is not Japanese, so we thought about how important it is to find good coffee. I don't drink coffee, so please take Steve's word about it:




Retro Cafe Poem

If I think about Koenji, the image of a young funky paradise suddenly crosses my mind. But only a 2 minute walk from station is the cafe 'Poem', and once you go inside you feel as though you have slipped through time. When asking the shop staff about the meaning behind the English name, we were told that there was no significant meaning. However, when I go there, I feel like it is a `poetic` way to pass the time. To call it post modern would be suitable-- from the table and chair design to the brick walls and decorations, I recall some traditional coffee shops from about 30 years ago. Additionally, from the standpoint of a foreigner like myself, the Halloween decorations were also a pleasant surprise.

The coffee at Poem is made from a variety of different beans, and since they grind the beans and make drip coffee there it is particularly delicious. On top of that, the background music consists solely of my favorite pop and hard pop from the 50's. Poem is different from all the chains stores, and it is really a place where you can relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

Shop Name:Poem
Address:Suginami-ku Koenji Minami 4-44-5
TEL:03-3325-1126 FAX:03-3325-1127


住所:杉並区高円寺南4-44-5  TEL:03-3325-1126/FAX:03-3325-1127

Halloween Decorations & Used Clothing Stores

Inside Poem and at other stores scattered around Koenji we also found the American tradition of Halloween decorations to be very interesting. When I lived in Japan the first time 5 years ago, I don't remember there being so many Halloween decorations. Steve has been here 11 years so I asked him if he thought the same thing and he agreed. We asked the manager at Poem about the decorations, and she said that if the store is the same every day and every month it isn't very exciting, so they like to decorate seasonally, and Halloween has become a great way to decorate in fall.

Another thing that really surprised us both were the used clothing stores. Of course Koenji is known for these, but what was surprising were the prices! I often buy used flannel shirts at a thrift store in the US, and they're usually a couple bucks. In Japan the same shirts were about 9000 yen! I couldn't believe it. Luckily my friend just sent me some in the mail he bought for a few dollars back home.



Take-Out Tacos!

Finally we arrived at our main course: the taco rice stand on the main walking street, north side of Koenji Station. Intrigued because we hear this Mexican derived dish was popular in Okinawa and always on the constant search for good Mexican food in Japan, we unanimously agreed on lunch. However, the owner offered both taco rice with egg and taco rice with avocado, so who would get which dish was a hard decision. In the end I chose taco rice with beef and egg-- the use of the egg was a decidedly Japanese addition, and Steve went with the more "pure" Mexican flavor of avocado. They were both extremely tasty, and only 500 yen at lunch time. It comes with free tomato soup the servings were large-- wow, what a deal!

Shop Name:De-mae Tacos!(Bourbon House / Tacos Cafe)
Location:Suginami-ku Koenji Minami 3-23-13



住所:杉並区高円寺南3-23-13  TEL:03-6750-9439

Cha-kin Zushi For A Snack

For a pre-lunch snack we ate "cha-kin zushi." I had never seen sushi like this before, and I was told that Japanese also do not eat it all that much. We got it from a small mom and pop shop that has been in business for 55 years. As one would expect, the sushi was quite delicious.



  • 取材:Greg Mudarri、Steve Sacks
  • 掲載日:2011年10月01日