Monjya boat around Tokyo bay

While in Tokyo, Gen and a bunch of his friends in Tokyo organized a “monjya boat” dinner around Tokyo bay after work. (If you don’t know what Monjayaki, click here and here!)

Quite an unusual experience. Small little boat, with one low cabin of all glass windows. Freezing cold outside. Roasting hot inside. Crowded, with groups of 4-6 seated on the floor around a small low table, all packed close to each other. There was a cooking surface in the middle of the table. The cooking surface was gas powered (you could see the flames), with a plastic hosepipe heading under the mats – it looked like we were all sitting on stockpiles of fuel. The crew politely warned us to not put anything under the table as it got hot and would burn. Once everyone started cooking, the cabin heated up *fast*.

You cooked the meal yourself with bowls of ingredients that the crew on the boat gave you. The joke was that no matter how you cooked it, or what ingredients you were given, it all tasted the same! It was all the food you can eat, and all the beer you can drink – but you dont get any more until you have proven that you have finished what they gave you already. It was oddly yummy, and lots of fun. At our table, most of the cooking was done by Gen and his wife, but I managed to cook one without burning it – anyone who knows my cooking skills understands the enormity of that!

The conversations were great, and it was really interesting to meet others in the Tokyo software business, including some expats. The background of the water-level views of Tokyo made it even more wonderful.

Randomly while we waited for our boat, there was a guy standing there blindfolded, with his hands tied behind his back – in a giant chicken costume! Turns out he was on our boat. Something weird about watching a guy nervously being walked down the gangwalk to a boat at night tied up in a chicken suit. His group were taking good care of him but we never figured out if it was a birthday party, some work initiation/promotion party, or the beginning of some bachelor party.

(Here’s a quick photo Gen took of us all heading back to the train afterward – with Gen invisible behind the camera!)

monjya yaki dinner

Great great evening, and many thanks to Gen for making this happen.

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