Have mentioned a few times in this blog about Sake Dojo Alumni and while I was rummaging through a box of old letters the other day, I discovered a photo I had taken in 2005 I think, during a business trip to Japan of the very place.
The Sake Dojo is just off of the Keihan line's 牧野駅 In Osaka. As you can see its small, seating perhaps a dozen or so people only at a time. It was well situated being on the main path to and from the station to the nearby university we 留学生 and Japanese went to. But in recent years, customer traffic I am told has slacked off as the university moved its main campus elsewhere and the owner runs it more as a hobby now than a business.
As I said, it small, opens only in the evenings and is very earthy (a nice way of saying grubby). Cleaning as I recall was not done very regularly for I swear remembering there was at least a 1/4 inch of grease on the walls. And on my first trip in, I was 'greeted' by a ゴキブリ which climbed out of the はしたて in front of me.
But the joki's of draft beer were cheap and the yaki-soba memorable. One Sake dojo Alumni actually met his wife there. I didn't, but when we were dating, I took my wife there for the experience and afterwards she said she'd never set foot in the place again. Still I wouldn't mind another trip back, even if I am greeted again by a ゴキブリ climbing out of the はしたて.