Conversations with Gen-san 

“I disappoint some first time visitors, I think” Gen-san says, “because everything isn’t made with rare whiskeys and the bar isn’t decorated with expensive spirits.” I hold up an imaginary shaker and swing it back and forth, “You don’t have big movements either.” I add. We laugh then he disappears into the back of the bar, returning with two bottles. Placing them in front of us he states rather matter of factly: “I have rare spirits too. I just do not use them for my cocktails.” 

Bar Gen Yamamoto is far from a typical experience. But for those who care about food, you will not be disappointed. There is no other like him, no place like his bar anywhere on this planet. 

Bar Gen Yamamoto
Drop this into Google Maps↓
東京都港区麻布十番1−6−4
アニバーサリービル1F
*reservations are required

office@genyamamoto.jp // 03-6434-0652

Conversations with Gen-san: Oishī

“Maybe the character for oishī (delicious) is beautiful「美しい」 and taste「味」because in the Japanese culture, we express appreciation for food in two parts: we note the presentation when something is first served, the taste, once we consume.” Gen-san and I wondered. “Makes perfect sense as utsukushī「美しい」is used when describing art and aesthetically pleasing things, followed by aji「味」flavors.” We both then nodded in agreement, satisfied by our conclusions of the etymology. Turns out that is not the case but it was surely fun to discuss. Always, always learn something new with each Gen-san visit and the reason his 8 seater bar is my favorite place in Tokyo. 

Bar Gen Yamamoto 

Drop this into Google Maps↓
東京都港区麻布十番1−6−4
アニバーサリービル1F

*reservations are required
office@genyamamoto.jp
 // 03-6434-0652

Gen Yamamoto – A Tokyo Must

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Bar Gen Yamamoto is one of my favorite places in Tokyo and I recommend everyone and anyone coming to Tokyo to visit. He is beyond a ‘mixologist’ and more a magician, a flavor savant, a true genius of his craft. I’d even argue he may quite possibly be the best in the world when it comes to surprising and delighting with his cocktails.

People seem to freak out over a four or six cocktail tasting in fear of getting trashed but the thing is, his drinks aren’t boozy at all. The spirits he uses are activators, pulling forth the deepest, richest flavor notes from the fruits and vegetables he pairs them with and so basically, the drinks have only a splash or a touch of alcohol. I doubt anyone could actually get drunk off Gen-san’s cocktails.

These days I visit him at least once a month — sometimes more if there are people in town. Here are a few highlights from August:  Continue reading

Gen Yamamoto

I might quite possible be the only person on the planet to think this. But, after my fifth or sixth trip to Gen Yamamoto, I am confident placing him in my “Experience” bucket. Alongside Robot Restaurant, Kawaii Monster Cafe and Tokyo Disney Land.

He is still the charming, lovely, charismatic connoisseur. And his drinks are out of this world!! But there is one thing I cannot get over: his pours are always uneven!!!!!’n

Evidence one:


Me in my head: he will fix the uneven pours before he serves. I think… hope??? 😳

He did not 😑


Me in head: I hope I don’t get served the one on the very right. I hope I don’t get served the one on the very right. I hope I don’t get served… 

*gets served the one on the very right*

Fuck. I got ripped off 😐


Me in head: Stop looking at the uneven pours. Focus on his story and gesticulating. 

Ugh. The one on the left. I hope I don’t get served the one on the very left. I hope I don’t served…

…Mona. Knock it off!!’n Focus on his story. Focus on his story. Focus on his story. Focus on his… *OCD Level 96629495918647392: ACTIVATED*

POURS ARE NOT EVEN. I SWEAR. IF I AM SERVED THE ONE ON THE VERY LEFT… 😡

See? This place causes unnecessary anxiety.

I’ve tried making excuses for him the first one or two times I went. Like maybe he was having an off night. Or maybe his hand is cramped. Or, maybe he forgot to put his contacts in that day. Or perhaps he only serves foreigners uneven pours?

But after about the sixth time, I’m over this place.

So sorry, Gen-san. As big of a crush I have on you, I doubt I will be returning. Nor will I be recommending you until you fix your pours!

*photos aren’t mine; found on Google Images. Mine are on my Insta with a few somewhere in the archives

Edit: I am a loser.

Trevor Moran (who I’ve been hanging with the past week and is an AMAZING human) pointed out all Gen’s glasses are custom handmade, which makes every one of them unique. Some are smaller, wider, taller, bigger, thinner, etc.

When we went to Gen the other night and he kept laughing at me for being so unwarrantedly bothered by the uneven pours. I asked Gen-san if the different shapes and sizes of the same glass bother him. To which he replied in his usual soothing way: “It does not, I actually prefer the different shapes and sizes. Although it may look as though my pours are uneven to my patrons.” and of course, I had to say: “I was actually one of those people“.

And Gen-san laughed really hard. I translated to Trevor and all three of us had a big laugh. Good times.

So I take back this post! If you have a chance, DO PLEASE GO!!

 

Gen Yamamoto Pt. II and My Defective Phone 


My name is Gen. うん。Just Gen. Not like Genjamin  (Benjamin) or something.” he said with a smirk. And I was like 😍 then I just may have captured the only photo of him smiling while pouring.

***

What a miracle! My lost phone was found and turned into the police station. I immediately tweeted my first reaction when I got the call the phone was found ↓

Mona_Nomura_on_Twitter___The_iPhone_6__I_lost_last_Monday_was_delivered_to_my_local_koban__police_station__this_morning__BECAUSE_JAPAN__

And well, I didn’t really want it back because I thought it would mean I had to give my brand new replacement back. Great news is, I don’t have to! And I was able to retrieve the photos I took but compared to the photos I’m taking with my new phone, I’m kind of embarrassed to share them…

So I will selectively share some. I guess. Here are two from the cocktail tasting ↓

The whiskey shaved ice cocktail on the left, the edamame cocktail on the right. I think you can see the bits of the sencha floating.

And one more of the stunning Mizunara bar top and Gen-san ❤️

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Bonus: in case you lose something, here are photos of the Tokyo Lost and Found Center. Turns out, my phone was delivered to their HQ. It’s pretty neat I’ve gotten access to a lot of official buildings and such because I lose my phone. Last year, I saw the bullet train depot in Okayama.

Gen Yamamoto in the Typhoon

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All we could do, is laugh. As we rush out of my favorite fish on sticks place* to hail a cab, the rain is coming down mean and hard. The sidewalks are overfilling with steep puddles and I swear I see Noah’s Arc with elephants and giraffes lined up two-by-two heading our way.

Should I call an Uber?” he asks. “This is Tokyo. Ubers are unnecessary.” I say. He looks back at me a bit skeptical and just when he was about to whip out his phone I spy an empty cab I successfully flag down. “See?” I say and he smiles, holds the umbrella up near the door as I rush in. Even with him shielding the rain with our shared umbrella, the downpour is so aggressive I’m immediately drenched. He climbs in after me making sound effects. He is wetter than I. We look at each other and laugh. The cab driver laughs — first at his gibberish, then with us as I say, “only thing left to do is laugh.

Continue reading