Tsukaya Liquor


There's a liquor store near my house called Tsukaya Liquor (塚屋酒店). One day when walking to the park I saw a sign in front of the shop advertising "Fresh Bread!" That struck me as odd, because it's a liquor store, right? Well, no, sort of. It turns out the shop is a small grocery store. They sell booze, groceries, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Plus, one of the women who runs the shop is chatty and likes to talk about where the produce comes from, and what seasons and months are best for what vegetables. It's a nice little place. It also turns out that the owner of the shop is a distant relative of my landlord, which is conceivable since the shop is near my apartment, but still it's Tokyo, so who would have guessed.

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Today I went there to get some bread and onions. They didn't have any onions, so instead I bought some natsumikans (from Ehime) and cherries (from Yamagata). We were chatting about the seasonal progression of mikans and mikan-related citrus hybrids. It turns out that the hybrids bear fruit at slightly different times of the year. The shopkeeper orders Japanese produce whenever possible, so she knows what's good when. And in the course of conversation, she mentioned that you can find random herbs and vegetables growing wild all over Tokyo. For example, across the street. So, she grabbed her shoes, and we went across the street to find some.

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When we got across the street, it took a minute for the shopkeeper to locate a kind of Japanese wild onion called Allium macrostemon (ノビル). The first ones we found were near the sidewalk and because of dog walking not good for eating. After another minute, she found another plant and pulled it up. Sure enough, there was a small onion at the bottom. Take it home, she said, and slice it and put it on toast, so I did, and it was good.

Today at the liquor store, I learned how to pick and eat wild onions in suburban Tokyo.

〒202-0023 東京都西東京市新町5-12-10