Lone Gourmet to Celebrate End of the Day

Lone Gourmet——is a lone act to eat food without being bothered by anybody or caring for anybody. This act is the greatest comfort equally given to modern humans.

—from Kodoku No Gurume(Lone gourmet) by Masayuki Kuzumi

After I finished my job one day, I felt relieved to get through a busy week. Then suddenly I had the urge to have good food, though I didn’t have any company. Liver sashimi came up to my mind and made me want to eat it. Remembering that there was a Yakiton (grilled pork on skewers) izakaya called Hayashiya in Ikebukuro, which serves a variety of liver sashimi, I headed off to Hayshiya’s first store, but it was full. Though I thought that it might be better just to give up and go homeI had my appetite for the liver sashimi on my hands. So I couldn’t help myself but head off to the second store. Though they had a seat available, they made sure twice that I had no company. Right, I was all by myself.

I ordered a beer, liver sashimi and assorted yakitons. I had heard the store served big yakiton, almost double the size of ordinary ones. Its materials are so fresh that grilled livers are rare.

I told myself “Otsukare”(You’ve done a good job.) and had a beer, which soaked into my empty stomach. The liver sashimi was delicious and its size was true to its reputation. I like sashimi and always want to eat everything raw if it was possible. Because it was Sunday, tripe sashimi was on the menu, which you usually have to book on weekdays. So I ordered it with an apple highball. The tripe sashimi had nice texture. I liked the taste very much. Then I couldn’t help myself but order uterus sashimi, which was well seasoned and delicious as well. I was happy enough to have as much sashimis as I had wanted. Because I had regretted a little bit that I didn’t buy raw peanuts on the bus tour, I was pleased to find boiled peanuts on the menu and had it too. Though as usula I couldn’t deny I had too much, I enjoyed the lone party and appreciated the lone gourmet.

Some girls seem to be impressed that I often enjoy dining out alone. They say the café is the only place they can go all by themselves. But I don’t think myself as “Ohitorisama”. Ohitorisama means to do things all by oneself consciously, and to stretch the point, it sounds like it is in style with a type of solitary beauty. On the other hand, there is an expression “Bocchi”, a shorten word for “hitoribocchi” which means “alone”. Bocchi cannot be free from loneliness. When you find yourself alone without knowing, you are bocchi. When someone is doing something alone, she might describe herself as a bocchi, but not Ohitorisama. Bocchi sounds like it has a nuance of self-deprecating in a way. I heard Bocchi’s antonym is Riaju( people who have a real life.), but people who message that “I am Bocchi in a restaurant now,” on SNS seems to be trying to impress others. They might be, in a sense, Riaju, I guess. It is the same that the “lone gourmet” doesn’t come with real loneliness.

Ohitorisama or Bocchi, these expressions are used under the assumption of being with someone else. Ohitorisama is the act of doing something by oneself consciously, and Bocchi is the state of being all by oneself when she realizes it. I think my case is more like Bocchi. As far as I could remember, I have been doing things all by myself from childhood.

Despite this, I felt lonely when I couldn’t fit in school and didn’t have a close friend to have lunch with on a school trip. When you think that being with somebody is natural, sudden loneliness seems to attack you. That is especially true to the act of dining. I often hear that lone dining is not common in some countries. I wonder what people who don’t have many friends should do in such countries. Do they have to cook by themselves? That must develop lonely feelings. I want to enjoy a lone gourmet, not loneliness. Though I hear the expression “enjoying loneliness” sometimes, I think as long as you could enjoy it, it cannot be “loneliness”.

When you think dining alone is natural, the act wouldn’t be called Ohitorisama nor Bocchi. Old men who enjoy lone dining wouldn’t think themselves as Ohitorisama or Bocchi. They just enjoy good food. My mentality is close to them but I am a lady. Sometimes I feel a cold wind going through in me from feeling lonely. It often happens in this winter season.

It’s a shame that I can’t think of anyone around me who like guts or raw meats. It is a season for motsu(innards) hot pots! So I cannot help but feel lonely when I want to eat a motsu hot pot.

If you are fond of innards food, please contact me!

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This post is also available in : Japanese

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