Isekai Izakaya [Nobu]
The Potato in Oden (Part 1)
“Recently, there’s this place that everyone’s been talking about in the Old Capital.”
Just hearing that made Hans’ stomach rumble.
This was after their harsh training.
Hans is employed cheaply as a soldier in the Old Capital, and within his wages is the obligation to undertake training. Thanks to that, it’s not like his figure doesn’t have a firm feel to it, but with his unruly brown hair and large eyes, even though his years have already surpassed twenty-○, he still looks kind of young.
There was a new commanding officer because of the increase in soldiers, so training was exceedingly strict. Even today, Hans’ corps went out beyond the Old Capital’s walls, marching all the way until they reached Albruke Forest. The just-like-real-combat training has a bad reputation.
But, that aside, right now is dinner time.
Another happy thing is that today is payday, so the weight of Hans’ wallet is a little reliable.
Like that, there’s no need to stick by the familiar bar that puts out cheap-selling, sour ale. Hearing about a shop that has rumors around it caused him to walk faster; there was no reason to hesitate.
Even though the shop was in the Old Capital, it was standing in a place that was hard to reach.
Further more, it was a weird looking shop.
In this Old Capital where each building is made of stone with the eaves all connected to each other, only this one build is made of wood with plaster. The roof is … slate shingles; it’s probably what’s popular in the Capital. They’re strange an wavy; it has a mysterious atmosphere.
And then, there’s the signboard.
If it were a regular shop, there’d be a bronze-made signboard stuck out on the side of the street, but this shop had a large wooden plank, with foreign letters spelling out something or other.
“Oi Nicolas. That signboard, what’s written on it?”
“Aa, it seems like ‘Izakaya Nobu’ is what’s written there.”1
The one who led Hans here was in the same regiment, “Moustache” Nicolas, is somehow knowledgeable.
“Nobu? Is it someone’s name?”
“Aa, it looks like it’s this place’s master’s name. Nobu Taisho. It’s fine to call him Taisho in the shop.”
That’s clearly not a name from around here. He’s probably from one of the clans on the frontier.
“By the way, Nicolas. What kind of stuff do they serve at this shop?”
“Dunno. It changes day-to-day.”
“Day-by-day? What do you mean?”
Like they serve meat, or they serve fish. It should be obvious that a shop would have some kind of specialty. There are also shops with delicious alcohol. A shop that has everything and where everything is delicious is inconceivable.
In the first place, in this Old Capital, there aren’t many kinds of cooking in itself. At best it’s sausage, cheese, soup, and stew. As well as potatoes and pickled cabbage.
“Ma, you’ll just have to eat it to get it, Hans.”
“If you say that much, Nicolas, I’ll just have to trust you. Because we’ve been have potatoes nonstop day in and day out in the barracks. As long as it’s not potatoes, anything’s fine.”
At that moment Hans noticed something strange.
(… this is, glass?)
The wood sliding door had a lattice pattern, but in between the spaces were glass-like things. Because it was cloudy you normally couldn’t tell if it was inferior or not just by looking, but for Hans whose dad and older brother are traveling glass artisans, he could tell with just a glance.
“… Oi, Nicolas. Is this really gonna be ok?”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m talking about the bill; even if you say it’s because today’s payday…”
“Whaaat, you’re worrying to much. Here you can even put it on a tab.”
While slapping the worrying Hans on the back, Nicolas opened the sliding door and entered the shop.
When they entered the shop, two voices called out.
The first, more polite one was a woman. The last, shortened version was a man.
The interior wasn’t very big; at the counter there were six seats, and there were only two tables. Everything is organized snugly together, but there is a bright sense of cleanliness. Their luck was good, since inside the shop there was still only one customer.
Nicolas slipped into a seat at the counter like he was used to it and ordered, “Torieazu Nama! Give this guy one too!”
<T/N: Torieazu nama – “A draft (beer) to start with”>2
“Oi, hang on, what was that, the Toriae …whatever?”
“Aa, Toriaezu Nama you mean. Even if you think I’m messing with you, give it a drink. You’ll be surprised.”
“Drink? Is it alcohol?”
“Aa, it’s ale.”
If that’s the case, then he has no complaints. Above all, Hans loves drinking ale first before a meal.
But, he’s fussy in his tastes with this. There’ve been times when he relented and drank ok ale with his dad and older brother. If a shop puts out awful ale, then even if the food’s good, forget about it.
“Ok, two orders of nama, sorry for the wait. Pardon me, but I’ll be setting them down from the side, ne.”
The woman who appears to be the waiter brought the ales in glass mugs.
This is also glass. And further more these are transparent; they even prepared such high-class items. There’s no way this is an average business. You can’t tell with ceramic or wood mugs, but here you can clearly see that the ale is a transparent yellow, no, in the case of this Toriaezu Nama it’s a golden color. Unlike inferior ale, there’s also a fine froth on top. Trying to ascertain what the surface of the mug was made of, Hans stretched his hand out and,
As soon as he realized it, he drew his hand back. What a shock, it’s cold. What’s with this.
“Haha, I was startled at first too. Ma, for now just drink. Prost!”3
“O, ou, prost.”
Giving Nicolas, whose throat was making gulping noises, a glance, Hans took a deep breath.
Chilled ale, it’s something he hasn’t experienced before, but what the heck kind of thing is it?
In the cities around his hometown, other than Koenigsbroi,4 none of them would have thought to make this.
Gulp. Gulp. Gulp. Gluglugluglug.
Draining it off in one drink, Hans stared at the mug.
What. Is this.
Whether it’s delicious, whether it’s not delicious, that’s not the issue here. The feeling of it going down your throat, its cleanness, all of it, compared to all the ale he’s drunk up until now it’s wholly different.
“N, how was it, Hans? Good right?”
“… like, cow urine.”
“Ha?” and Nicolas made a confused face.
“I’m saying, all the ale I’ve drunk up until now is like cow urine!”
“Ufufu, was it that delicious? Would you like another nama next?” to that question the waitress asked, Hans nodded deeply in agreement.
“Aa, Toriaezu Nama, one more!”
“Ok, thank you very much. Add an order of nama!”
Now that he looked, before his eyes Nicolas was picking up the beans that came in bunches placed between the two of them like they were delicious.
“Oi, what’s that?”
“This is an appetizer. Beans boiled in salt.”5
“Beans huh. The husks aren’t peeled; are they cutting corners?”
“No, it’s not that. There’s salt sprinkled on these husks, so if you eat it like this … it’s perfectly seasoned with salt.”
“… ho hou.”
To try it out, one mouthful.
Using his fingers to push the beans through the skin, along with a pop kind of texture it entered his mouth.
Pop, one bite.
Pop, one bite.
Pop, one bite.
Interesting, fun, and delicious.
This is, a dirty trick. For example, if these appetizer beans were already out of their hulls, then you’d use a spoon to scoop them up and eat them; you probably wouldn’t have this fascination.
“Nicolas, this is, I can’t stop.”
“Aa, it’s impossible to stop. It’s delicious, and with this, it matches well with Toriaezu Nama.”
“Unfair, just you drinking!”
“Right, thanks for waiting.”
Like it was answering Hans’ request, another cold Toriaezu Nama was brought out to him.
With the appetizer in his mouth, just like that he drank the Toriaezu Nama, and,
Nicolas *bang bang* smacks the somehow delighted Hans’ back.
Splendid. It’s a splendid shop.
He’s not sure which distillery this mysteriously named Toriaezu Nama ale came from, but it’s simply great.
Full of humanly satisfaction, Hans looked around the shop’s interior.
The female waiter was, with nothing else to do, immediately moving to wipe the shop’s table, clear away cups, and moving around taking care of the details.
With black hair tied behind her back and a white triangular cloth wrapped around her head, she was overflowing with a somewhat exotic appeal. She also had the characteristic of having black eyes. Though she had a slender face her figure is somewhat sensual, but it doesn’t have a lewd feeling anywhere you look.
In front of them, behind the counter, is “Taisho,” a man reminiscent of a veteran warrior.
With the same black hair and all of his nails recently clipped short to about the same height, the trained eyes that he scanned the ingredients with were like the air of a resident of the battlefields. The clothes are also strange; as expected these are probably people from the frontier.
“By the way, Taisho, what can we get to eat today?”
In response to Nicolas’ question, Taisho lifted his face and responded.
“Today is oden.”
- Izakaya – not really a pub, or a tavern, but it’s not just a bar either. A casual, usually small, dining area to stay and drink your sake accompanied with delicious food. That’s what an izakaya is. For the name, I will be leaving it as “izakaya”. For non-formal nouns it will be “tavern”. Because, it’s kind of close enough to a tavern?
- toriaezu nama beer – toriaezu (for now), and nama beer is draft beer (beer on tap), often shortened just to nama. But yeah, it’s a phrase often used by those drinker-types before they even take a look at the menu, basically meaning, “First start us off with a round of beers!” I left a translation note in text too, since the entire joke is lost if you wait to the end to check the footnotes. Yes, they’re assuming that toriaezu nama, in katakana, is the name of the ale. And yes, I giggled every time I translated it.
- prost – german for cheers.
- kenihisburoi – I’m starting to get the feeling there’s a lot of katakana representing German … if I translated the German wrong, sorry. I took French in high school. I know the first half is Koenigs, but … Koenigsburg? Well, I just left it as Koenigsbroi. Because … I dunno!
- otoshi – I translated it as appetizer, but an otoshi is a small dish that’s automatically served with your drink. If I was translating it more literally, it might be “accompaniment” instead of appetizer. However, unlike American peanuts or whatever they give you at a bar, you are charged for otoshi, though it’s not mentioned; it’s a culturally understood charge. Just saying, there are often times when you will not be allowed to NOT have the otoshi and drink, so it’s best to ask right off the bat. Whether the shop you’re in is being enterprising or not, at least the general idea behind it is that they don’t want you drinking on an empty stomach. In this case, I’m guessing the otoshi is edamame, boiled soybeans in their pods, even if they don’t outright say it.
<T/N: Synopsis at the index:
Hm… I haven’t decided if I’m going to do this one, but I love izakaya culture so much (and other world culture shock) so I couldn’t resist doing the first chapter. I just love ossan-type drinking food, I mean, my favorite food is stewed daikon in dashi. Anyway, if I do anymore chapters I’ll post them, but don’t expect too much.
The problem is: 2 translations with 1 being slower was just about right for my abilities. 3 translations … urk.>