A couple of nights back, after accomplishing a bucket list item I’ll cover in due time, I stopped by the Fussa location of CoCo Ichibanya. As I’m here in Tokyo, there was no way I could let this entire trip pass without me stopping by my favorite food spot in all of the Kanto Region. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: my first experience at CoCo Ichibanya.
How I first came across this moment? I noticed CoCo the very first time I rode a train in Tokyo. The Fussa location is literally just outside of the turnstiles of Fussa Station. I wasn’t really interested in trying it out so I always passed on it in favor of McDonald’s and KFC across the square. That all changed when I hooked up with 2 of my co-best friends in Tokyo. On Friday evenings, we’d either find ourselves riding the trains into Tokyo, cruising around Fussa and Tachikawa, or dining it at Aeon Mall Diamond City. On one of our Friday night adventures into Tachikawa, we stopped by CoCo to dine in. I decided I’d give it a try. There was a 7-Eleven next door and I could always get a Fanta Melon soda to kill the taste if it was bad. So, after my friends explained the menu to me, I ordered. I decided on fried chicken curry, double meat at their suggestion. I opted for the 300 grams of rice with spice level 2. I added a piece of naan bread to make it a meal. The food presentation looked good and it tasted just as good. I got through half of the meal before the spice hit me. When I got home, I drunk an entire pint of milk to cool the spice. It was a lot of kick for a supposedly low level of spice. But from that point on, I started conditioning myself for the spice, eventually making it up to Level 8.
What it meant to me then? Before I dined in at CoCo Ichibanya, I hadn’t really tried out any Japanese food aside from the authentic ramen noodles that I got from the Japanese dining facility at Yokota Air Base on my first day in country. For the most part, I ate Western foods. That changed when I ate at CoCo for the first time. It ended up being my favorite spot. On my way back home from my adventures in Tokyo, if I wasn’t getting half a whole chicken from the Chicken Shack, I was getting CoCo-to-Go. The experience opened me up to other Japanese foods like yakisoba and sushi, which resulted in me expanding my palate.
What it means to me now? Today, whenever I’m anywhere in Japan like I am now, I’m scoping out for a CoCo Ichibanya. And I always get the same thing. I probably won’t be able to get another serving before I leave later today but next time I’m here, I’ll try for Level 10. I heard you have to sign a waiver for that one.