Addictive Spicy Curry Rice

essay, Apr. 2019

mao nakazawa

Today, I got off on the small station called Nishi-Koyama, Tokyo. At Nishi-Koyama, my destination is always the same.

Last summer, I was so busy with my new job as a photographer and so exhausted with such work in the summer heat (summer in Tokyo is harsh and intensive), that I always ran into a restaurant called “Chiisa Katta Onna.”

It means a woman who was little. This strange-name-restaurant serves delicious curry rice.

Curry is not originally from Japan, but curry rice, literally curry on the rice, became a unique Japanese food at the end of the 19th century.

Today, curry rice is one of the major and most popular foods in Japan, both home-cooked and for eating out.

There are many curry rice restaurants in Japan, and each one of them has its unique and local taste, but my favorite one is definitely the one at “Chiisa Katta Onna.”

Its spicy curry rice is addictive. Eating a bite wakes up all the nerves that have “slept” so far, crushing tiredness that has accumulated in my body. From the third bite, I feel as if I would be in an exotic tropical land, which is totally different from Japan.

The curry rice at “Chiisa Katta Onna” also looks like an island surrounded by ocean. Eating it, I feel as if I would have come to a small resort, which exists only for me.

Pickled cabbage, which I was also served as a side dish in a big jar, was also delicious. Everything here became my energy, and tiredness in my body vanished.

I started going to “Chiisa Katta Onna” several years ago. “A friend of mine has just started a restaurant. Why don’t come with me?” One of my friends asked me this, and so that was when I first ate the addictive spicy curry rice.

I was surprised at first when I heard that all the tables, chairs, and shelves at the restaurant were the shopkeepers’ handmade. However, I immediately knew that the warm atmosphere of the restaurant came from this handmade furniture.

Also, kind shopkeepers contributed to making the restaurant comfortable. When I visit there, they always listen to me and talk warmly.

Surrounded by old-fashioned interiors and imported books, I also feel as if I were in the world of a picture book.

At “Chiisa Katta Onna,” you can always be away from the hectic real world and have some rest.

After eating the curry rice, I ordered a chilled soya milk pudding and ice coffee, while enjoying the sunlight through the window and seeing lots of customers in and out. Recently, the number of customers has increased.

It was a small, cozy restaurant before, but now, even a friend of mine, who was fond of curry, knows “Chiisa Katta Onna.”

I’m happy that the restaurant is becoming popular and famous, but at the same time, I feel a little lonely, seeing my secret cozy place changing to a big restaurant for everyone.

Yet, surely “Chiisa Katta Onna” enables everyone to relax. Once you open its door, you’ll be taken to another world, filled with exotic, spicy and delicious flavors.

“Chiisa Katta Onna”
Address: 5-25-14 Oyama, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo Casa Five 1F
TEL: 03-6888-2292
[Tue-Thu, Sun, Holiday] 11:30-15:00 / 17:00-21:00
[Fri, Sat] 11:30-15:00 / 17:00-23:00
Closed on Monday

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written by

mao nakazawa

Photographer and essayist. Born in 1988, Tokyo, Japan. Based in Tokyo.
I am updating my blogs "record of tokyo" with film photographs.
Feel free to contact me!

website: cameranakazawa.com
instagram: @_maonakazawa_
twitter: @_maonakazawa_

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