This blog entry will be in English. The Japanese language tends to require a lot more care and attention to the context in which you speak/write. That should tell you everything you need to know.
So, I was riding along the banks of the Sumida River in the blazing post-monsoon heat, just taking in the spectacle when quite serendipitously （とても偶然に～すごく良い意味で！）I stumbled upon an old but attractive looking restaurant.
I neglected to take a picture of the entrance (was too excited to get inside!) so I have one of the inside instead:
There was something really authentic about the eating-house. The owner (a very smiley but frail Japanese lady) tells me it’s popular with construction workers. Yep. Right up my street （僕にぴったり！）.
I lastly enquire whether she uses MSG or any other inorganic substances. She scoffs, stares at me as if I had dissed her, then lists a medley of dried fish she uses to make the top secret broth. Satisfied with her reply, I place my order.
Here’s what I got after five minutes: 五目そば
No words on the presentation. At 610 yen it’s a steal（大変お得！）. My favorite toppings were the boiled egg, chicken, shiitake mushroom and fishcake (かまぼこ).
The soup was also out of this world （素晴らしかった）.
After praising the owner for a dish well done, we talked about her shop, the neighborhood and the food.
She showed me her soba machine, which looked like it an antique. She was too embarrassed to let me take a photo of it!
If I manage to find the restaurant in the maze that is the 下町 again I’ll upload access details!
**Update 2016 – I returned to this restaurant at a later date and to my horror walked in on a deliveryman dropping off a huge bag of MSG…. *sigh*