Okay, meat lovers, here's another post just for you! On my way home from work every day, I ride my bike right past this little sidewalk shop. Beneath red lanterns spelling out "yakitori," a little old man and a little old lady grill skewers of chicken over a small charcoal grill. Next to the grill are two light-boxes, one for keeping grilled skewers hot, the other containing grilled chicken parts. There's a small table with stools in front of the shop for those too hungry to wait, but I suspect most of their business is takeout. There's almost always at least one or two people lined up, waiting for their grilled to order chicken.
Basic yakitori is probably one of the most squeamish-foreigner-friendly foods Japan has to offer. Little bite-sized pieces of chicken on a stick - what could be simpler? Well, the truth is that you could get into a lot of trouble with yakitori. It's not just the meat they grill, but the liver, the heart, the gizzard, the cartilage... in short, no part of the chicken goes to waste. On the other hand, there are lots of choices for safe, simple meat. You can get chicken-with-onions, breast meat, thigh meat, even a super special young chicken meat at some shops. So if you're a meat eater, enjoy yakitori. Just make sure to go with someone who you trust to order what you want to order.