Slipping under the green noren and entering Tsukushinoko is a trip. "How'd they fit this joint in here," you think. Incongruous with its surroundings, Tsukushinoko is a very small sake pub that sits in a large, very new building. But you'd never know it from the inside. Warm and cozy, it feels more akin to someone's home than anything else.

That shouldn't be surprising, since the pub is run by a mother-and-son team. Both of them ran their own shops previously and several years ago consolidated their efforts into this place. They hauled all the trinkets, decorations, tables, chairs and refrigerators to the new building and re-created the old and weathered atmosphere.

Simple tables and chairs seat 25 to 30. Two separate sake refrigerators provide the proprietor, Tetsu Okawa, with something to lean on in the few spare moments he has. Over his shoulder, in a tiny kitchen with a short counter, his mother creates the folksy home cooking that constitutes a major part of the appeal of this place.