There’s no need to look at the changing leaves to know what season it is; just walk into your nearest 7-Eleven outlet and sniff. Those trays of oden stewing by the checkout are all you need to know that winter is on its way.

For some this is soul food, warming and comforting; for others it is the rank smell of culture shock. Whichever side of the great divide you stand, though, one thing is certain: Your local convenience store will never deliver the authentic taste of any food. For that, you need to go to the source, to a long-established specialist — and for oden in Tokyo, that means a visit to Otafuku.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.