Is there ever a good time to be under a train? Well, yes. If it happens to be in Tottuan, which is directly under the loop line in Osaka. Every time a train rolls by you hear it, feel it — but not in a startling way — it’s just another part of the rhythm and ambience of a great little izakaya (Japanese pub).

When it comes to restaurant design there are at least two distinctive schools: glasnost, or openness and transparency, and its opposite. Tottuan in Fukushima — the gullet of Osaka — is firmly in the glasnost category. It’s a squat boxy restaurant with big windows that look out onto the street on one side, a snack bar at the entrance and a thoroughfare on the other side. Inside the glasnost theme continues; there’s no barrier between the kitchen and the diners, just everyone busy at work.

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