Sojo in Waseda: Tokyo’s only vegan Esperanto-talking cafe

We all enjoy Japanese foods, but sometimes it’s awesome to have a modify, and I do not suggest a excursion to Carl’s Jr. When I want to take in something reassuringly healthful, nourishing and delicious, I head to Sojo Esperanto-Vegana Kafejo, a tiny vegan restaurant in Waseda which also occurs to be a hub for the city’s little group of Esperanto speakers.

Sojo is really a great deal a one particular-male band, so the proprietor-chef has a restricted menu, which improvements day to working day. All meals come with a tiny salad, brown rice and soup, and there is also a small a la carte menu. Brown rice is quite a rarity in Tokyo and tends to make a welcome transform, as it’s each tastier and additional filling than normal-difficulty white rice.

The chickpea curry comes highly encouraged, as does the household wine, a strong natural red wine from Spain, which will established you back a incredibly realistic ¥1,800 for a bottle.


Photograph: George Lloyd

You’d be forgiven for thinking that vegetarian delicacies is an unique import, but in simple fact, it has a prolonged background in Japan. Shojin ryori 精進料理 is the traditional diet of Japan’s Buddhist monks and grew in level of popularity soon after the arrival of Zen Buddhism in the 13th century. A typical shojin ryori meal is centered around food manufactured from soybeans, like tofu, along with seasonal greens and wild mountain vegetation. Sojo’s menu exhibits the chef to be considering alongside related traces.

The menu is in Esperanto, but don’t worry, it’s also in English and Japanese. The chef is an Esperanto speaker and silent advocate. On the restaurant’s partitions are copy prints celebrating Esperanto congresses all around the earth dating again to the convert of the 20th century. Even the guidance on how to flush the rest room are in Esperanto.


Photograph: George Lloyd

Esperanto is a intriguing language. It was produced by an idealistic Polish eye physician named L. L. Zamenhof in 1887, very long in advance of English became the world’s de facto second language. The phrase interprets into English as “one who hopes.” Alas, the hope that Esperanto would one working day come to be a common second language has come to naught. Getting stated that, with two million speakers about the world, researching Esperanto is not really as obscurantist an endeavor as you might believe.


Photograph: George Lloyd

Sojo has a calming, homely ambiance, which is partly down to the owner’s pleasant, unfussy service. The selling prices are amazingly fair – the set food, which will maintain you heading for a 7 days, is just ¥900.

You’ll come across it just down the highway from Waseda University, which lends the put an academic vibe. There is a small library of books about veganism, vegetarianism, and Esperanto, which you’re welcome to borrow.

Sojo Esperanto-Vegana Kafejo keeps restricted hours. It is not open on Monday or Tuesday, and during the relaxation of the week it is only open up concerning 5 pm and 9 pm, even though it opens at 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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