The first time I eat here, it is just like a film. In the ground floor of a tower block, there is a sliding door and beside it, a case containing plastic food. Inside, businessmen sit along a wooden bar watching the chef prepare fish, and steam rise from the rice. 

We are ushered toward a raised compartment at the back of the room, and remove our shoes. Stepping up inside it, onto tatami matting that smells like wet hay or how my old cat smelt after she had been out in the rain, we fold ourselves ready to eat. There are cushions around a low table and ceramic pots for soy sauce and toothpicks. 

We are served green tea tasting like earthy grass, miso soup, and large dishes into which salmon and roe have been arranged, sparkling. Underneath the fish lies pearly rice, tiny strips of omelette, and ginger and wasabi horseradish paste, spread in two daubes like paint. The bowls are made with rims around their bases that create shadow gaps for them on the low table, in the low light. 

Afterwards, we slide open the door and emerge on the concrete and steel street.