Customers arrive at the imo-fry restaurant
The red noren flag means they're open for business - the other customers (Keiko and Aki) have already gone in.
The total absence of urban planning usually results in a confused jumble of buildings too close together, but here it has given us this little hut, standing in proud isolation among the paddies. And this little hut is a restaurant, serving what seems to be a Sano speciality. This is "eating in Sano" insofar as we're within the city limits, but it's hard to imagine a more rural location for an eatery.
This seems to be a Sano speciality: properly speaking I should Romanise it as imo-furai, where imo means 'potato' and the -furai suffix is a standard Japanese culinary term, meaning 'fried in breadcrumbs'. Here this process is applied to pieces of potato on a skewer, which have already been semi-cooked by boiling (or steaming?). The result is eaten with gloopy brown sauce, of a type that would be instantly recognisable at least by anyone who grew up in Britain. So this is a snack of universal appeal, rather than a delicacy. It's also inexpensive, at around 50 yen per stick, and there are many tiny establishments dotted around Sano dedicated to this dish, often opening for only a few hours a day.
|A partly-eaten skewer of imo-fry with appropriate lashings of sauce|
Reference: my entry for imo at jeKai.org