A Book Worm

男の作法 池波正太郎
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男の作法

 

「火事と喧嘩は江戸の華」という言葉がありますが、先日、神田の藪蕎麦が全焼したニュースを聞いたとき、指定文化財が失われたというのに、妙に納得した自分がいました。もちろん、私は山形生まれなので、江戸っ子の心情を押し計るのは、筋違いもはなはだしいのですが、火事なら仕方がないと思えたのです。焼失してしまった藪蕎麦には、江戸の粋を垣間見せてもらった思い出があります。
私が古本屋に就職した当時、神保町には松村書店という洋古書を扱っている書店がありました。店主の松村さんは、とにかく豪快で気前良く、他店の社員であろうが、飲み食いに連れ出してくれる方でした。

ある晩、藪蕎麦に行ったときのことです。運ばれた蕎麦を食べようとする私を見て、松村さんは一喝。「おまえ、なにもわかってないな」
私は、そのときまで、蕎麦に食べ方があると知りませんでした。ちょこにつゆを注いで、薬味を入れたら、ツルツル食べさえすればよい、そう思っていたのです。松村さんは神保町生まれの神保町育ち。正真正銘の江戸っ子。田舎丸出しの私に江戸の食べ方を伝授してくれました。
「わさびは、つゆに溶かすのではなく、蕎麦にぬって食べるもの。つゆは、いっきに注ぐのではなく、必要に応じて少しずつ注ぎ足す」
「藪蕎麦の場合は、つゆが濃い口だから、尖端につけるだけでいいが、薄口の老舗もある。その場合は、たっぷりひたして食べていい」
「おまえ、その調子だと寿司と刺身の食い方も知らないだろ。そういうことは、池波正太郎の『男の作法』にみな書いてあるから、よく読んでおけ」

私はすぐさま書店に走り、『男の作法』を熟読しました。そして以後、ここ一番という山場を迎えると、背伸びをしながら敷居を跨ぎ、江戸っ子とはいかなくとも、東京人になりすましたのです。
だから、女性のみなさん!本書の作法を、ぎこちなく実践する若者がいたら、ぜひ多めにみてやってください。それは、あなたの気を惹こうと、一生懸命もがいている姿でもあるからです。

Y.Ernest SatowPHOTOGRAPHY BY KAZUO MINATO

  • No.007
  • “Otoko no Sahō” Shōtarō Ikenami
    Shinchobunko
  • TUESDAY, 2nd JULY, 2013 by Yoshiyuki Morioka

There is a saying: “Fires and fights are the flowers of Edo”. When I heard the news of Yabusoba in Kanda burning up completely the other day, even though a designated cultural property was lost, there was a part of me that was oddly satisfied. Of course, I was born in Yamagata, so it would be terribly misdirected for me to guess the feelings of native Tokyoites, but it seems that there is no helping fires. I remember getting a glimpse of Tokyo urbanity in the burnt up Yabusoba.
When I was hired at a used bookshop, there was a bookstore in Jimbocho carrying western books called “Matsumura Shoten”. The owner, Mr. Matsumura, was a large-hearted and generous man who would take everyone eating and drinking, even if they were employees of another store.

One night, we went to Yabusoba. Mr. Matsumura thundered as he looked at me as I was about to eat the soba brought to me, “You don’t know anything.”

I hadn’t known until then that there was a way to eat soba. I thought that as long as you poured tsuyu into the small sake cup, put the condiments in and slurp the soba while you eat it was okay. Mr. Matsumura was born and raised in Jimbocho. He was a genuine Tokyoite. He imparted the way Tokyoites eat to me, being that I was fresh from the countryside.
“You don’t melt the wasabi in the tsuyu but rather spread it on the soba and eat it. Nor do you pour the tsuyu all in at once, but refill it little by little as you need it.
“In the case of Yabusoba, the tsuyu is strong so you can just dip the tip in, but there are also restaurants with weak ones, too. In that case, you can dip it in a lot.”
“I’m guessing you probably also don’t know how to eat sushi and sashimi. Shōtarō Ikenami has written all about it in “Otoko No Sahō”. Read it carefully.”

I ran off to the bookstore immediately and poured over “Otoko No Sahō”. The point of the story is that I crossed a hurdle while biting off more than I could chew and, while not becoming a native Tokyoite, I have been able to pass as a Tokyoite. So, women! If there is any young men who is awkwardly practicing the book’s manners, please give him a little extra time! He is trying very hard to get you attracted to him.