I am unable to resist
- 3 min read

Burgers at Jojo's in Niseko

Caving into my craving

It’s my fourth visit to Japan and I can say with some measure of pride that I have yet to sit down to a western-style meal at a restaurant. My abstention up to this point has nothing to do with an aversion to Japanese establishments serving up Italian, French or American cuisine per se, but more to do with the question: “Did I really come all this way not to eat something completely and wonderfully foreign to me?”

I bristled when a couple from Germany pulled out ham sandwiches from their backpacks on a trek atop the Great Wall of China. I shuddered when an American teenaged girl squealed in the limousine bus at the sight of a T.G.I. Fridays in the Shinagawa Ward of Tokyo. I shook my head at the sight of European 20-somethings passing on the local fare at New Year’s celebrations in Luang Prabang, Laos in favor of nutella baguette sandwiches.

Tonight I crossed a travel threshold of sorts when I sat down at Jojo’s in Niseko, Hokkaido for dinner. The café and bar is located on the upper floor of the Niseko Adventure Center and serves a wide range of hot and cold beverages, cakes and pastries. The café also has full menu for lunch and dinner of strictly western food that includes pizza, pasta and burgers.

I’m happy to say that while I did finally cave-in and eat a western meal, I believe I at least did so supporting a local business and not one those golden arch-esque enterprises. My selection was a cheeseburger served with potato wedges and a mug of draft beer. It was nice to see a number of tables filled with locals in the warmly lit restaurant as catchy world beat music played in the background. The wood post and beam construction gives the place a very coffee house and relaxed feel, a nice environment to enjoy a meal.

The burger, made from local Hokkaido beef, arrived accompanied by the aforementioned wedge potatoes and a large dollop of ketchup on the side. Burger accouterments shouldn’t stray too far from the tried, tested and true. Thankfully, the burger had that rare combination of quiet restraint and unctuous taste. There was cheese, naturally, and an addition that was no doubt Aussie-inspired: A fried egg. Yes, yes, I hear what you’re saying, the Aussies did bring us vegemite, Yahoo Serious, Mel Gibson and Paul “throw another shrimp on the barbie” Hogan. But all is forgiven with the addition of a fried egg to a hamburger.

It took four trips to Japan before I finally gave in and had a western meal at a sit-down restaurant. I am happy to say that at least I did so at a local joint, serving local products and doing so in a delicious way. If there was ever a place to cave to pressure, this may be it.

Was this article helpful?
Help us improve the site
Give Feedback

Join the discussion

Michael Flemming 10 years ago
RS, You earned a delicious burger after eating stomach and organs a short while ago.

Thank you for your support!

Your feedback has been sent.