My First Omurice: The Kichi Kichi Experience
On January 2017, my boyfriend Mike and I bought our first ever tickets to Japan. The logical next step after that was to make reservations for Kichi Kichi (キチキチ). I'd seen videos all over the internet of the red knit beanie-donning chef Yukimura Motokichi slicing the fluffy omelette in half, so you can understand my disappointment when I found out that reservations can only be made 6 weeks in advance. Since Kichi Kichi opens up their reservations weekly starting on Sunday, I set an alarm for May 28th to reserve a date for the first week of July. Out of curiosity, I checked their website on Saturday May 27th to see if it’d been open (Japan time) since I am on CST time USA. Fortunately, it was, and I was able to make a reservation at exactly 9:58PM on May 27th. From that day forward until July 7th, I spent my late nights searching (and drooling) over lucky strangers’ photos and videos of the most perfect fluffy omelette rice on the internet.
Fast forward to July 7th in Kyoto, Japan. Mike and I had spent most of our day in Arashiyama, an area west of Kyoto. Seeing as this was the beginning of the trip and we had two more countries to stop at, we planned on sharing one large omurice plate. We left Arashiyama in time to come back to central Kyoto to recharge our phones and camera battery at Tully’s Coffee, a coffee chain in Japan. The reservation was for 8PM and we left around 6:30 to start walking towards Kichi Kichi (better safe than sorry). Five minutes from the restaurant around 7PM, I realized I’d left my camera battery at Tully’s. I couldn’t imagine NOT being able to post hi-res photo or film the moment I’d been waiting so long for so Mike decided it was best to go fetch it himself. As Mike weaved in and out of the crowd to get to the cafe, I waited at the famous San-Jo bridge watching the sunset. It was 7:20 and Mike, while out of breath, arrived with my extra battery.
Kichi Kichi doesn’t allow you to come in earlier than the reserved time out of respect for other customers so we waited on a bench outside. We saw people who had come by, then proceeded to walk away in disappointment that it was reservations only.
We began lining up at 7:40PM. At around 7:50PM, a 6 person group that seemed to have had reservations as well lined up behind us. The hostess opened the door and said something incoherent; we assumed she said something along the lines of “Welcome, please come in.” The group began to walk towards the door and after seeing that they’d cut in front of us, I proceeded to cut in front of them. I went straight to the middle seats of the bar, set my bag down, and greeted the Chef with an awkward smile. Never in a million years could I predict what was going to happen next.
We weren’t on the reserved list for that night.
I pull up my email to show proof of my reservation and it turned out it was made for July 06, 2017 (the day prior). My confirmation email stated “06/07/2017” since the date is written in reverse in Asia. I incompetently assumed 7 translated to “7th of July.” In addition, I learned that the hostess had called the name of the girl whose group’s reservation was under; I was embarrassed and ashamed to say the least.
We jokingly but desperately told the Chef & his staff we'd be willing to dine outside in the alleyway. On our way out the door disappointed and in disbelief, the Chef offered us a large table/booth to share with another couple who’d came without reservations. Who knew a booth in the back existed?