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YOKOSUKA, Japan — One of my favorite restaurants in my home state of North Carolina is a place called Snappy Lunch. Yes, the same Snappy Lunch that appeared in an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show.”

From fried pork chop sandwiches to pink hot dogs with chili and coleslaw on them, Snappy Lunch offers some of the best Southern food your money can buy. And it’s the first place I go to eat when I go home.

I may have found the Japanese version of Snappy Lunch in Nodaya, located a few blocks away from Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.

Nodaya offers a good home-cooked meal, Japanese style. Space is tight — there’s enough room for five people to sit comfortably or 10 to 12 to stand — but the restaurant nonetheless is inviting, a reflection of its owner, Keiko Sato.

Sato is a very kind lady who wouldn’t be out of place in a Southern kitchen. She made me feel at home and served up some good grub at a good price. Nothing on the menu is more than 600 yen.

The place is not fancy. My utensil was a plastic fork with three prongs, one obviously broken in the restaurant’s wash-and-use system. Chopsticks are available as well.

I ordered soba noodles — the best I have tasted during my two years in Japan — and tempura, which was light and crispy. Sato cooked it up right in front of me.

The drink menu is nonalcoholic, including several varieties of tea, but I settled for a couple glasses of water, always good-tasting because it’s free.

Patrons come and go easily and seem to know Sato well. Everyone gets a cheerful greeting and goodbye.

It’s nice to see that no matter how different cultures are, we all crave the same types of comforts, like good cooking and friendly service.

So if you’re in the mood for some home-style cooking that’s far from home, check out Nodaya.

See previous After Hours reviews here.


Hours: 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Prices: Nothing on the menu is over 600 yen.

Specialties: Soba noodles and tempura.

English menu: Yes, handwritten by the owner.

Dress: Casual.

Clientele: Young Japanese businessmen and older construction workers on their lunch break.

Location: From the Main Gate of Yokosuka Naval Base, walk toward the Yokosuka Chuo train station. Once on the main strip, walk three blocks down and take a right. The restaurant will be on the left side of the street.

Web site: none


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