When the snow starts falling, our boss’ stomach starts grumbling for this weird spin on a classic Japanese comfort food.

Thursday morning at SoraNews24 headquarters was especially quiet. Not only was our staff still shaking off the cobwebs of our recent New Year’s break, a steady snowfall was blanketing not only the rooftops of Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood, but seemingly our minds as well, putting everyone in a mellow mood.

Until suddenly the tranquility was shattered, as usual, by our boss, SoraNews24 founder Yoshio.

“Ahhhhh! I almost forgot!” he shouted from his desk, before standing up and bolting to the window. “It’s snowing! It’s snowing! IT’S TIME!!!”

Elegant maturity has never been our strong suit, so childlike (i.e. loud) wonder at seeing falling snow isn’t outside the realm of what to expect in our office, especially since downtown Tokyo gets, at most, a few snow days a year. Still, we weren’t sure what he meant by “It’s time,” so we asked.

“Don’t you realize what this means? It means that for lunch, I can have Shinjuku yuki chazuke! It’s a super-rare gourmet delicacy, and you can only eat it on days like today!”

As is so often the case when talking to our fearless leader, his answer just left us with more questions. Sure, chazuke, a bowl of rice with green tea poured over it, is a pretty standard Japanese dish. But yuki/”snow” chazuke is something we’d never heard of.

Still, the Shinjuku neighborhood has a countless number of restaurants, so maybe one of them has some special sort of ochazuke that they only serve on snowy days? We’d never come across such a restaurant ourselves, but maybe there was a special little hole in the wall that only Yoshio knows about since he runs off there to indulge in fine dining while the rest of us are hard at work.

Eager to learn where this secret culinary paradise might be, we decided to tail Yoshio as he dashed out the door to get his Shinjuku yuki chazuke fix, only to notice that he was holding something in his hands.

Huh…he’d made a quick detour to the office kitchenette to fill up a bowl with rice from the rice cooker.

With the plot thickening/crazifying, we followed Yoshio down to the first floor and out of the building. From there, he hung a right and walked to the end of the block, only to abruptly stop and raise the bowl above his head.

As snowflakes began to accumulate in the bowl, Yoshio fervently closed his eyes and called out:

“Come to me, snow! Bestow upon me the Shinjuku yuki chazuke!”

Apparently the dish is a form of fusion cuisine, since it also required an incantation spoken in English:

“Miracle rising snow!!!”

Yes, it turns out that the Shinjuku snow chazuke isn’t something you buy, but something you make yourself, and Yoshio was happy to show off his results.

“Here, I’ll even let you guys have the first taste!” he generously offered. We took a bite, and…well, it tasted like white rice. Kind of cold white rice, since it had been out in the snowfall-chilly weather for a while at this point, but still. White rice.

But then Yoshio took a bite and shared his impression:

“Just as I expected, the minerals are completely different from normal chazuke. This is a flavor you can only get with a big assist from Mother Nature. Then there’s the subtle spiciness that comes from this snow falling in Shinjuku. If you made snow chazuke, say, up north in Hokkaido, it’d probably be a lot milder in flavor. Really, if any restaurant had the good sense to serve Shinjuku snow chazuke, they’d get at least one Michelin star, for sure.”

We didn’t have the heart to tell our boss that snow, generally speaking, isn’t supposed to be spicy, and that some of the “minerals” he was consuming might be things the snow had picked up while falling through downtown Tokyo’s less-than-pristine atmospheric conditions on its journey down to his bowl. We also decided not to tell him that his snow chazuke was missing the cha/tea part of its ingredients. In the end, as is often the case with Yoshio’s schemes, we don’t recommend imitating, and encourage you to stick to other crazy lunch options like Attack on Titan rice balls that “shouldn’t be on sale” instead.

Photos © SoraNews24
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