As you know, the economies of the US and Europe are yet to recover, and Japan is still in serious recession. People refrain from buying expensive things, and though the sales of the condos in Tokyo are picking up, most of the ones in rural areas remain vacant. And in order to pinch pennies people repair their 10-year-old cars instead of buying new ones. As for food, Gyudon, which I'm going to introduce this time, is one of the least expensive dishes people now enjoy at restaurants.
There are a few Gyudon shops, but the most popular one is this Yoshinoya. It's taste is better than the others, but the least expensive Gyudon bowl costs 300 yen, while Matsuya and Sukiya offer a 280 yen bowl. You might think the 20 yen difference doesn't matter so much, but the latter two are profiting more than this Yoshinoya.
But my friend insisted on having Gyudons at this Yoshinoya because he's a huge fan of the Yoshinoya Gyudon. The red seasoning you see on your left is Shichimi, which tastes like Tabasco but consists of seven hot spices. "Shichi" means "seven".
The left dish is Gyudon. It is a bowl that has rice and slices of beef seasoned with soy sauce and sugar as one of the two toppings. The other topping is slices of onion. The onion makes the beef softer and gives it a mild and rich taste. Some people are so addicted to this Gyudon that a customer became violent at a Yoshinoya when the American beef that Yoshinoya uses wasn't available a few years ago due to the disease called BSE a.k.a. mad cow disease. The right bowl is Tonjiru, which is a kind of miso soup that has tiny pieces of pork as the main ingredient.
There are countless Yoshinoyas across Japan, so you'd see one in the place of Japan you're going to visit. Give it a try. =) Btw, the art teacher from the anime Hidamari Sketch is called Yoshinoya too, but I haven't seen any person named Yoshinoya in reality so far.