Maruka and the search for Lamb – Numazu

27 08 2007

“Lamb arimasuka?”

The woman behind the counter tilts her head to the side and continues to look at me, lost.

Hmm, how about this; “Lambu arimasuka?” I ask again. I am met with a tilt of the head in the other direction. I mentally kick myself for not bringing my English-Japanese dictionary but plough on into another variant of saying lamb.

After the third tilt of the head I am starting to wonder if I repeatedly say lamb really fast then perhaps the counter woman’s head might just pop off like a cork out of a wine bottle. Struggling to control my amusement over this mental reenactment, I change tactic to inquiring about the availability of mutton.

Success. There is mutton. My wife pipes up with an inquiring “Baby mutton?” This is met by yet another tilt of the head. The poor woman behind the counter is going to need a neck brace by the time we have finished with her.

Fortunately I came up with one better than my wife (a very rare occurrence). “kodomo mutton?” I inquire.

“Oh lamb,” the counter woman responds glaring at me as if she was thinking, ‘why didn’t you say so in the first place’? My wife retreats to stifle a laugh as I stoically chew on my cheeks and swallow my own guffaw.

We have lamb!

Australians and New Zealanders especially love their lamb. We grew up with eating it. It is very much apart of our culture and we start acting funny funnier when we are without it.

After recently returning from a little over a month relaxing in Thailand, my wife and I met up with a Japanese friend of ours who we proceed bore about our trip in exchange for providing her with some quality souvenirs from our vacation. Finally our conversation led to our obsessive roast lamb dining habits while staying in the resort town of Pattaya.

Our friend stirred and quickly added, as we paused from our relentless story telling, “You can get lamb in Numazu”.

We were at a loss for words. I managed to mumble to her a startled, “You can get lamb in Numazu? Where?” Excitement was starting to flood over me. I now realize why torturers are so violent. Its the pure excitement of getting the information out immediately. I know that I felt like leaping across the table onto our poor friend and shake her down until she spilled the beans on the location, of the sacred lamb.

Perhaps seeing the wild desperation in our eyes she quickly told us that it could be found on the north side of the Numazu station following the road north towards eSPOT. A place called Maruka.

Maruko- butchers grocers

We knew Maruka well. Maruka has regularly supplied us with such a diverse range of meats from, beef and pork to chicken and duck with sweet meats in between. They offer a variety of cuts and there is even a section for you to have your meat cut to order. The best part in the price. These guys are very competitive in their prices and the quality is generally quite high. Another bonus of Maruka is that they also offer a large assortment of fresh fruit, vegetable and fish; also very cheap.

Now to our embarrassment there was lamb and mutton at Maruka all along.

I ordered about 600grams of boneless loin strips, at 100yen per 100grams, that our friendly, head tilting, woman behind the counter cut to order and an assortment of prepacked chops and spare riblets. Again Maruka surprised us with their variety and quality food.

It’s Lamb for dinner tonight and a little slice of home.

P.S. Just so you don’t suffer the same predicament that we faced, here is the Japanese word for lamb; ramuniku. Failing that, this is the word for still living lambs; kohitsuji. Best of luck. Scott.

Directions: On the north side of Numazu Station head north towards eSPOT. It will be on your right hand side.MyMaps at

Style: Butchers specializing in foreign style cuts of Beef, Pork, Lamb, Mutton, Chicken, Duck, Fish and Sweet Meats. They also provide a good selection of groceries. All prices are very competitive and the quality generally quite good.