It should be said though, that CoCoichi is not as bad as places like Yoshinoya and Matsuya. The two main places to go for gyudon or stewed beef on rice ("beef bowl" to some) are even worse! At least CoCoichi has some tables and booths but at these beef bowl shops there are usually only long winding counters where you can go to rub elbows with the local salarymen. Even cheaper than CoCoichi you can get a beef bowl and miso soup for under 500 yen. Score! I ONLY do takeout at these places unless I'm with the beau, because it's just so...well the environment is prohibitive to eating there. As a woman not only are you spotlit by the lovely overhead lights but you'll be the only person with a vagina in the whole place with a bunch of salarymen sneaking glances at you in between scarfs at their beef bowls. Add being a foreigner into the mix and it's too much! I've never actually seen a woman by herself at these places and the beau's explanation for this is a combination of it being a) salaryman territory, b) cheap and nasty (in a tasty way) fare, and c) not aesthetically pleasing. Plus we all know real ladies (if you've seen Little Britain you can picture the accent I would use when saying this) wouldn't eat at places like this even if they have to spend twice as much elsewhere for the same amount of food/quality.
I can't really introduce CoCoichi without mentioning that it is a salaryman haven. Just in case anyone gets the wrong idea and thinks I am introducing gourmet fare, be forewarned. It's gourmet enough for me and you can't beat the price. Unfortunately however, it's basically salaryman fast food which means the inside decor is yellow and brown plastic lit up by fluorescent bulbs. Nice right? And you will rarely see women eating at these joints. When I'm working I'll duck in for a meal but I'll often get it to-go to avoid feeling like I've entered alien territory. There's obviously nothing wrong with salaryman fast food and I personally embrace it, but it can be so depressing sitting in these places, nary another female to be found. I always think Yes!!! Female curry lovers!! on the rare occasion I see another woman eating at CoCoichi.
The beau once pointed out a ramen place in Roppongi to me that has divided its long counter into very small booths so that women will feel more comfortable getting down and dirty with their ramen. I understand that. When I'm out for a meal during work which is more often than not alone, I would love some cheap and nasty salaryman fare but I also don't want to have to rush through my meal so the next guy can sidle up to the counter (I might go so far as to compare it to animals at a trough but without the mess). I also don't like feeling like I'm in a fishbowl as I get that enough at work. I guess that comes at a price doesn't it? At least I still have CoCoichi!