[The American Years]

Monday, March 12, 2007

Greetings from Japan.

Before this adventure in Japan began, I made a target for myself. I wanted to eat 3 foods available in Japan that are not common fare in the states.

#1) Ba Zashi, or raw horse meat sashimi. Eating horse is just plain unappetizing to us Americans. Can't really put my finger on why. Big hooved animal. Cow. Horse. Cow. ... Horse. I guess there's a difference that makes one of them edible and the other not, but I can't suss it.

So not only is this horsemeat, it's raw. Even more contrary to the Western palate.

Of course, the Japanese have found the most tender and delicious of the horsemeat, and serve it raw. I was able to have a plate of it here. So that target has been realized. And the meat was truly completely yummy. I highly reccomend it.

#2) Blowfish, or Fugu. The main draw of fugu is that if prepared wrong, it could kill a guy. So you need a license to prepare and serve it. Lots of energy going into licensing citizens to prepare it properly. But all in all, it's not that great. To me, it's like any other raw fish. And most of them could probably kill you with germs or mercury or whatever anyway. So there's a little less to set the poor blowfish apart from its friends in the sea. Poor blowfish. Save your money and buy some raw horse meat, I say.

#3) Kujira, or whale. The Japanese, thumbing their noses at international bans, have continued whaling. They are limited in the number they can catch each year. And they can continue because they are doing "scientific research" on the captured whales. Research like "Is it better raw, or deep fried?" I failed to eat the yummy whale. It's supposed to taste like the richest of beef cuts. Whale, the other red meat. I think they only catch and sell Minke whale, whatever that is.

So I failed to eat whale. But I got a consolation prize. Bear. I ate bear. It was back in September I think. The whole family ate bear. Did I say bear? Good. I meant bear. We ate bear. Little chunks of meat, resembling soft bacon, floating in our soup.

Goldilocks missed her chance. Forget the porridge, little girl. Too hot, too cold, too much hassle. The real meal is standing right in front of you. "Someone's been sitting in my chair.... Someone's been sleeping in my bed... Someone's been roasting my oshiri in a rotisserie, and she's still doing it."

The below slideshow-video is of the Tsujiki fish market in Tokyo. More than 2000 metric tonnes of seafood moves through this market every day. (Much more than a metric boatload.) Some of it arrives alive, and leaves dead. (This video is not for the faint of heart, or the fans of the Little Mermaid.) This market is also the home to the largest collection of killer sharp knives under one roof, I think.

Though it's called the Tsukiji Fish market, there's a lot more on sale than just fish. At the end of the video, plenty of whale. Big bloody chunks of whale. Free Willy indeed.

Daniel and I left there and went straight to eat some sushi for breakfast. Yum.

It was a little hard to take too many good pictures there. It was so crazy active that we sightseers were forever in the way. The hustle and bustling people didn't ever get mad at us for clogging up the narrow walkways. They didn't have time to be friendly to us, but they were never rude. I guess they are used to foreign looky-loos wandering through this place of pure business.

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Mata Ashta.

PS. The road to hell is paved with unposted comments. I'm just saying.

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4 comments:

blogon said...

Love the musical selection. Made my morning. Also made me hungry.

Cindy said...

Huh.. whale is red meat... makes sence now that I think about it, it is a mamal after all, but it had always been in the "big fish" catagory in my brain.

angry monkey said...

Almost home! Glad to see some of the old times are still in your fond memories. Just don't tell "superwatch"...

Sara said...

My kid loved the song and slideshow. Especially the part when the fish was filleted? He told me "He's DEAD". Hey, he's 2 and all about honesty. No road to hell for me!

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