Oct 2, 2008

Japanese seafood discussion

Since carp and shark are two items of the sea that the Japanese don't have a habit of making into sushi, I will discuss them first then extrapolate on couple of thoughts concerning sushi. The word koi is more oftened used to indicate love, or the act of falling in love more than it is used to mean Koi or Carp.

Same* - shark *(Not pronounced as in English but with long ah as in saw and meh as used in the word men.)

The following items, usually taken from the sea, are occasionally used as sushi.

Kurage - jellyfish

Unagi - Unagi is Eel, or snakes of the sea. The fish with no real fins more similar to a snake than a fish. and the best I have ever had and came away saying, "Boy that sure was tasty Unagi." I thought Unagi particularly well prepared in the quaint town of Isahaya, which isabout a forty five minute drive away from Nagasaki. Nagasaki and the surrounding area is reknown for its excellently prepared eel. The unagi used as sushi is always cooked and is white meat that with a hint of brown.

Uni - taste like poo-poo of the sea until you acquire a taste for it. I love it. It is rather expensive, because it is a pain in the behind to get.

Tako - in Japanese is the word for kite, the flight wielding one or it can mean an octopus. Tako is pronounced like taco, a favorite Mexican food that even the Japanese know.

A lot of people have pre-conceived notions concerning the sushi. They seem to think of stinky, rotten raw fish that has been dead for a month. And anybody who thinks of sushi in this way couldn't be thinking of it in a worse manner. The look and taste of well prepared sushi by iron chefs in my opinion can be compared to lustrousand precious jewels. Served on a plate, arranged like art and appearing like rubies, saphires and diamonds.

Another myth about sushi is that the octopus sushi is served raw. This is not the case. It shoud be stated at the gate that is very rare to eat octopus raw. I myself having the privalege only twice out of about 300 eatings to try raw octopus. Raw octopus is not boiled. The octopus westerners traditionally associate with the sushi turns a light shade of purple because it is boiled. I grant you permission to safely approach octopus sushi with a smile and a glad heart, knowing that it is boiled. To reiterate, octopus used as sushi is boiled, and its good. Don't knock it before you try it. Or give it to Mikey he'll like it... he likes everything.

If sushi didn't have such a bad image, that more people could enjoy it's truly redeeming qualities. Just thinking about sushi and talking about it in this lense makes my mouth water,... try it and see. It is the images, stigmata and the English words we use to describe sushi that block our minds preventing us from ever attempting to try such delicious and delectably marvelous jewels. I must admit raw octopus was nasty when I tried it and don't recommend it, but it needs to be stated again to reverse the damage we westerners have of sushi in general to remember that the octopus served as sushi is purple because it is boiled. It is not raw as is usually typified in the prejudices of western thought.

kazu no ko - this is the yellow, and crunchy roe of the herring fish. There never seems to be a lack of kazu no ko although it is one of the few sushi items that won't make my mouth water just thinking about. In other words I never developed a keen taste for kazunoko nor is it one of my favorites.

Natto - This is one of my personal favoites. It is a breakfast food worth mentioning. Although it is a live moving creatue it has the potential to become one. Natto is fermented soy beans served with hot mustard served in a styrofoam cup. Served with mustard it is a great morning food. Just make sure to add all the tare that comes with it and add the mustard mix it up, it looks a little grody but it is worth every mouth full. At only ¥103 (one hundred and three yen), it is the most economical breakfast food readily available to those living in Japan. Natto is a budget minded food. You can buy it in family packs of three for even less money. Natto with its tare sauce(not the heavy soy sauce but the lighter and salty sweet tare(sauce)I grew to love the stuff. mmm oishii... This is occasionally used in sushi and is known as nattozushi.

The following are usually not used as sushi.

Mentaiko - Better than chile picante hot sauce on your rice. This stuff could burn a hole in your tongue but it makes plain rice so tasty, even more than ... I like it as a breakfast food on my bowl of rice in the morning, it is quite expensive but to me is always well worth its weight in gold. It usually comes in a pack of 3 sacks for around ¥900-1300 or $10-$12 U.S. dollars.

As far as I know the following items are usually never part of the sushi menu but are worth mentioning in this lense that began as a discussion on how Godzilla got It's name.

Shita - meaning tongue and implying cow tongue, not human tongue. The human tongue is more oftened known as a bero. (Watch the pronunciation of the ro in bero.)

kimo (pronounced like chemo in chemothreapy) - is otherwise known as reebah or liver rather than the anatomical kind.

Stay tuned for a future lense devoted to the foods of yaki-niku and o-konomiyaki. As always, Do Your Best! Ganbatte Ne! Makurasuki Sensei.

Towards Better Japanese
Ganbatte ne!
Do Your Best!

Japanetics is Language learning to the max