My last adventure with Noah before he left (day of departure). Goal: leave home at 6:30 and go to Tsukiji! [Tsukiji is the larget fish market in the world, located in Tokyo] My family goes pretty much every year to get the freshest fish. We left a little before 7am...early enough.
We browsed, almost got run over, bought seafood, and ate amazing sushi for breakfast.
You may have noticed a trend, I like to try things I've never tried... By now that only leaves some pretty unusual things that take some preparation. I talked to each vendor we purchased from to ask how to best prepare the fish/seafood. I learned this technique from my dear mama :)
Squid: Pull head with tentacles apart from the body, clean inside of body, remove cartilage, cut between eyes and tentacles, discard eyes/top of head. This part wasn't on any squid cleaning tutorial sites, but I never knew why squid for sashimi was white- the skin peels off! Another new discovery- the tentacles have little sharp circles that feel like mini teeth (see close-up photo)
Namako (sea cucumber): Cut it open, remove insides, wash, slice as desired, add equal amounts of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar. This was the grossest thing I have ever prepared. I'm pretty sure it was alive when I first cut it because it came in a bag of water, but the only things that move are the two little end mouth hole type things that look most like buttholes. Please excuse my vulgar comparison... yes I still ate it. I think I may have done it wrong though because it was hard to chew, maybe I made it tense and freeze up?
Aji (mackerel): I butchered this one (haha get it? Yeah that was lame), I have NO IDEA how to make sashimi out of a whole fish! Noah's plane was going to depart soon so I didn't have time to research so I can't give a summarized tutorial...I'll try again some day. Basically have a sharp knife (fail), cut it somehow so the bones aren't dispersed everywhere (fail), remove skin evenly to leave a nice even shiny blue/silver lining (fail)...so it ended up being small pieces but it was still delicious.
I completely forgot to photograph the maguro (tuna)! It was incredibly fresh and cheap for the quality (as everything else is there since they come straight from the fishermen, but I have no price comparisons for sea snails and sea cucumbers at grocery stores).
I'm trying to finish up bank/phone/apartment errands and reading Japanese books on Japanese business etiquette and the business of the retail world. The degrees of bowing, greetings, where to stand in relation to your superiors, how to move, which type of formal language to use in which situation, all sound excessively nit-picky from the individualistic culture I am more accustomed to, but I am determined to learn it and become Japanese at least while I am here.
I included a quote in my recent research paper about Catholic/Buddhist art in Japan by a Jesuit missionary that echoes Paul's writing in 1 Corinthians:
First the quote: an Italian missionary to Japan from the 1500s, Padre Gnecchi-Soldo Organtino "I am more a Japanese than an Italian, for the Lord by his grace has transformed me into one of that nation."
Paul: "For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."
I don't want my lack of proper Japanese etiquette, even if excused by my appearance as a foreigner, to be considered rude and get in the way of my witness first as a follower of Christ Jesus. I say "my appearance as a foreigner" because most people wouldn't even guess that I'm asian here...quite different from the assumption that I look so asian I must be Chinese in many circles.
Only a few more days until work begins. Besides apartment hunting and studying, I need to find work pants!