died in the wool ______

To have no set purpose in one's life is the harlotry of the will -Stephen Mackenna-

Sunday, January 22, 2006

hot pepper and big tuna

In the snow yesterday, i ventured out to by some things for dinner. Didn't make it far before I realized in my no-traction shoes that I wasn't going to be making it very far. So I decided to turn left, and head into my favorite thai resturant just down the hill from where I live.

The name of the resturant is Hot Pepper 2. This could be because of the free food weekly in Tokyo also called hot pepper, but I have a feeling that the resturant was made before the weekly... Anyway, this is probably my favorite thai resturant anywhere on the planet. My father was good friends with the owner of a well known Thai resturant in Minneapolis, Sawatdee, and he would often take his underexposed exurban students for a day of culture in the city. Hot Pepper 2, is a 40 square foot mom and pop place that is at the base of a small but steep slope going up towards my place. The wife welcomes you (it's so cute, she says 'onegaishimasu' for everything), and being strikingly beautiful doesn't hurt. His husband is an adorable, stoic guy and he just does his thing, filling the small resturant with great fumes of other dishes being prepared (or is it yours?) They have excellent curries and pad thai, among many other things (they have great kuushinsai, which I don't know how to say in english) .

Even though I have a television where I live, I haven't turned it on....ever actually. One of my favorite things about Hot Pepper 2 is that they always have one of the major television channels in Tokyo playing. The infrequency in which I watch television makes it somewhat of a treat when I actually do.

Now, people outside of Japan usually only see one dimension of Japanese television, the wacky insane 'Lost in Translation' kind of shows. The kind I've never seen and only hear about from non-japanese. There is, on the other hand, a very wide selection of interesting television shows on, but those wouldn't have the shock value to be interesting to non-japanese people.

Yesterday, there was a really long special following tuna, from fisherman to sushi resturant, on the northern tip of honshu between Aomori and Hokkaido. This place is a confluence of Tuna which take diverging routes when swimming from the Taiwanese oceans and splitting between the northeast and southwest parts of Japan.

It was fascinating, if not even a little touching to watch these fishermen at work. The ones they followed were all 60-70 years old, working on ships. One was a married couple, the husband working the lures while the wife turned the boat, readied equipment, and followed the sonar screen. The second person they followed, was a widower on heart medication who worked the entire ship alone. A 65 year-old fisherman lugging huge 70 kg tuna onto his ship. The married couple caught an over 100 kg tuna that was so big they had to send a electrified chain link down the lure in to shock it (to death) in order to pull it in.

They later showed sushi chefs in Ginza, as well as Nishi-Azabu, preparing the tuna for customers. Watching this show, it's hard not to wonder what fisherman did before steel boats, electrified hooks, and sonar centuries ago. One also forgets how incredibly large tuna as most examples area white shredded substance in small cans. It was also hard to see them kill the tuna, but also important. These fishermen were truly were really living at a locus in the food chain, and it was interesting to watch.


Post a Comment

<< Home

span.shortpost {display:none;}