Originally published on 23 July 2006. This post is part of a series of “e-mails to home” from my summer living and working abroad in Japan! And this is a very special post in the series because it’s What I Ate Wednesday!
Time for a traditional Japanese meal! Okay, we walked into this place that doesn’t look like much on the outside–just typical Japanese. But inside it was astounding. The servers took our shoes for us and showed us up to the second floor into one of the party rooms. Oh, see the sign picture. They definitely came out to give us food seven different times, but the most fun was when one of the servers (who all women in yukatas) put a huge bottle of Lager Beer in front of me. I’d never even heard of Lager Beer until I came to Japan! I didn’t drink any of course, but I really got a kick out of it. But let’s get right down to it. It was huge!
This was already out for us when we arrived. Those are miscellaneous Japanese pickles in the little blue bowl, soy sauce to the right, and eel with rice paste and ginger on top in the green bowl. That placemat is made of bamboo. And then we got these things:
OK, get ready! Next came sea urchin, lotus root, and yellowtail with miso sauce (not the same as soup).
See the shell? See the long thing next to it? That’s what came out of the shell! And yes, I ate it! I have to say I didn’t enjoy it all that much, though. I was a little disappointed because sea urchin is supposed to be a delicacy. The lotus root was good, and the yellowtail with the sauce on top was the most pleasant surprise of the meal. It was SO good!
This is an egg custard, pudding-type thing with bonito soup. It’s always a surprise to find out what’s inside the little bowls they serve. This one had seaweed, chicken, shrimp, an unidentified sea creature (I think squid), and I think some other type of vegetable.
Tempura is Japanese for fried. The big thing in the middle is eel, the green thing is okra, I think (either that or edamame, but I’m pretty sure it’s okra), and the other little creatures are sardines, I believe. It’s some kind of fish for sure. Look at the plate. It’s in the shape of an eggplant. How fun is that? This really nice restaurant, very traditional, and they have eggplant plates!
Last but not least, miso soup and rice. They also brought out the melons for dessert at the same time. Usually they serve miso and rice first or toward the beginning, but since they served beer and sake (lots and lots of it), they served the miso and rice last. Mami said that’s why!
Oh, and it made me feel really good after the meal was finished when a man from across the room came to talk to Anna and me. He juat wanted to tell me I use chopsticks well and wanted to know how long I’d been here! It’s kind of funny how they think Americans can’t efficiantly use chopsticks. It takes some practice, and I still don’t do it the “right” way all the time, but I get the food to my mouth pretty quickly, and that’s what matters!
After the meal, the Kodas brought us back to the apartment and gave us sweet bean desserts. Oh man, they’re so good. I ate two, but that’s all for me. I’ve eaten so much the past two days, and I know the Fujitas will fill me up when I go to Tokyo tomorrow! I took a 2-hour bike ride when I got back, so I feel pretty good about that.
Thank y’all for the thoughts and prayers, and for those of you who’ve sent e-mails, a special thanks to you. I hope everyone has a great weekend and a fantastic week. Keep the prayers coming, and know you’re in mine, too. Enjoy the pictures, everyone!