Tag Archives: Expat living

Happy (belated) Eel Day!

This year Eel Day coincided with the Sumidagawa Fireworks festival.  We still ate eel.

Best New Year’s card yet

Thank you very much Captain Yutaka.  PS: new species added to the list!

New charcuterie project

In anticipation of the arrival of a distinguished friend from afar this Autumn I’ve started a new fermented sausage project: fuet, a variety of dried, fermented sausage from Catalunya.  It is stuffed in regular hog casings and not tied, so the workings of gravity give the sausage a taper from top to bottom, and their name (fuet means “whip” in Catalan).  The fermentation step is over and they are now drying happily in their chamber, though I am struggling with the heat and humidity of Japanese summer to keep the sausage within normal parameters.  We shall see how they turn out, but already the sausages smell well-fermented and look the part, and small colonies of good white mould have broken out on them already.  The recipe I used is a modification of that in the Marianski’s book.

late Waterloo/early Father’s Day

Bread and butter pudding…

Fishing Guam

Whilst on holiday last month in Guam I managed to get out on the water for some Marianas offshore trolling.  The last time I had done this kind of fishing I was on the Laccadive Strait in a tiny blue skiff with a captain and deckhand in sarongs with about six words of English between them, and me by far the more ignorant of others’ ways, possessing a grand vocabulary of three words in Sinhalese.  Anyway, some years later I now found myself aboard the Island Girl II, sailing from Agana Bay.  I booked the charter online from the comfort of my home in Tokyo and everything was all in order on the day as the deckhand came to pick me up from my hotel in Tumon at 6:30am and we set out.  Once again, my ear for foreign tongues betrayed me and I couldn’t catch the deckhand’s name, though he took pity on me and my open-mouthed look of stupidity and said, “Call me K for short”, though I was gratified later to find out the captain called him by the same name.  It was about ten minutes drive to the marina and a stone’s throw from the car park to the entry port of the Island Girl; I was greeted most warmly by the captain John, who welcomed me aboard and indeed to Guam as well.   Both Captain John and K were muscular, capable-looking men of the sea and the Island Girl was a model of military cleanliness (I’ve been on some disgraceful tubs here in Japan); we cast off at five to seven and were fishing by quarter past.  As I enjoyed the view from the upper deck K remarked dryly that “We have a lot of competition today” and a quick look-out all around showed me there wasn’t a single other vessel of any kind out on the water…imagine fishing Tokyo Bay in similar circumstances!  The weather was perfect – sunny with a touch of wind every so often to stop it being too hot, and despite fishing as much as I have done I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty of the sea, the Philippines Sea in this case.  Every so often flying fish would leap from the surface before our bows, and it would take a fairly insensible character to not at least smile at the sight of a green sea turtle in its native element, but these seemed to be normal for a morning fishing in Guam!

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Back from Guam

With a wahoo in the bag!

Happy New Year

To you all!  In my neighbourhood two local sumo wrestlers pounded our New Year’s mochi rice cake for us living in the area.  A variety of toppings was on offer – kinako powder, red bean paste, grated daikon radish, but I went for zunda: edamame pounded into a paste (being smashed into a pulp is a bit of a theme) and sweetened.  It was about 5 or 6°C outside in the morning, so if anything, the wrestlers can be commended for their physical fortitude; and for waving the mochi-obliterating mallet about like it was a small child’s toy, instead of the massive heavy awkward lump of wood it is. In the festive spirit the wrestlers played up to the crowd a little, pretending to smash each other’s fingers with the mallet and carrying steaming handfuls of rice straight out the cooker (don’t try this at home) and yet remained sporting and friendly all the way, allowing local kids and even some admiring young ladies to have their photos taken with them.  Incidentally, the mochi was excellent!