on the water; most pleasant, with hot lobscouse for lunch and plenty of canned chuhai spirits, and quite undisturbed by fish. Although the wind picked up during the afternoon, it reached over 17 of Celsius’ degrees during the day, and I picked up my first fisherman’s sunburn of the year. It is amazing to consider it snowed the next day (Monday).
Forever, without exaggeration. Sport fishing in Japan has existed long before cameras were available to record those special catches, so the peculiar artform known as gyotaku developed. As we all know, certain anglers like to exaggerate their achievements but a gyotaku provides irrefutable evidence of the size of each fish, as it is direct 1:1 impression of the fish. My friends from back home jokingly referred to gyotaku as ‘fish Turin shrouds’, which is only partly correct I guess as gyotaku are a print of the real thing! Anyway, the nice sole I took last month was over 40cm, which is the size over which the boathouse will make a gyotaku for you, for free (they actually take two prints, one for you to take home and one to put up on display in the window of their office). I then took mine to be framed, which not only preserves it and makes it look nice, but also the framers will flatten out the ruffles in the washi Japanese paper it is printed onto.
One nice thing is that the gyotaku lists not only the size of the fish and who caught it, but also the date, place and name of the boat it was taken on. Mine comes with the official seal of the boathouse, although it is more common to name the skipper or third party who confirmed the details of the catch at the time (this is known as gennin in Japanese). Also, the ink used to make the print is natural sumi calligraphy ink, so it washes off the fish with water and of course the fish can be consumed afterwards as normal.
Being made from traditional Japanese paper and printed with sumi ink, a gyotaku will last for years. I have seen several pre-War gyotaku, in various places, and even one from the Edo Period. I hope mine will last as long!
Pleuronectes yokohamae, Marbled Sole, マコガレイ.
Thanks as always to Fukagawa Fujimi.
Despite the high winds on Sunday, I managed to get out to chase after makogarei. In the morning, my fishing companion rushed me when getting ready, so I forgot my camera at home; therefore no action photos, but I took some when I got home.
The fish on my chopping board. The two deep cuts in the fish I did on the boat to drain the fish of its blood.
One fillet cut from the fish.
Sashimi, including the hallowed engawa
Another serving of sashimi, with engawa and Sanriku wakame on the side.
I wind-dried the leftover bones of the fish. These will be deep-fried later.