The kobujime from my last fishing trip. It was delicious as always, and never seems to last more than one day once it is ready.
Then two kinds of dried fish: where the whiting fillets are cured and flavoured with either sake rice wine (above) or dusted with ground, dried nori seaweed (below) and set to dry out on my balcony. In mid-winter these are done in about 12 hours, the air is so dry here. I took most of these to my local izakaya where the boss grilled them over charcoal, which always seems to make them taste better.
Although I went out fishing in mid-January, on the day the weather was strange: hazy, humid and feeling like Spring. Amid the unholy murk of the early morning I spotted an old friend: the Kaiwomaru II, a four-masted barque that is used as a training vessel for the maritime university in south Tokyo and to my knowledge the only tall ship permanently based in Tokyo Bay.
Mt. Fuji is usually dusted completely white with snow this time of year and looked very odd with so little white and the haze all around it; the deckhand went to great lengths to point this out to me, and other various bad omens, and we shook our heads and pondered on the sad, degenerate times we live in.
on a rainy, dismal-Jemmy day at sea: the 2000-ton four-masted barque Kaioh-maru (sometimes transliterated as Kaiwo-maru) II at moorings on Tokyo Bay.
When fishing on Saturday, I was most gratified by a typical springtime Tokyo Bay morning: the water eerily calm, and shrouded in a pall of white mist (this is genuine condensation, as opposed to the terrible air pollution you get in summer) that burns off during the course of the day. Well as our ship struggled past the saltwater lumber stores in Shin-Kiba – the wind was right in our faces – I thought I spotted something odd in the mist ahead of us. Now I know that the sea can play a multitude of tricks on the human mind, especially on a flat-footed landlubber like me: why I have seen boats flying above the surface of the water (sea surface mirages), heard cats, crying babies, human voices (seabirds can sometimes sound like all three) and even alarmclocks (usually a very taut line rubbing against a wooden post) while miles offshore, and encountered giant flying fish that whizz past your head, and seen whirlpools and tropical storms straight out of the Odyssey, and suchlike. Well anyway, as we chugged out of Tokyo, I spotted something in the mist ahead that looked unusual; it did not look like any of the usual traffic on the Bay such as trawlers, yachts, tugs, tankers, cargo ships or military vessels, and certainly wasn’t a buoy. To me it looked like…well as a kid I was brought up on stuff like Treasure Island, the Marie Celeste legend and What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor, so to me it looked like a pirate ghost ship:
In low visibility conditions on the Bay like this, a lot of vessels drop anchor or stick close to shore and there is almost no traffic in this part of Tokyo Bay. Well this is what I saw: