I dried the survivors on my balcony. Right now in Tokyo the winter days and nights are very dry, and such small fish as these are done in an evening. The zippered net keeps enterprising avians, felines and arthropods off my precious haul.
I just had time to bring in the fish before heading off to work; the fish look just about right and will make excellent eating.
The fish will keep in this state, bagged and refrigerated, for several weeks. Personally I have doubts they will survive my attentions long enough, to putrefy.
Once grilled, they are excellent as-is, but I experimented by dipping them in various condiments, such as the native fermented chilli-bean paste kanzuri, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, ketchup and another native preparation of ground green chillies and yuzu called yuzu koshoh. In all, I found mayonnaise with a shaking of cayenne pepper to be the most palateable.
Good thing I like eating wakasagi.
The wakasagi rod I made did the trick.
With the recent rainy weather, I could not possibly let the chance go amiss to do some more lacquering; lacquer needs moisture in the air to cure properly (see my previous posts about this), and this is a problem when the atmosphere is so dry here in the Japanese winter. I did my goby rod a few days ago and it really needs a good few weeks for the lacquer to really ‘bite’ into the bamboo and come out nicely. So I made some progress instead on my new wakasagi rod, adding a little decoration to the lacquer in the form of chunks of lacquered gold leaf. First the leaf is applied to a black background, and then layered gradually with a translucent reddish-brown lacquer to give a rather ambiguous yet rich pattern, rather like red momiji leaves, ‘suspended’ in a transparent glaze. This is the gold straight on the rod, then after a layer of the red:
The lacquer needs to be sanded down and then re-done, so the gold will come through a little more. Then the whole thing is layered several times with a transparent lacquer to give it depth. The plain gold does look pretty good as is, but for me is a little garish and bling-bling, and I prefer the burnt-red hue much more.
I had another reaction to the lacquer this week, fortunately much, much less severe than my previous experience, this time only limited to minor itchiness betwixt my ring and middle finger on my left hand. Actually I bought an aloe vera plant and rubbing the juices on the affected part brings amazingly quick and natural relief; I wish I had tried this before! The store-bought itch cream I used then, with its horrid zinc oxide whiteness and various chemicals, actually seemed to prolong the condition.
The ‘dome ships’ (doumu-sen) on Sagamiko; a seafaring man would cringe at the name, as they are really just moored rafts with huts built on top. With an oil heater inside – where you can boil a kettle – and Western-style toilets without, they are very well-equipped for a relaxed day’s fishing. The manager ferries you across in a small panga and you are free to come and go, such as for lunch or shopping, with just a phone call.
View of Samagiko itself:
After stuffing myself with tenpura, the leftover wakasagi were wind-dried overnight and stowed in the fridge:
For breakfast, I skewered a few of the fish and grilled them; they were quite good.