Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Happy New Year!

Greetings to all and best wishes for 2005.

I'll post some photos in a moment, but first a few updates on what I've been up to over the new year.

Dec 28-31st

Atsushi very kindly invited me to stay with his family near Okayama for a few days just before the new year. They live with his grandparents in a big house next to a rice field in a city called Kurashiki. Apparently I was the first foreign visitor they had had at their house, and I could not have been better looked after. Atushi's mother is a fantastic cook, and the food was rather superb. The only thing that I had a bit of trouble with was sea cucumber (namako).

I had tried this a couple of times before, and not been a huge fan, but this time I got to see the whole preparation process, from pulling out the innards, to slicing open the sea cucumber, (I wasn't sure how alive it was at any point during this), and then it is sliced into thin slices and soaked in vinegar. It ends up looking like fairly inoffensive grey seafood, but it has a texture like slippery rubber with a certain amount of resistance to it so it needs a good chewing. Of course this is considered something of a delicacy, and perhaps with a bit of effort I will manage to acquire the taste, but it's going to take some time.

I hope that doesn't sound like I am complaining! I had a great time, did lots of other stuff, and the whole family was extremely kind and hospitable.

We also had a go at producing mochi, in the old fashioned way by pounding steamed rice in a big stone bowl with a huge wooden mallet.

And then it snowed! Loads and loads! Enough to make me think I might not be able to get back to Osaka in time for the next installment of my adventures...

No comments:

/* Google Analytics */