The only knowledge I have of blowfish is from an episode of the Simpson’s I saw while I was in college (I think my eight year old daughter actually knows more about the fish than I do). What I took away from that episode is that blow fish is poisonous and if not prepared properly, you die. So when my father-in-law asked me if we wanted to go out to a blowfish restaurant, it took me a minute to answer while I recalled this highly accurate information I learned from an American cartoon I saw 20 years ago, and debated my own consequences. It felt like the culinary equivalent of sky diving. Was I ready to be this close to death? And with my children? Well, Homer Simpson lived, so I decided to give it a try.
The much awaited part three of a story that started eight years ago…
Eight years ago I met some people in a random bar in Kuki, Japan while I was out on an adventure-seeking-night by myself. I got the adventure I was seeking both while I was out, and when I got home. (You can read about that here).
I had exchanged e-mails with my new friends and a few years after later I met them again at the same bar and almost got lost and in big trouble… again. (You can read about that story here).
And now, after originally meeting them eight years ago in Japan, I welcomed them to Detroit with my family, and into my home!
Six years ago I wandered into a bar in Kuki, Japan. I was giving Aya some alone time with her parents so I decided to set out on my own. Feeling a little overconfident and wanting a sense of independence and adventure, I hit the streets loaded with about ten Japanese words in my vocabulary and a digital translator dictionary that I had no idea how to work.
One very popular winter fruit in Japan is a clementine, or they call them, mikan (mē-con). Are they the exact same fruit? Honestly, I have no idea, but I can tell you they are pretty darn close. Back home in Michigan, I love to get a box of Cuties and eat them three at time. Here, you can do the same thing, except you can do a lot more than just eat them plain. There is mikan juice, mikan flavored yogurt, jam, cookies, dressing, and cakes, just to name a few. They are even used as part of the traditional New Year’s decorations. They are so common this time of year you can see them growing on tress throughout the neighborhood. Mikans are definitely a sign of the winter just as apples are to fall in Michigan. And just how we can go apple picking in Michigan, we went mikan picking here in Japan!
We started our New Year’s Celebration on New Year’s Eve with a soba noodle dinner. I’ve been told that it’s a tradition to have soba noodles on New Year’s Eve and udon noodles for New Year’s dinner. The long noodles represent longevity and a long prosperous year to come. Also, soba noodles easily break.Â This can represent any misfortune you’ve experienced throughout the year, that it can now break and you can let it go.