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eating habits


15 Apr 2002
This is really weird. I live in Japan and eat basically rice everyday, susuhi, and fish every so often.

Recently with the wife staying at the parent's house, I got a closer look at their eating habits.

FISH :eek:

It's not that I don't like fish. But everyday is a bit much for me. I guess for those from wharf based areas like Boston and New England you'd be fine.

But my parents are German and I come from a Meat and Potatoes family.

I don't miss the potatoes since I got rice but missing the meat is a bit much.

hmmm, I guess I'll never be Japanese after all :p
I love fish, in this regard Japan's a paradise. However, I remember that we had a lot of meat in Japan too: beef shabu shabu, sukiyaki etc. When it was my turn to prepare food I had no difficulty in finding the right ingredients for escalope, gulyas, beef stews and all kinds of Italian dishes. Besides, it was my impression that fish wasn't that cheap compared to a decent piece of meat.
I wasn't much of a fish fan before coming to Japan, because European food doesn't use raw fish. I love sashimi and sushi, but you still won't have me eat dried grilled fish (you know the one that you eat whole with the skin, bones, head and eyes) for breakfast every morning. What I like is justly the freshness, juice and taste in raw fish - and I hate to have to care about fish bones !

I used to be a big red meat eater, but I have tampered down my beef consumption since the appearance of the BSE. But you can eat a plenty of meat in Japan ; every dish that doesn't have fish has meat in it : gyuudon, katsudon, oyakodon, yakiniku (just grilled beef !), sukiyaki, chinese food, and more. Most of the time meat is sliced or minced (in gyoza, shuumai...), so you won't usually find a T-bone steak. But still, a good tonkatsu or some KFC chicken make for it.
Urban Legend has it that it's not really chicken but poultry products which is stated clearly on the KFC website. The legend has it that chickens are force feed with tubes and are of a hairless type. hehe, ever wonder why the bones are so small.

@ fish
Sushi and sashimi are fantastic and like Maciamo I don't have to worry about the bones. I raised that fish bones could lodge in your throat and either punture a hole through or you'd probably die. I love UNAGI but the bones ... drive a psychological baseball bat done my throat. I hate those all-in-one type of fishys too. Just chomping down on the head of one makes my stomach flip flop. Tonight at dinner we had the slightly larger broiled types without the head but still with gut and feces still intact. barf ... Mother-in-law wasn't too happy that I didn't eat many. I politely said that I was full. I drove to 7/11 and got myself some sandwhiches. I'm still technically single for another week! yeah!

@ BSE meat
hehe, I took advantage of getting very expensive Japanese beef for about half price of Australian beef. ewwww, it was so good. 10 years they say. I figure in ten years they'll have an antidote.

@ tonkatsu
I could do that no problem! I like tonkatsu better than hamburgers and pizza!
Originally posted by moyashi
@ BSE meat
hehe, I took advantage of getting very expensive Japanese beef for about half price of Australian beef. ewwww, it was so good. 10 years they say. I figure in ten years they'll have an antidote.

That's exactly how Japanese people take it ! Same as for AIDS. BSE is still a new disease, and nothing is less sure than they'll find an cure within 10 years. It's more than 20years they have been working on AIDS, but it's still far from being finished. Then, for both diseases, some people develop it in a few months, while others keep it dormant for 20 years. You never know... I understand the "earthquake mentality" approach of Japanese people ("we don't know when it'll come, and anyway we can't do anything about it"), but I don't approve it when it can be prevented like AIDS and BSE.
Originally posted by moyashi
The legend has it that chickens are force feed with tubes and are of a hairless type. hehe, ever wonder why the bones are so small.

Yuck, so much for the finger-licking!

@ fish

Have you ever tried uni paste? That's the "fishiest" stuff I've ever eaten. Nahoko swears you get the best in Aomori, I'm sure they say the same up in Hokkaido.
Uni ? Isn't it the so-called "sea urchin", that kind of hairy ball ? It's probably rich in minerals, like most seafood.
Yes, uni is made of sea urchin eggs. Once you pass the uni test, you'll eat any maritime creature, hehe.

Of course I'm exaggerating. If it's fresh and served with rice, it's very delicious.
"uni is made of sea urchin eggs" hmmm ... I've never seen eggs. It's just the mushy guts of the round shells. Sort of like really soft liverwurst.

Hokkaido is purple spikey types while down south in warmer waters the whitish smooth type is prevelant. Actually, California is uni heaven since nobody eats the stuff.

Hokkaido has uni under fishermen coverage so taking it from the see is poaching. Yes, it is very heavily patroled too. Summertime you have fishermen patroling the shores for folks (like me ... ahem) who dive for uni and other poachable and delicious seafood goodies.

I don't like uni since it has a really seawater taste to it (well, fresh at least) while my wife and her family loves the stuff.

unidon (sea urchin rice bowl) is very popular with the tourists up here.

@ sea critter test
hehe ... that sounds about right. If you can handle mushy liverwurst looking seawater tasting things, everything else is a piece of cake to handle.

I just keep thinking cricket guts ... probably not that different.
It's eggs or roe. My wife told me the females are cut in two halves to get the roe. I once stepped on such a little guy in Thailand, an unforgetable experience, lol.
Wow, I googled for sea urchins, amazing number of results!

The livelihoods of many Maine fishermen are closely tied to the economy and tastes of the Japanese. They dive for sea urchins, which are then sold to exporters who sell them to Japan for sea-urchin roe, a delicacy in Japan. In the mid-1990s, when the Japanese economy was soaring and the Japanese sea urchin harvest was declining due to over-fishing, the bountiful supply of Maine sea urchins was tapped. Prices, which had once been 14 to 28 cents a pound, rose to $3.50 a pound at peak times. This enabled some fishermen to earn over $1,000 a day.

The industry attracted thousands of divers who saw a chance to get rich quickly. Entry was relatively cheap. Urchin divers needed only about $3,000 of equipment. Lobstermen, on the other hand, generally needed $70,000 for a boat and traps.

Nowadays, the Japanese economy is less buoyant and the sea urchin population is declining; there may only be a five-year supply left. As a result, the fishermen are looking for other delicacies to sell. Eels have been popular with the Japanese, prices soaring to $300 a pound as their demand outgrew the supply in Japan. However, Maine eel catches are down also, and prices have crashed to $25 a pound. Fishermen are now trying to interest the Japanese in sea cucumbers, periwinkles, and whelks, but without much success. They are loathe to go back to fishing for lobsters and scallops.


I'm far from being a marine biologist, but I think that poisonous specimens rather life in tropical and subtropical habitats.

More on their mating habits:

Sea urchins reproduce, or spawn, by gathering together in large numbers and then releasing hundreds of millions of eggs and sperm into the ocean water. Conditions need to be just right ツ・typically only one percent of all the eggs released are actually fertilized.

"Urchins need to be pretty close to each other for successful fertilization to occur," says Vadas. "They need to get as many eggs and sperm into the water column as they can because the water is diluted quickly, sperm do not last very long, and the eggs may settle to the bottom without being fertilized if there is not enough water movement."


Conclusio: obviously most of the uni processed in Japan is imported.
@ roe
Really? hmm, gonna have to check on this one. Hakkaido is basically purple spikey uni. Which like it's non-spikey whitish colored bretheren is a roundish shape hard outer shell with a liverwurst like inside. So, if that liverwurst stuff inside is roe then ... I guess it's roe.

@ poisonous
Hmm, not up here at least.
One Poaching techinque involves putting those spikey buggers in your swim shorts. So, if they were poisonous impotent men would definitely be a problem.

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