Sunday, September 7, 2008

Chocolate Shakes and...

Even with work on Saturday morning, it’s difficult to ignore the instincts of going out on a Friday night.  Colleen suggested we go to one of the recommended inexpensive Meiji-era-themed Izakayas (place where you can eat and drink) near Niigata Station.  What really drew us to this place was the thought that they had alcoholic chocolate shake beverages.  As it turns out, they had chocolate-milk-banana, chocolate-milk-mint, and cream-soda-float drinks but no chocolate shakes!!  We weren’t too disappointed though, as we had food on our mind and a menu of specials to choose from.  Along with the mushroom tempura, lettuce wraps, and edamame, we decided that we needed meat.   Our waitress showed us the specials menu again, and without even thinking, we said “One meat, please!!”  After the fact, we thought to ask “What kind of meat did we just order?” and she replied “Uma,” while doing the motions and making the sounds of a horse!!!  Since coming to Japan, I’ve heard of people getting fed this at welcome parties, and now we just ordered it: raw horse meat!!  We were both nervous and excited to try such a wild, new dish, making sure to take many pictures of ourselves with the raw meat.  Then, after wrapping the horse in lettuce and covering it in sauce, on the count of three, we took our first bite at the same time.  I guess it tasted…soft, chewy, kind of like sushi, actually.  For some reason though, I couldn’t get the idea that I had raw horse meat in my mouth out of my head.  I couldn’t chew and swallow it fast enough, so I proceeded to stuff the rest of the lettuce and then some into my mouth.  The taste was OK, but the idea was icky!!  Needless to say, neither one of us touched the remaining raw mean and instead ordered cooked chicken and meatball kabobs to replace the void in our stomachs.  Because we were talking so much for the rest of dinner and on the train ride home, I wasn't really able to think about what I had just eaten.  Twenty minutes into my seventy-five minute train ride, Colleen got off at her stop.  Then I was all alone and able to fully realize what was digesting in my stomach.  I’m sure it was all psychological, but my stomach started to feel funky.  Then, to top it all off when I got back to my apartment I turned on the TV and one of the first commercials that came on had a horse galloping around in it!!  I felt so sad for some reason?!?  I have no problem eating chicken, beef, lamb, pig, turkey, fish, squid, octopus, oyster, crab, lobster, clam, scallops, and so on but I’m so disgusted with myself for eating raw horse meat!!  What is it in our brains that make the idea of some things delicious, and others nauseating?!?  I actually think that I might be permanently damaged from this experience, even though I know that it makes no sense.  It's all psychological, yet...GROSS!!

Bashimi, or horse meat that is RAW

At least we were 100% in this together!!

Because there was a school holiday on Thursday, we had to make the day up today – Saturday.  School was school, except at around 3:30, there was some sort of city announcement being made on the street’s loud-speakers about there being a fire in Ninocho, which is the area in which I live.  I really didn’t know what to think of this besides ‘Oh crap, I hope I didn’t leave my flat-iron on…that would be embarrassing.’  One of the other teachers, who knows where I live, seemed very worried for me and told me that I could go home early to see if everything was OK.  I told her that it was OK, if it was my place there’s nothing I could do at this point.  But she insisted that I go home early, so I was like ‘Cool, see you!!’  One of the other teachers, who also lives in that area, biked to the seen of the fire with me.  Fortunately it was neither of our places.  I’m pretty sure there were no injuries, and by the time we got there, it really didn’t seem like a big deal, aside from the fact that EVERY fire truck, ambulance and person who heard the announcement in Murakami was at the scene.  Tiny little fire trucks all had their little hoses hooked up to various hydrants around the city, and there were traffic jams full of cars and spectators lining up and down the usually sleepy street!!  Oh, small town life!!!

Last night we decided to try a new bar out in Murakami: Pakistan.  I’ve never been to Pakistan, but the only thing that the place resembled about Pakistan is that there was a Pakistani beer on the menu.  While I didn’t have that, I did order a Red Eye, or beer tomato juice.  Think whatever you will, but I thought it was quite tasty…or at least much more bearable than the raw horsemeat (bashimi). 

Murakami has a farmers’ market on one of the streets near where I live on every morning that ends in a 2 or a 7.  Today, being September 7th and a Sunday, I was able to visit!!  Either I went a little crazy, or the vendors went a little crazy in quantity, but for only 800 yen, I walked home with bags of eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers, some kind of root plant, and sasadango!!  I was sure that at least half of it would rot before being able to eat it, so Jess and I split the massive amount purchased food.  My tummy is thoroughly happy from the delicious carbonara-eggplant-tomato-root plant-pasta it just enjoyed J

Later in the rainy day, Flo and Jess stopped by on their way to run errands.  I used this as a good opportunity to go ‘cousin-hunting.’  What I mean by this is that apparently my cousin works in one of the sores here in Murakami, and lives here on the days he works (on off days, he goes back home to be with his new wife).  I really don’t know why I haven’t had contact with him yet, so it was time to go to Mushashi and say ‘hey cuz, what up’ (in Japanese of course).  It’s a huge store, and I couldn’t find him on my own, so the suspense was kind of making me nervous!!  I finally asked one of the employees if he was there, and he immediately walkie-talkied him.  Then all of a sudden, BAM -  ‘HEY CUZ, WHAT UP?!?!’  We ended up talking for a while, which may or may not have gotten him in trouble, but it was so nice to reunite with another one of my family members after years of not seeing or speaking to one another!!

1 comment:

amy P! said...

i'm surprised you haven't reverted back to being a vegetarian after the raw horse meat experience. props though! i don't think i could have ate it at all. that could have been black beauty!