First off, Josh is coming today! Probably in about a half hour so I need to write quickly! And we are off to Kyoto and Osaka first thing tomorrow so I won't be around to read your horrified comments until Sunday :)
And I know why you clicked on the blog--you want to hear about the horse meat. But I'm going to make you wait for that information (no, no, don't scroll down the page! You'll get it in a minute!).
First off, another day, another typical Japanese food. I have this list of iconic Japanese foods that I need to make sure to eat--and udon was on that list. I was pretty tasty. No idea what that white product is but I usually choose against eating it.
I also got some form of soup. I wasn't real impressed with it, so I didn't bother finishing it.
One of the cooler things I did last week--I had to go (by myself, but I do most things in Japan by myself) somewhere for work. On the way back to the train station, I saw a mysterious set of stairs.
I don't know who could see such awesome looking stairs and not go up them! So I did.
I was greeted by statues. I was at an old shrine! And there were no tourists at it at all, just people enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.
So I decided to go up to the shrine, which was very beautiful.
There was a box that said 10 yen. Ten yen is about ten cents (slightly less)--but what costs ten yen?
I looked inside the box. Little pieces of paper! I figured each little piece of paper costs ten yen (slid into the slots).
The paper was a fortune (I think)! I couldn't read it but I assume it was telling me I had good fortune of some sort :)
I figured I was then supposed to tie on the line, so I did. I'm not very good at tying paper, so there was nothing pretty about mine, but I assume it doesn't matter.
There was also a big marble well.
I haven't the slightest clue what it was for. So I didn't touch it :) The dragon on the right side was pretty cool though!
I just find it amazing that something this old and peaceful is set smack-dab in the middle of such a huge bustling city. Really, that is the jutxaposition of Japan though.
So some of my coworkers took me out to eat. It started out innocently enough--grilled peppers were the first course, no problem. I'm not a huge pepper fan but these were pretty good.
Then came the bacon wrapped asparagus (and might I say, bacon wrapped asparagus is incredibly delicious). Some chicken yakitori--not real interesting or impressive, but also not strange. I have been saying that I will eat anything that they put in front of me because I want a full cultural experience, not one that has been sanitized for my foreign constitution.
So those were no problem. Then we moved on to squid legs--still no problem. Hey, I'm Italian, squid isn't always impossible to recognize and fried within an inch of recognizableness. In fact, the squid legs were really delicious--almost crispy. Still going good!
And the alcohol--grapefruit sours! Wow are these good--and you know they are healthy because they have grapefruit in them--and lots of pulp! The alcohol is sonchu...and it's strong.
And then it happened...."So. Do you want to try raw horse meat?"
Uh oh. If I stick to my plan, I absolutely have to eat this. It's one of those dishes that the Japanese eat (and love) but Americans are horrified by. That being said, I don't have a huge moral problem with horse meat like I did with shark's fin soup, and I ate that in China. So, I had no choice.
It was recommended that I load some garlic onto the meat, some green onion, dip it in the soy sauce, and eat it before it has a chance to unfreeze.
So how was it? Not bad! Granted, I was expecting to feel the need to vomit, so it isn't real difficult to be deemed better than that. My mom asked if it tasted like chicken--no, definately not. I would say it tastes kind of like beef, but sweeter. Not sweet like candy, but almost sweet like milk or corn--which would explain why the Japanese like it, because both milk and corn are absurdly popular over here. Would I ever order it? No, but if it was on the table, I might try it again. And next time I'm in Europe, maybe I'll try someone's horse dish if they order it--last time I was in Rome I refused (and horse was on about every menu).
The rest of the meal was also interesting. I ate fish whole--head on, entrails intact, bones and all--and these fish were considerably bigger than sardines. I ate fried rice triangles, fried noodles, daikon salad, various types of fish. And I ate small intestines. Now I fully intended to hate small intestines but they were a heckava lot better than tripe (although that isn't saying much).
So that's all! Mmmm...small intestines!