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Wed Jul 26, 2017, 09:25 AM

Eating eels in Japan

July 25th and August 6th this year are "days of the ox" according to the old Japanese calendar, when eating eels is traditional (from when I don't know). They are delicious.

Osamu Dazai's "Merry Christmas":

"'Jinba-san!' I called through the closed door. I was sure I heard a reply. Then a shadow moved across the glass. 'Ha! She's home!' ... The girl stood bolt upright, and all the color went out of her face, and she twisted her lips in a grotesque way. Then, suddenly, she burst into tears. Her mother had been killed during the air raids on Hiroshima, she told me. She also said, in the delirium of her death throes, her mother had called out my name. ... Her mother had always loved broiled eels. We ducked under the curtains of an eel stall. We stood at the counter. There were other customers, a gentleman sitting on the far side of the stall, drinking.
'Large serving? Small ones?'
'Small ones. Three of them.'
'Yes, sir,' the young stallkeeper said in a hearty growl. ... As he vigorously fanned the coals in his clay stove. I said, 'Put them on three separate plates.'
'Yes, sir! And the third person? Coming afterwards?'
'There are three of us now,' I said without smiling.
'There's this person, and me, and standing between us there's a beautiful woman with a worried look on her face. Don't you see her?' I smiled a bit now.

"Three plates of eels were set out before us. We left the one in the middle alone, and began eating from the other two. Soon three brimming cups of sake arrived. As I silently drained four or five cups in a row, the gentleman on the other side began boisterously joking with the stallkeeper. ... He just kept rattling off his unfunny jokes and I found myself feeling more disgust than ever with the hopeless lack of any concept of what constitutes a sense of humor that you witness whenever Japanese are drinking. However raucously the gentleman and the stallkeeper laughed, I didn't so much as crack a smile, but merely continued drinking and absently eying the year-end crowds that bustled past the stall. The gentleman turned to see what I was looking at. After watching the flow of people for a while, he suddenly shouted, 'Ha-ro-o! Me-ri-i ku-ri-su-ma-su!' at an American soldier who was walking down the street. For some reason I burst out laughing this time."

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Reply Eating eels in Japan (Original post)
betsuni Jul 2017 OP
Hortensis Aug 2017 #1
trof Aug 2017 #2

Response to betsuni (Original post)

Tue Aug 1, 2017, 04:21 PM

1. Lol. I've read that eels are delicious, and I certainly

should know by this time. Our winter place in Florida is surrounded by marsh, and apparently eels are abundant down there in the mud, though they never bit my husband's line. Not sure if they're the native or the invasive Asian eels, or both, but the latter are so far a lot more adventurous than I am.

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Response to betsuni (Original post)

Wed Aug 2, 2017, 07:11 PM

2. Sidewalk eels in Narita.

There were three old men
One was grilling eel filets over charcoal, two were fileting the live eels.
They would reach into a large wooden tub full of squirming eels.
Grab one and place it on a wooden board across his lap.
Take a three inch nail and, with a small steel mallet, spike the eel's head to one end of the board.

Having secured one end of the eel, he'd use his left hand to turn the eel left side up and, using what appeared to be a razor sharp, long, thin-bladed knife, completely filet that side of the eel.

Then he'd turn the body over and filet the right side.
The filets went into another tub.
The fileted bodies went into a third tub.
They were still wriggling and squirming.
Just heads and spines.
They didn't even know they were dead yet.
This all happened in less than a minute.

The eel was delicious.
Wish I had the marinade/basting recipe.

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