JAPAN — Day 6

WARNING: This blog entry contains lots of photos of food. If you continue reading, you’re probably going to end up getting hungry or sick. Or both.

Our day started with a trip to Kyoto’s famous Nishiki Market. Here’s what it looked like:

Some of the merchants were selling harmless things like flowers . . .

. . . and fruit:

Others had more unusual items like quail eggs . . .

. . . and sugared beans:

And then there was stuff like this:

And this:

And this:

And (Dear Lord Almighty, Great God in Heaven Above) this:

I have no idea what it was because ALL THE SIGNS WERE IN JAPANESE. Did you notice the pink, bloodlike, intestine-y-looking thing on the upper right? Yeah, I’d forced myself to eat raw shark heart in Tokyo four days earlier (I’m never going to stop talking about that), but somehow this seemed worse.

Here’s a question for you: If you were about to starve to death and had to pick one, would you eat the stuff in the previous photo or the stuff down below?

What’s the matter — don’t like raw octopi? Well, here are some cooked ones on sticks:

See the smooth bulbs that look like cherry tomatoes? Those are the heads. Mmmm, yes, go ahead and bite into one . . . like this:

Here’s a photo of the weirdest thing I ate:

I don’t know what it was, but I can tell you that it sucked beyond belief.

Here’s something else that I bit into, not knowing what lurked inside:

Thankfully it turned out to be a dessert, albeit a forgettable one, with red bean paste and (I think) a lychee in the middle.

I wanted to wash it down with something better, so I got these beautiful candies . . .

. . . which had NO flavor whatsoever.

Ultimately, I found the best egg-custard-tart-thingie of all time . . .

. . . and then ate three more for good measure.

In the early afternoon, we jumped in a cab . . .

. . . and ended up here:

That’s me in the photo above, wearing the black jacket and hat. It was one of half a dozen temples that we visited. I forget the names. I didn’t care about the history. I didn’t want to feel like I was back in 4th-grade social studies class with Mrs. Feiwell. I just wanted to walk around and look at pretty stuff like this . . .

. . . and this . . .

. . . and this . . .

. . . and not be bothered. Is that so bad?

Just before nightfall, I found myself here with my mom and half-sister:

The following hour went something like this:

It wasn’t the most thrilling of performances, but it was still cool to experience something different. That is, after all, a good reason to travel.

After the show, we walked a good distance along this street . . .

. . . and eventually found a classy restaurant that specialized in sukiyaki — another new experience for me. Basically, every table had a little stove-top-type-of-thing built into it, and we cooked the food ourselves. (That is, after the waitress showed us how to do it.)

So, what was the food?

Very very VERY high-quality, thinly-sliced Asian beef . . .

. . . and a whole mess of vegetables:

There were also eggs involved . . .

. . . but those didn’t get cooked. The waitress scrambled them for us, and without speaking a single word of English, she managed to communicate that we were supposed to use it as a dipping sauce.

Here’s what the food looked like as it was being cooked:

There was a LOT of soy sauce in there, and man, let me tell you, it was one of the best meals of my life. In case you missed it, there were three full trays of beef, so the food kept coming. Combine that with the four bowls of white rice that I ate, along with the whole pitcher of water that I drank, and I was . . . oof, yeah.

16 Comments

Speaking of quail eggs, my friend has 5 quail and one time we made french toast with it annd it was really good… we also made scrambled eggs and an omlet…

That last meal looks really good, but all of the other food looks like food that you would have to eat if you lost a bet.
-Ethan

http://teenredsfan.mlblogs.com/

NEVER GO IN TO WALMART IN JAPAN. I’VE SEEN PICTURES, AND ALL THEIR MEAT IS NOT EVEN PACKAGED. YOU JUST PICK OUT OF A CRATE WITH YOUR BARE HANDS. IT’S THE MOST UNSANITARY THING I’VE SEEN. NO YOU WONDER WHY JAPAN IS WEARING THOSE MASKS.

Why you screaming Doube T? :-)

Raw octopi isn’t all that bad. Sure, it looks strange, but if it’s “prepared” properly, the right sauce for dipping, it’s not bad at all!! Live raw octopi, now that’s a different story. No way, no how!

BRIAN- After reading your comment i decided that im determened to try octupus.

I’d have to go with the raw octopi. At least I wouldn’t have to wonder what it was. But really, it’s the photo above the b-grrain photo that creeps me out.

Zack,
I don’t want to freak you out any further, but the brain-like white thing in the picture above the raw octopus is cod sperm. Don’t ask how I know, I have no idea, but apparently it’s pretty popular in Japan.

-Will

NICHOLAS BADDERS-
That sounds pretty good. If I’d been there with you guys, I would’ve tried it.

ETHAN-
Haha! Well said.

DOUBLE T-
OKAY, THANKS FOR THE WARNING.

BRIAN-
You mean it’s *supposed* to be eaten raw? I just thought it was raw because . . . it hadn’t yet been cooked.

KSLO69-
I’m with ya.

WILL-
It pains me to say this, but I just Google-imaged “cod sperm,” and you’re absolutely right. I hope no one here at work ever looks back at my browser history.

Sukiyaki is one of my favorite meals. Actually, thanks for reminding me about it. Now that I have a job, I can finally afford to go eat it again.

You never had any octopus? Oh you are missing out – man, what would I give to have one of those Octopops right now! On the other hand, you seem to have eaten some Kobe beef and that should be a lot better. Havn’t had it myself yet because it’s crazy expensive.

I saw on twitter you have a gf? So Zack fill us in on the gf! Are you back with Jona or do you have someone new? Jona was pretty solid, so I hope if it’s someone new, that you did well again……

Ha you got me!!!

Good job dodging the cod sperm Zack. Close one.

I love the line “but I can tell you that it sucked beyond belief.” Even more, I love baseball. Baseball tomorrow!!!

Zack, those egg custard desserts are actually a very popular and easy to find dessert here in New York as well. You can find them in Chinese bakeries in Chinatown or in Flushing before a Mets game!

ANDREW GONSALVES-
You’re welcome.

XDEST-
If I had any octopus, I would gladly give it to you.

ANDY-
Jona was awesome, but ultimately we had a few too many differences and decided to go our seaprate ways. My new girlfriend’s name is Robin, and she’s coming with me tomorrow to Yankee Stadium . . .

DOUBLE T-
Tee-hee.

KSLO69-
Phew! (Also whew!)

COOK & SON BATS-
. . . and I love YOU.

ERIC D-
Yes yes, I’ve had them lots of times in New York, but they’re usually slimy and bleh. The ones in Japan were shockinly good.

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