This here, is a really awesome meal of… something. That I don’t remember. I remember eating this for one of my first meals out with my host mother and a family friend. I can’t remember exactly what it’s called, but this was one of the dishes I felt ambivalent about.
At the very top of the picture, you can see the plate of sashimi raw fish, a piece of octopus (!!!), and again, carrot slices cut into the shape of flowers arranged on a Perilla leaf (also called shiso 紫蘇). I will talk more about the seafood in Japan at a later date, but the fish was amazingly fresh. I could definitely taste a difference between the quality of seafood in Japan and what I have eaten stateside. The octopus was rubbery, as expected. But I had never eaten Perilla leaf before and was surprised at the minty but slightly bitter taste. It had become an acquired taste as I became accustomed to eating Perilla leaf with sashimi raw fish throughout my trip.
I remember liking eating the top-right plate, but I don’t remember anymore what it is. If anyone recognizes it, please feel free to let me know in the comments below! The soup on the lower-left is a variation of miso soup. In Japan, they don’t limit miso soup to just tofu cubes and seaweed–you can also find scallions, carrots, potatoes, other vegetables and meat as well. Then we have some side dishes in the middle–seasoned eggplant slices, pickled radish cubes with seaweed. On the very left is the main portion of the meal. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what it is called or what is it made of but I know for sure that I did not finish it. It had a very rustic and organic taste and flavor.
When I arrived in Japan, I knew that there would be dishes I would not like (this especially worried me at first because I was not a big fan of seafood and what is Japan? Oh right, an island surrounded by water), but I had two main goals as I stepped on foreign soil. One was to become proficient at the language, and the other was the embrace the culture to have the best cultural experience as I could during the short duration. This included eating all the different varieties of the foods that I was exposed to, even if I would not like it. While I may not always finish what I have, I will always try it and I will be proud of the experience, one that I can share with you today.