Friday, July 28, 2006

Eel bowl

Uh...... It's been so hot these days! Rainy season seems to be gone, and the full-fledged "heat" season has come here in Japan.

Today, it is sunny, and the temperature in my house is 32C (89.6F) , the humidity 56 percent.
(early in the morning I opened every single window of my house to let out heat and get winds in, though)
I'd say it is cooler than yesterday. It must have been over 40C outside on asfalt roads (of course joking), but it was that hot.

Anyway, amid this unbelievably hot weather, we tend to lose our appetite, finally strength.
Oh please, doesn't anything give us some treatments?!
---Yes of course, there is a special one. It is, EEL.

Do they eat eel in your country? If no, it may sound strange.
In traditional Japanese calendar there is a day called "doyo-no-ushi-no-hi," translated as "Midsummer Day of the Ox," this year it fell on July 23rd. And on this day it is customary to eat eel.

One reason might be like this: people in the past times knew from experience that eating eel helped them gain energy, so they might think they should eat eel when having little appetite in midsummer.
Actually, eel is a very nutritious food. Did you know?

So around "doyo-no-ushi-no-hi" day, every fish shop, supermarket, and department store frantically sells eel, often roasted and soysause-and-sugar-seasoned eel, which is called "kabayaki."

This is what I ate on that day. I bought "kabayaki" eel and put it on a bowl of cooked rice.
This dish is called "una-don (pronounced like woo-na-don)." Una is unagi(woo-na-gi), meaning eel, and don is domburi, a bowl.
Seems tasty, huh? It was!! :)

What is your "rescuer" from the decreased appetite during dog days of summer?!


At 7/28/2006 01:26:00 PM, Blogger mike said...

This is a great web site. I found it by accident and reccomend it. I like the approach and the theme. Very informative.

At 7/28/2006 03:33:00 PM, Blogger AK(st) said...

Well, that seems interesting. In Switzerland we don't really have some special food to eat during summer. I don't know whether Swiss eat eel or not. I for sure ate eel a couple times when I ate some Japanese food and I found it quite tasty.
Do you know that we eat horse over here? It's a rather normal thing in Switzerland but when I told the fact to my hostfamily in the US they were shocked!;)

At 7/28/2006 05:36:00 PM, Blogger asta said...

Dear mike,

Thank you very much for finding my blog! I must thank that "accident" that led you here :)
The stereotypical image of Japan may be well-known, of course, but I thought I'd like to introduce more immediate aspects of this country, that way we could learn more and feel close each other's culture, and it would be fun.

Thank you. Visit and enjoy my page whenever you feel like it!

At 7/28/2006 06:02:00 PM, Blogger asta said...

Dear AK(st),

In Switzerland, are there many shops selling Japanese foods, or restaurants serving Japanese cuisines? I don't know how common they are abroad, but if it's been so, I feel happy.

Oh, you often eat horses there? Wow. We do too in Japan, but not so popular.
At some izakaya(=a place like bar and restaurant combined), they serve basashi, "horse sashimi." (Do you know sashimi? Sliced raw fish, shell fish, or meat.) Yes in that case we eat horse raw! Do you do it in your country?!
At some big supermarkets, they sell 'horse sashimi' too.

But in both cases the price is quite high, so it's a kind of rare food.
World's food culture is so interesting, isn't it?

At 7/29/2006 12:46:00 AM, Blogger AK(st) said...

There are quite some restaurants where you can get Japanese food although it's not as popular as Chinese food I'd say. Japanese food is rather expensive and many people don't like the idea of eating (raw) fish...
Whether we eat horse often or not? Well I wouldn't say so - but it's different from family to family. We don't eat it raw though.

At 8/01/2006 04:24:00 PM, Blogger asta said...

Hmm, I can imagine Japanese food may not be so popular there, it's distant from Switzerland, and certainly I've ever heard that there are some people in the world who don't even think of eating raw seafood. That's natural, I think.

The situation is similar here too. Of course Japanese eat meat, but for example my aunt doesn't like it; somehow she doesn't seem to accept the taste of meat...
My parents don't like dairy products like butter and cheese, they seem to reject peculiar "milk smell"(how I'd say) of those foods.

Since Japan is surrounded with sea, people have traditionally been familiar with fish, so even now there may be some people who unconsciously avoid "animal food," not sure but I guess...

How about me? Anything, everything is OK :):) (except too much fat)


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