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November 02, 2005


I know, I know…you’re saying, “it’s about time!” It’s been too long since I’ve posted, and I apologize. It’s been busy with work and getting Melody ready to head out to sea. She left a week ago Monday, and will be out for about a month and a half. I’ll head to Hong Kong some time this month to see her, and promise that we’ll do some blogworthy traveling while we’re there. We’re thinking of maybe checking out Macau to see what that’s like. True to form, Melody has picked a nice place for us to stay (read that, “classy and expensive”). I just look at it as money in the bank so someday we can spend a week in a $4 a night hut on some beach in Thailand or India. Payback’s coming!

And, although it passed me by, in October, this blog turned 1. So, belated happy birthday to us!

Not much to speak about really. Life’s become sort of routine. So, I bought a bike. The plan is that Melody and I can use them to ride around town and get to some cool, off the beaten tourist track places while getting some exercise. I took it out for an inaugural spin last Saturday, and spent the day tooling around Kamakura. In a couple of weeks, it’s Shichigosan (七五三) time again, when the 7 (shichi), 5 (go), and 3 (san) year olds get dressed up and go to the local temple. The Hachimangu temple in the center of town was chock full of little children dressed in their kimonos and traditional garb (not sure what the boys dress in) going to the temples to drive out evil spirits. It’s really neat to see, and Hachimangu was a great place to get a good feel for it. It was sort of like seeing a bunch of scarlet macaws or other brightly plumaged birds fluttering around having their pictures taken. Many families had a couple of kids with them, and all were having a good time. It was really cute to see some of the littlest ones tuckered out, catching a few winks on their fathers’ shoulders.

I had supper with our landlords Sunday night. I’d gone over to pay my parking space rent (thankfully the Yen rate has improved, so it only cost me about $105 this month), and they invited me to stay for supper. Since I’m bacheloring it, I reverted to Batchelor Rule #1: Never Refuse a Free Meal, and agreed. As usual supper was delicious (grilled fish caught right in the sea nearby, rice, miso soup, salad, dumplings, stir fried pork…) with the obligatory surprise dish (I sometimes wonder if they do that on purpose…). This time it was…Jellyfish. I was eating a delicious salad with what I thought were grilled onions on top…onions that did not taste oniony…I was about halfway through when Sai popped the question (no, not that question…):

“David-san…You can eat?” Sai always asks this at some point in the meal, while pointing to something on my plate. It is at this point that my stomach starts having a simultaneous conversation with my brain which will be represented by the parenthetical text below.

Suddenly fearing the worst, I said, “Um…why? What is it?”
(Stomach, this is Brain …stand by for SITREP)
(Brain, this is Stomach. Roger.)


“Jellyfish?” I asked.
(Stomach, this is Brain. How hungry are you still? We have potentially disgusting food inbound. Jellyfish.)
(Brain, this is stomach…how much is there?)
(Stomach, Brain. An ounce or two…maybe 3. No more than 4, though. Unless it’s about 5. Hell, I don’t know…isn’t any Jellyfish too much?)
(Brain, Stomach…How much do I have to eat to be polite?)

“Hai. Jellyfish.”

“You mean jellyfish (making squiglling tentacle motion with my hands)?”
(Stomach, this is Brain…he’s serious…I think the boss is going to have to eat it…Stand by.)

“Hai. Jellyfish.”

“You can’t eat jellyfish…they bite you!” I said.

“No…it’s ok. Now no bite. Now you bite.” said Sai.

“Ahh…So desu ne!” (Oh, I see!) I said. “OK then, I’ll give it a try.!”

So, with that in mind, and remembering all the times I’ve been stung by jellyfish, I exacted my revenge. By biting one back.

I’m sure you’re wondering what jellyfish tastes like…Well, it’s consistency is not so much like jelly, but rather like the thick skin that develops on top of what we used to call, “Hospital Jell-O™” when we were kids. You know, that gross chewy stuff that spontaneously generates when Jell-O™ is past its prime. It wasn’t disgusting, really…not like it should have been, just strangely chewy and fishy flavored. I ate it, though. And no, peanut butter would not have helped it any. I will have to say that the first guy to ever have eaten jellyfish…he was a brave man. And probably very, very hungry. Or, he ate it on a dare. I can just imagine the scene…

“Hey…I bet you wouldn’t eat that.”

“Eat what?”



“Yeah, that.”

“What is it?”

“I dunno…it squishes.”

““I’m not gonna eat it. You do it.”’

“No way. You do it.”

“Uh uh. Not gonna do it. You.”

“Nope. You…”

“I know…Let’s get Ugg to do it.”


“Yeah…remember how he ate a fish. Raw? That was so disgusting! And that octopus? I mean, he didn’t even bother to whack it to death with a stick or anything. He just stuffed it in his mouth.”

“Oh yeah! I remember! Ha Ha! The tentacles flapping around, choking him, all those sucker marks…that was hiliarious!”

“Hey, Ugg! You hungry?”

I hope he started with the jelly part…

I’ll be doing a bit of local travel over the next couple of weeks that should result in some good pictures. This weekend, I’m going to Nokogiri-yama (Nokogiri Mountain. Quick Japanese lesson…whenever you see “yama” following a word, it means “mountain.”). In this week’s Metropolis magazine, the local expat weekly, there actually was a serendipitous article about the place…complete with pictures. Check it out…

Posted by djf on November 2, 2005 10:10 AM
Category: Dave in Japan
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