Hamamoto just clued me into an interesting bit of info I had overlooked. Arnold, the guy running for governor in California, was in the a movie–my favorite Arnold flick, as a matter of fact–Predator. But what’s interesting is that in this movie there was another soon-to-be politician: Jesse “the Body” Ventura, Governor of the Land of Lakes, the great State of Minnesota. Does anyone know if anyone else in the movie is planning to become a politician? Kinda scary…
Shadow Puppets: Monkey sex!
Mmh provides a link to a video of shadow puppets that is really pretty funny: Monkey sex. It’s amazing. I thought your fingers were only for eating sushi, typing, digital sti… nevermind. hahaha.
Sushi: Japan, Korea and smoke
On the recommendation of a colleague at work–the same one whose power of suggestion caused me great gastro-intestinal distress a few days ago–I went to a Japanese restaurant called Yama in Vienna last Saturday. She told me that the sushi was passable… I should have known better. This is the same person who told me that the all-you-can-eat seafood place near Farifax Circle called Peter Pan was great… It was plentiful but a bit heavier, than I enjoy. I think maybe its good for young people with great appetites, but not for the elderly, like me. Peoples tastes–likes and dislikes–are contingent on many factors, including age and culture and environment. Anyway, Yama has a sushi bar and Musubi-chan and I sat down and order the basics that were available. There wasn’t a lot–I mean, this IS Virginia, not LA or Tokyo–but that’s okay, if it’s good. Maguro (tuna), hirame (flounder), and hamachi (baby-yellowtail). The hirame was over two days old. Fresh hirame is almost crunchy… its hard to describe, but it is never soft or mushy. The maguro was passable–the neta (fish itself) was cut too thin–and the hamachi was pretty good for farm-raised, as most hamachi served in the US is. The Vienna roll–eel, asparagus, avocado–was a waste of money. But the spider roll–soft-shell crab–was almost excellent. I say almost because the biggest problem for me was the rice.
The operators of this establishment are Korean–no, no, they do not serve Nemo-maki–and the service and freshness were adequate, certainly better than some Japanese-owned places I have been to. But the problem is the seasoning of the rice. I’ve come to the conclusion that this could be a Korean thing. It’s not bad, just different, but not what I expect in sushi meshi (rice). It seems to me that Koreans like there flavors bolder than Japanese. This might explain their taste in spicy foods, such as kimchee, a favorite of mine; and the tendency in Korean-made takuan, the yellow pickled radish, to be sweeter than its Japanese counterpart. Sushi rice is, IMHO, supposed to be subtle in flavor, otherwise it would mask the subtle taste of the fish, for sushi is, after all, about the fish and its freshness.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying Korean sushi tastes bad; it is a bolder–perhaps sweeter–taste than I am accustomed to in sushi. And I am definitely not saying the Koreans can’t make good sushi. That is something I would NEVER say, for it has nothing to do with race or genetics. There are many stupid Japs who say that only Japanese can make good sushi because it is uniquely Japanese. That’s a bunch of crap, as that would be tantamount to saying–as I have mentioned a number of times previously–that Japanese cannot make good pasta or steaks or even ramen. But they can. And I know for a fact that Koreans can make good sushi as I have eaten tasty sushi by Koreans before. But these were Koreans born and raised in Japan. I guess it simply has to do with the environment in which one is raised. The Koreans in Japan have been raised with Japanese food and know the subtleties of sushi eaten in Japan, even as they still maintain the flavors of their “own” culture–of course, if they were born and raised in Japan, there “culture” is also Japanese, but that’s an issue for another day. I have a Japan born-and-raised North Korean friend who runs a Korean BBQ restaurant in Tachikawa, so I’m not giving you a bunch of BS or trying to kiss anyones arse (re: Chaucer). She makes excellent sushi, to go along with her kakuteki (gaggduki?) and she should bottle her tare (Korean BBQ sauce?!?), it would make her a millionaire over here. Oh yeah, her pickled seseme leaves–egoma in Japanese–almost brings me to orgasm, its so good.
But the greatest obstacle to eating sushi is smoke. The one good sushi place in DC is a dive called Cafe Japonais. The owner is a jerk, and the place is filled with smoke, y’know, the kind of place from where you return home and your clothes and hair reek of cigarette smoke. If I ever get lung cancer from second-hand smoke, I’m gonna sue this place. But the sushi there is pretty good, far better that Kaz’s Bistro near school. But the smoke prevents me from going there. It’s so rare to eat good sushi; to think that it’s spoiled by the smell of smoke exhaled from someone else’s lungs. Yuck. Hahaha, all this bitching from a former two-pack a day Marlboro Red smoker. Well, it’s usually the ex-smokers who are the most annoying. So Taku, you quit smoking, yet? I’ve been clean for over three years… except once, when I had to bum smokes from my students at Cafe Japonais. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em… bachi ga ataru ze.
But even back then, when I was a heavy smoker, I would not have a cigarette when I sat at a sushi bar. When I refer to the subtle taste of sushi, I am dead serious. I would never alter my tastebuds with tar and nicotine when I eat a delectable slice of hirame or madai (tile fish?) or, aaaah, the perfect shime saba (pickled mackerel). Ooooh, you have not lived until you’ve eaten the perfect shime saba. Ooooo, talk about orgasmic. Man, now I hafta take a cold shower…