Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Oishii sushi

At MIF the other day I picked up my little teacup that we had been given the opportunity to paint (shodo-style brush calligraphy with special ink) on a biscuit-fired cup. Now it has been properly fired and over-glazed to reveal my stunning take (bamboo) painting. Actually I was rather delighted that it's even recognisable.

Tonight I finally tried out the Midori Souhonten Sushi place at Shibuya. Judith and I used walk past this shop with its long queues a couple of years ago and clearly the sushi must be incredible because every day there were along lines standing or sitting on the benches provided outside while clients muse over the menu and salivate with expectation. I have meaning to try it for quite some time but on every occasion when I pass by, the queue is too off-putting. Finally, tonight I decided to duck in early (5.30) before the line was too long (about 15 minutes' wait) to celebrate buying my shinkansen ticket for Nagoya and my planned little vacation on Thursday-Friday at Mie, Ise on the coast where pearl fishing, the famous shrine and the wedded rocks are. This had been a small cause of anxiety because nearly every hotel at the beach of the wedded rocks was already booked out for the approaching holiday season when most Japanese people return to their home towns for Obon or just generally take summer vacation (including the Professor and others at my lab). So I was relieved when eventually I had secured a spot on the shinkansen and reserved my simple hotel from which to attempt a sunrise (4.30am) rock viewing.

Anyway, I realise retrospectively why the great fuss about Midori Souhonten Sushi. It is an artful sight to behold the 5 or 6 sushi chefs frantically yet painstakingly preparing individual dishes and miniature sushi pieces as if they were unique sculptures. Not only did it look well but it tasted exquisitely fresh and sensational (in the untarnished, literal meaning) and a generous meal that completely sated my day-long appetite only came to $15! You can also see that with a group of friends, it would be easy to be even more indulgent and try a greater variety of dishes or, with an exceptionally adventurous spirit, try some sea creatures with which you're not yet familiar. I was thoroughly delighted by those I did know and bemused watching others order giant abalone, sea urchin shells with spines hollowed out containing the guts (a delicacy) served inside or conch shells (presumably with morsels therein - difficult to see as they whizzed past).