Sunday, March 12, 2006

Kojohama Culinary Delights

So way back in January, some friends of mine in Izumo gave me some money to buy them some of the seafood delights that you can pick up here in Hokkaido.

They gave me close to $400.

Of course, once I got back here and Wasabi-kun died on me, there were a few other more important thing occupying my mind than going out and buying seafood for other people.

When things finally settled down a bit, I brought up the subject with the one guy I know in Muroran who knows where to get things: Mr. Araki, the owner of Ippuku-tei. He's the Muroran version of Caretaker or Red.

Not that I'm comparing Muroran to prison, mind you. But he is the guy who helped me out with my crabs.

Well, that just sounds wrong.

Anyway, I told him about this request and asked if he could help me out in getting all of that stuff. He told me that there's a little shop in Shiraoi (two towns east of here) that is just the place I need to go.

We made plans to head out this morning and do some seafood shopping.

He picked me up at 10 AM and then we went over to his parents' house and picked up his mother, who also wanted to do some shopping out there.

Then we hit the road, bound for Kojohama.

Kojohama is a little fishing village in the west part of Shiraoi. I love Japanese fishing villages. There's such a unique atmosphere to them. You drive down a road between houses and stores that crowd the road you drive on, and there are waves crashing right behind half of them. It's so out of my range of experience that I just love to drive through them.

So we reach the store and head in. The owners have already set aside some stuff I requested, as Mr. Araki had called ahead and checked on what was available.

I must say, I was impressed.

Seafood of all kinds, all over the place. It wasn't the biggest of shops, but the size gave it a cozy, local feeling that I liked.

Fish. Salmon roe. Octopus legs. Some kind of shellfish. Shrimp. Dried salmon.

Wow.

So I bought a bunch of stuff for my friends, and worked it out so that, with shipping, I had only 20 yen left. Nicely played on my part, and I was able to pick up most of the stuff they asked for. What the shop didn't have, I replaced with some other local delicacies.

I taste-tested the salmon roe. I don't even like salmon roe. It looks like bait, for crying out loud.

But this salmon roe (ikura) was tasty.

Somewhere Hiroshi is laughing at me and thinking, "I told you so."

The lady that ran the shop gave me some goodies to take home: shrimp and some dried fish.

Mr. Araki's mom gave me some tarako (spicy fish eggs, which, despite the image you may have, are surprisingly good) as well.

So when I got home, I called up my buddy Eisaku and told him to come over for some food this evening. He said he'd be here.

And now here we are.

Hmmm, I'm feeling a bit on the sleepy side. I think I'll take a nap.

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