Food, Food, Food

May 20, 2008

How does dinner, consisting of fish head, coagulate soy milk, and poisonous fish, sound to you? I’m afraid you won’t believe me, but it was absolute delicious. Take a look at the first 4 pics below: This was my dinner at a restaurant some days ago, with yummy tofu, then boiled fish head in a great sauce, followed by fried blowfish and a dessert. Actually, this was my second time eating blowfish … I probably wouldn’t dare in Germany, but here it’s pretty safe, I guess. The last row of pictures display my own cooking: Rice with fresh bamboo, spicy cucumber, a miso soup with radish + shiitake mushrooms, and tofu with lots of tiny, fresh fishes. Yay tofu! The other pictures probably speak for themselves. Oh, well, some few words about the middle row: It’s amazing how many different kinds of fish, shells, and other “ocean things” you can buy at every supermarket here. The pictures feature a shell called サザエ貝, before and after I cooked (or rather fried) it. Most people don’t eat all of the disgusting looking stuff, just the “foot” part (though I’ve been told that you can eat the rest, too, despite its bitter taste).

Well, the last days were a bit slow, with some plans that didn’t work out – like wanting to visit the Big Buddha statue, but having to find out that the bus is not running that day. For your information, this was no case of “foreigner being too stupid to read Japanese time tables”, but one Jpn. guy from our group made a mistakes in his planning. So there! ^^

Therefore, instead of real news, it’s language lecture time now…

In Japanese, foreign words are generally written with a simple, phonetic alphabet, called katakana (similar to the hiragana I mentioned before). Quite often, it’s easy to guess the meaning, since they’re trying to emulate the word’s original sound with their restricted alphabet. For example, “computer” is written as “kompyuuta” (コンピュータ). However, sometimes the Japanese pronunciation differs greatly, making it nearly impossible to guess the meaning (yet obvious once you know it). My favorite word so far was “shiitobeluto” (シートベルト), meaning “seat belt”. Recently, however, I found a new one: shichuu (シチュー), with the totally random translation of “stew”. How great is that?

So, what is your favorite example in this game of
“happy katakana guessing” (if you have any)?



  1. I knew it.You`re a brave man, eating blowfish.
    For the other parts. It looks quite different to my “Spargel” I actually sell here in Ahlen, but I can imagine, that it can taste good, except for the poor shell. Just to think about it would feel like to have something like this in my mouth, makes me feeling .. you know .. uncomftable.

  2. Spargel – yes, I’m missing this a little bit this summer. Well, you can buy (green!) asparagus here, but it’s just not the same.

    And for a rule of thumb: You never should put anything into your mouth that makes you feel uncomfortable … or maybe just once, to get the experience.
    For that “been there, done that” feeling.

  3. […] and “Todai” (Tokyo daigaku). Similar to the funny katakana words I mentioned in a previous entry, you really have to know the complete word in order make sense of the […]

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