Real art

Research in Tokyo part 13:
Yesterday was totally devoted to food. Not just food but the art of food. My main goal was to see the masters at work, to be with them in the kitchen while they work.

I had made a reservation in Bon, a very exclusive Zen Buddhist restaurant. When I entered they brought me into a small tatami room. I was alone! Around me I heard (through the paper doors) the sounds of other guest chatting in their rooms. For one and a half-hour they served me the most delicate and amazing vegetarian dishes.

Like these fried sea nuddles and fried leaf. After this lunch (and a lot of negotiations) they allowed me to be in the kitchen, where I met the cooks and looked at them while they were preparing the food for the evening.

But the day wasn’t over yet. My friend Keiko made a reservation in Zauo. a fish restaurant at the Washington Hotel in Shinjuku. The Restaurant contains a large boat in a pool with a lot of fish. They are specialised in ‘ikezukuri’, fish that is served alive. But in this case we first had to catch the fish ourselves. I come from a fishing nation; I caught two fishes and a lobster.

Again they allowed me in the kitchen to watch their art. Super-fast they cleaned and cut the fish.

So when it got served on our table the fish didn’t realise yet that he actually was dead. On the dish the animal was still moving. I softly talked to them while I eat, but I don’t know if they heard me. It was very strange to eat a living fish in a skyscraper while around me Japanese businessmen were trying to catch fish.

Because I want to learn as much as possible about food, today the mother of my friend Tari invited me (again) for a special diner. She prepared a typical season dish and while eating she explained me the principals of Japanese cooking and serving, because every dish has its own plate and method of preparation.
Luckily Japanese food is light, if not by now I would have gained so much weight that nobody would’t recognise me anymore.