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Monday, November 22, 2004


Man, last night was wild.... I'm still feeling the effects. That's what comes from being too "polite" (stay with me, I'll explain).

Yesterday, all four of us, me, Miyuki, her brother Yuichiro and Yumi (Yu-chan's wife) went to this guys house for dinner.


This is Fisuko-san, his wife Michiko-san is Yumi-chan's weaving teacher (weaving, like on a loom... hey, winters are long here).
Fisuko-san is a Sumi-e (ink painting) artist, full time and apparently, quite successful. His odd self-appointed moniker comes from the fact that Fisuko-san paints fish quite well, and lots of them. The guy is simply amazing, watching him paint is like being with David Blaine as he's doing his "in close" magic. It IS a magic trick... you watch paint something and can still have no idea of how he actually did it. Of how this image, from a few strokes, just jumps out of paper. He even keeps up this kind of patter through the process, leading you along. Also, he's been doing it for so long (around 40 years) he can conjure these images up from memory alone. It's just cool to watch. Even now, today, sober and in pain, I'm still looking at the ones he gave to us with a kind of awe.

But to get to their place we drive way out of town, turn onto a dirt road, go past the lumber mill and finally arrive. Beautiful house, great interior. Lovely freaky contradictions..... a shelf full of custom made buck knives, art all over the place, a wood burning stove and a traditional Japanese hearth (an irori) set into the floor, and the biggest most beautiful Panasonic flat screen TV I have ever seen. Kind of like this one. But in a gleaming white frame.

Ah, but main event, the meal. It was a feast, tasty and never ending. And quite exotic. We had a stew of wild mushrooms (that Fisuko-san picked from around his property) with wild pig meat. An appetizer of spicy shredded daikon with trout eggs and a kind of black mushroom. We had expensive sashimi with homemade wasabi and karasumi, a type of
dried fish cake, and oyster tonkatsu. A clear soup of clams and yuzu, a kind of Japanese citrus fruit... But the real kicker was a salad of cucumbers, daikon and deer SASHIMI(!). That's raw deer, if you didn't know. I can't really speak to the flavor much, as it was surprisingly mild, but I was so compelled to eat the stuff merely because of the concept of such a thing. I was eating Bambi, uncooked. Wild, man....

But Fisuko-san had been ill recently and forbidden by Michiko-san from drinking. But last night, because of company, he was given a day pass. He must have been ill for a while because it seemed he had a lot of catching up to do. And very eager to share a his agenda with me. The program consisting of big tall glasses of sochu. Several actually. As I wasn't driving and I'm ALWAYS a very polite guest, I felt obliged to comply...

good manners hurt.