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Showing posts from September, 2009

Choushi Fisheries and Auction!

When Japanese think of the big names in fishery products they think of places like Tsukijii, Kushiro, and Hachinohe.  Very little, however, is ever mentioned about Choushi fisheries, which is located at the northern tip of Chiba, on the Pacific Ocean side.
The day I decided to go there it was on a comfortable Monday morning at 9a.m.   This time I  didn’t have to worry about waking up at the crack of down, like when I went to Tsukijii back  in Tokyo.  I took my time after checking-out of the hotel  and headed down to watch these sage fishermen auction off their  fresh morning catches.

These are tuna and the white labels are the identification markers.

Fish inspectors

They cut the tails in order to measure the meat and fat content.

These three fish are called Bonito or Katsuo.

Here’s a look at the lineup for the auction

There is just nothing like standing in a fish market like this where literally hundreds of thousands of pounds of fish lay on wet pavement.  Even now I am craving more s…

Inubosaki Keisei Hotel



After that extravagant lunch at Akemi's restaurant I headed back to Choushi Station to catch the Dentetsu, a small one car local private train, which has been popularized in various travel magazines with its beautiful decor and old country feel.  It was a lovely experience riding on a train this small and being able to enjoy a full 360 degree view from all the windows of beautiful country fields as the train snaked around rails covered in flowers and mangled brier patches.

This commute was very different from the sweaty heat boxes like on the Keihin Tohoku line during rush hour. Riding the Dentetsu is based on an honor system which means you don't have to actually purchase a ticket, as most stations along its line have neither a ticket wicket nor a machine to purchase it from. You simply head for the platform, board and tell the conductor where you want to go and pay him directly. ( if you don’t say anything he won’t ask)

 I got off at Inubo Station - nice…

How to Properly Enjoy Seafood in Chiba!

Before saying goodbye to Mr. Hidenori, he introduced me to his favorite restaurant called "Hitachi," which is ran by a lovely jukujo ' momma class' woman who was born and homegrown right in Chiba.  She's married and a mother of one fully grown son, and together all three of them run the restaurant.   One of the great charms upon being greeted by her was her lovely smile and tender eyes.  Her lips were full  and covered in expensive deep red lipstick; you know, the kind that doesn't  come off easily when kissing and eating.   She's also semi-fluent in English, which was great because she was able to explain everything she served to me in English.  I was treated like royalty, literally!  I haven't felt this kind of hospitality since my Hanamaki days up in Tohoku. 
The restaurant itself was old and traditional looking.  Everything inside was clean and the whole atmosphere was homely and warm, and most of all,  I didn't feel like I was out of place as…

Chiba Prefecture: Choushi 銚子

Most junior high school students in Japan, who actually pay attention in class, can recognize names of places around their own homeland; places like the name's of major fishing ports, temples and shrines, and so on.   Some Japanese may even recognize what's called the Big Three fishing ports: Tsukijii, Kushiro, and Choushi!   Of course there are many more amazing fishing ports, but the three I just mentioned are major hubs that not only haul in some of the largest catches in Japan, but are also internationally recognized distributors of just about every kind of fish you can imagine.
When I got off the train at Choushi Station, the first order of business was food – as usual.  The plan ran like clockwork: get off the train, collect some tourist information before leaving the station , and then footing it all the way to the fishing port.   About five minutes into my walk a portly gentleman approached me unexpectedly from my right.   He introduced himself as Hidenori Kakuta, a…

From the Desk of McAlpine: 結婚しき。

A co-worker once told me that the best marriages are the ones where both husband and wife run a business together.  Trust is key in any business, and what better business partner to have than your own spouse.   But, can a traditional style family nucleus model work also?  Can a working husband and a sit-at-home wife have a successful marriage, too?Today, the perceptions of the role of man and woman in a marriage is being challenge more now than at anytime in history.  More and more women and men are asking, why marry?  What’s the incentive?  Recently, I got into an argument with a ridiculous Japanese lady on Skype the other day.  She said that she had to have a husband who was not only able to work ten hours a day, but  come home and wash the dishes, too.  She went on to say that she was angry at me for even suggesting that she wash the dishes.   She angrily said that her role in the marriage would only be to stay home and cook! I went on and asked her, “ What about your mother and fa…