Of Kujira and Other Research

I would normally make a golf report at this time, but with just three rounds in the past two months, in three different countries, without any birdies, let’s just say that my game is in a research phase. 

And so is my diet. Research whaling has been a topic in the news over the years, and last week I turned my attention to that very topic. The results?

Kujira bacon is the dish I’ve encountered most often, and one finds it in various forms, usually appearing rather fatty, but sometimes, as I found twice last week, with streaks of meat right through it. It has an unmistakeable kujira taste but is an easy piece of meat to chew. Recommended pairings: draft beer or potato shochu.

Then there is kujira katsu and kujira karaage. These are interesting, because not only does the normally red kujira meat take on a black color once cooked, but it becomes quite chewy when fried. Unlike the bacon, which being so fatty and sliced so thin offers little resistance to chewing, the substantial black pieces of kujira katsu require some more effort. Recommended pairings: draft beer or whisky highballs.

Continuing the research, and I highly recommend this if you want to try a lot of kujira at once, is to order the kujira set. Here we have the fluke, and kujira bacon, and intestine, and tongue. All have that unmistakable kujira flavor, but what is most distinctive is the texture. 

I struggle in my description of these textures, beyond quite chewy, although the fluke is a bit crunchy as well, so let me mention some good drinks to go with these. Recommended pairings: draft beer, potato shochu, and fugu hire-zake. 

And if one is lucky, there will be kujira sashimi, which is perhaps my favorite.

The sashimi is rich and tasty, with a hint of kujira flavor, but otherwise quite similar to any other red meat. Uma comes to mind, although I would not have that until later in the week, in an extensive foray through the shops at the Kumamoto station, where one could have free samples of uma prepared so many ways. There was even uma bacon.

But I digress. After so much kujira research, what better way to finish the evening than with a hot bowl of tonkotsu ramen?

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After conducting the kujira research, I turned my attention to grass.

This is manilagrass (Zoysia matrella) at Kumamoto-jo. I hadn’t visited for seven years and was pleased to have a chance to study the grasses on the grounds in some detail. 

I couldn’t find any kujira at Kumamoto but there was plenty of uma, which I had for my afternoon snack. In fact, I even bought some, as a gift, something I did not do when I saw the assorted kujira gift pack at a train station earlier in the day.

Now I am back to a small island in the South China Sea, where I can continue my turfgrass research in this pastoral setting, far from such exotic foods.

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