Sunday, overcast and breezy, cool and pleasant. A perfect day to have two friends over for lunch.

  • Tomato okazu: chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and octopus, sliced myoga, baby ginger, and shiso leaf dressed with rice wine vinegar, sugar, and salt (I added a splash of sake) and folded into cooled white rice.
  • Grilled kinmedai (golden-eye seabream).
  • Assorted pickles including my new favorite: pickled daikon with a hint of umeboshi (pickled plum) taste.
  • Barley tea.
  • For dessert: melon, cherries from Yamagata Prefecture, and mochi with a sweet, black sesame sauce.

Conversational topics:

  • Green tea, kinds, enjoyment of, my daily need for. Thing to try sometime: handrolled green tea.
  • Hiking trails near Kurihama and Mount Miura Fuji (a baby Fuji-san) and the small shrines lining the path to the summit. To visit near Kurihama: small fish market with boats bringing in the catch.
  • How kanji is a pain in the ass, but I have a compulsion to learn it. A friend’s conquest of English during 12 years in the US.
  • Yamagata Prefecture: known for cherries, beef, and apples. The two onsens with boiling hot water that made me look like a fat steamed lobster. General discussion of onsens.

I love, love, love Japan.