Maybe it’s because we’d just finished watching The Matrix, and the post-movie izakaya conversation is all about comparing the worldview of the Wachowski Bros to the Buddhist concept that all reality exists only in our minds, but when I see that someone has ordered these little silver fish, I know a “clear your mind of all thought” moment is imminent.
As they sizzle on the hibachi, lovingly tended by the guy who ordered them for us, I can’t help but notice that the grill-ees are all staring at me with their beady little fish eyes. What’s more, I don’t need any higher order equations to be pretty sure that these kind of fish plus chopsticks do not equal “neatly pick off the meat and leave the squicky bits.”
Charred to perfection, one is laid on my plate. Invoking the Easter bunny, I take a deep breath and bite off the head. The thought “there are fish eyes and fish gills and fish skull and fish brain in your mouth RIGHT NOW” is not allowed to enter my mind.
Crunch, crunch, gulp, okay, okay, okay, safe!
After that, the fins and tail (and stomach and intestines and tiny little fish kidneys no no do not think about those DO NOT) are a no-brainer.
Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Tokyo
Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!