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Previously Undiscovered Cow Parts

It’s a cold autumn night and I’ve been outside for hours and suddenly I could eat an entire cow.

Oh wow, look at this! YES PLEASE.

Cheery little burner is lit, pile of awesome-looking stuff begins to melt down, mingling juices bubble merrily, and finally, finally, finally, servings are ladled out! Oh, no. Lurking under that innocent-looking pile of vegetables and strips of bacon-y meat are, yes, big chunks of…cow stomach. Those puffy bits are intestines and that rubbery, waffly-looking thing is tripe, I just know it. But my Japanese friend is tucking in with delight, so butch up, little missy. It won’t kill you if you wolf it down really fast and chase it with some beer.

All right, whew, done. But what’s this stringy black thing in my bowl? Hoping it’s a cooked version of my favorite seaweed, I said, hey this looks kind of like umibudō. Yeah, that’s what it is, my so-called friend says.

Note to self: next time, bring a LIE DETECTOR to dinner, because the instant Mr. Black Stringy Thing is in my mouth, I know he’s definitely NOT a member of the vegetable kingdom in good standing.

Okay, what was that, really?

Well, you know how cows have four stomachs? That’s what the second one tastes like.

On the left: glistening bits of intestines and a big swadge of cow stomach. On the right: scary strings of Second Stomach. By this time I’m even eyeing the tofu suspiciously, fearing it might be BRAINS.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

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Jonelle Patrick View All

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!

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