I swore to myself that I would be adventurous with my eating while here in Japan. Well last night started that off with a bang and I can definitely tell you some things that I will not be eating ever again!
The manager of our hotel wanted to take us all out to dinner (to his family's restaurant?), so we went to this great little establishment close to the hotel that was down and ally and literally almost covered by a banner with Kanji writing on it (you never would guess it was a restaurant/bar because we had to duck to get in, never mind see the place)
We sit down at this huge table with people who he introduced to us (Korean's who are his good friends, who live in the US, Seattle). He mentions something about Plum Sake, I don't remember ever agreeing to this beverage. Glasses are brought over, some identifiable, others less so. I can recognize a beer no problem, a small glass is put in front of me that looks like water with ice but when I sipped it it had a sweet flavor. Plum sake? Yes indeed it was. Made from fermenting plums in what looks to be a massive pickle jar sitting on a wall across from the bar. I'm certain they power the cars with this stuff!
Throughout the evening plates keep coming and the plum sake keeps flowing. Saying "no" or "no thank you" or "I don't eat that" is not an option. No means yes. In Japan at least. First plate was a variety of raw seafood (yellowfin, octopus, and squid). Squid I can tell you is foul in texture and doesn't have any flavor for the most part. The texture starts hard then rubbery then a part of is squishy. It was all I could do to keep it down (plum sake helped). Octopus (Yes BRad I tried it!) was interesting. The tentacles were still there which was a little much for me, again, the texture was just strange, kind of rubbery but not too bad. Yellowfin on the other hand was the best that I have ever had, very fresh and delicious!
Next up. Chicken balls. I can't be certain that this wasn't literal. I tried to clarify but seeing as I don't speak Japanese and don't know if "balls" translates the same, my efforts were lost in translation! I tried it. It was very gamey, not like any chicken I've had.
Next was a plate of pizza, clearly done for our benefit. I actually passed on this dish (I don't think they new, they were too preoccupied trying to make sure my plum sake glass was full!)
Next plate was "meat" cutlets that they called chicken. Again I tried it. gamey. But the wasabi textured condiment (it was yellow and very much like horseradish) was fantastic!
Final plate was what I like to call meat on a stick. I think it was pork, and for a non-pork eater it was pretty good. There was some kind of sauce on it giving it some flavor.
After all of the eating Yoshi-San (our hotel manager) wanted to take us out for Karaoke (haha!) He wasn't really taking no for an answer but thankfully our supervisor was with us and she was more firm about us being tired, etc. She was able to respectfully get us out of that portion of the evening! Karaoke will have to be experienced at a later time, not a work night!
Sorry no pictures of the food/experience. It was pouring and I didn't bring my camera to dinner (Had I known what was in store I would have been more diligent about it!)