Published: June 5th 2011May 24th 2011
Dishing up some Tororo
Been quite naughty recently in my obvious blog-neglect...I have diligently jotted "update blog" on every scrap-piece of paper to-do list around here for the past 3 weeks at least...but I have always been able to find an excellent, completely relevant excuse as to why I'm "too" something to just do it. This is what happens when I live by myself - I live very happily in my constant state of unaccountability!
Continuing in the vein of my last entry, I have been having a good old time trying to understand what Japan is all about through my digestive tract. This means yet another early Saturday morning departure (still haven't been able to find a way to reconcile being a good tourist while also getting a nice sleep-in), leaving my neighborhood Asabata hedges of green tea for the nearby historical town of
Mariko - or, in Japanese, 丸子
- which may translate to 'goldfish', 'pure child', or very possibly something else completely different. Anyway; it's the name of a town!
In warm sunshine and good company, I set out with my lovely guide, the ever-smiling Kazumi (all-around lovely Shizuoka local who takes precious time out of her days to kindly adopt annoying foreigners like me),
to Mariko's famous Restaurant Chojiya for a めっちゃ（'me-cha'; I think this is the Japanese equivalent of 'uber') traditional lunch of Tororo - just another one of those Shizuoka specialties...which, by the way, are almost becoming annoying - really, Shizuoka? You've got green tea, you've got wasabi, you've even got
for god sake...do you have to be NUMBER ONE at everything? Can't you give the rest of Japan a chance?
We are ushered upstairs by one of what seems hundreds of bustling, smiling members of staff exclaiming
, all of whom pause and bow as we intersect paths, allowing us to continue to our table. Sitting cross-legged on a tatami mat floor, we are almost immediately served our tororo lunch.
What the *&^% is that, you ask? Tororo is a slimy, sticky, stretchy and glutinous (salivating yet?) soup of sorts, made from grated yam. Tororo is best enjoyed simply, as all good Japanese things are; eaten over steamed gohan, or rice, topped with fresh green onion and chased with a bite here and there of Japanese tsukemono (pickles).
I have had some issues in getting down with the S factor in Japanese cuisine - S as in
Slimy. If it's slimy, they will eat it. They will friggin L-O-V-E it. Foreign concept, to say the least, to a westerner like Ms. Laura. The overall experience was the best part of the meal, but the slimy tororo wasn't too bad, either (plus it's fun to say; make sure to roll your r's
There are more photos below