July 31, 2005 – Raw horse

Today was supposed to be a big double birthday party combined with watching fireworks at Numazu summer festival, however almost everybody ended up cancelling at the last minute. We ended up taking a small group to an izakaya called Uotami across from Numazu station.

The usual izakaya of choice for English teachers is Ryuu, which offers cheap beer and sushi in a no frills, tatami mat and low table environment. Uotami is a big step up on decor: upon entering you walk over a glass floor positioned above a zen rock garden. The tables are all sunken in the floor, and the booths offer a lot more privacy. The food menu is also much larger, in line with other big chains like Watami.

One of the other teachers and I noticed that the menu featured basashi, which is slices of raw horse meat (yes, horse!) served like sashimi. I had never eaten horse in any form before, so I was interested in trying. We decided to order it and not tell anyone else.

When the food arrived, we got a plate with thin slices of red meat, looking similar to some types of tuna. People started asking what kind of fish it was, and I told them to try it and let me know what they thought. We all dove in with our chopsticks.

In my opinion, raw meat isn’t nearly as good as raw fish. The meat was slightly stringy and slimy, and didn’t have the same nice flavour that raw fish does. After almost everybody had tried some, I made the big reveal that we had just eaten horse. One of the teachers thought we were joking, and another was actually pretty upset. Most of us had a pretty good laugh about it.

There are a few important lessons here:

  1. Don’t trick people into eating things, even if it’s funny. (well, unless it’s really really funny and you know the person well)
  2. Just because you enjoy raw fish doesn’t mean you will enjoy raw meat
  3. Some people are really upset about the idea of eating horse.
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