Sea snake soup is an ancient and much revered Okinawan dish. Arisa kindly books a table at the most prestigious sea snake restaurant in Okinawa. Very few places, I am told 5, serve sea snake. Prestigious by reputation rather than aspect. It is a tiny place lurking down a back alley, underneath a motorway flyover.
It only serves meals on Friday and Saturday evenings. It normally takes months to get a reservation. The place is run by a very old lady who has the knowledge, her daughter who is gaining the knowledge and her husband who is a very muscular American guy. Strange brew.
On Wednesday it becomes clear that Arisa will not be able to attend the Friday night meal. She phones to rebook. The old lady very courteously explains that it will not be possible as she has already started to cook our meal!
Suzuki san and I go and have the best evening.
The sea snake is chewy and gamey and unusual. The soup is delicious as are the other dishes. The snakes are snatched untimely from the sea by nuns on Kudaka Jima. They are smoked and then deboned laboriously. The old lady then cooks them for 3 days in different soup broths, er dashi. Yum.
We have the best time and the family are adorable.
I also get a new car. I now rent a K car for 3000 yen a month. I do not want to buy a car. No worries about maintenance, insurance, shaken etc. The rental company phones, through Naoko, to announce that my car needs to be serviced and they will bring me a new one.
Great new motor!
A couple of weeks ago I was watching a BBC programme, part of a series on the wildlife of Japan. It was an episode of the Ryuku islands so I hoped to see some Okinawa stuff. Up came Kudaka island and the mention of Yoko and Setsuko, the sea snake hunters. Setsuko grabbed my interest as being the name of my number one Japanese sister-in-law! Fascinating stuff – I found a link to a part of the programme showing them doing their thing in this website, the clip is about halfway down the web page.