Dr. Hata and the Fish Market

Going to the fish market with Dr. Hata and his entourage was quite an experience. The colorful fish were beautifully laid out—fresh—much of it still alive. There were rows of fish on ice, beautifully stacked fruits (including the squarish sweet persimmon that we'd never seen before) and vegetables and smiling stall keepers in clean white hats and dark aprons.

Mutsuguru's presence caused quite a ripple. Everyone knows who he is, and there was much bowing and scraping, titters and smiles. Dr. Hata seemed a bit tired, but still managed it all quite graciously. It must be quite wearing to deal with being a famous idol.

Dr. Hata used some of the fish as lessons for the girls. Of most interest were the octopuses—some quite lively and others in pieces. He showed where the brain was, pulled out a beak and ink sacks, and discussed the various behaviors of octopus. We watched while a lively one slipped its tentacles out of its container and found a sewer grating hoping for a route of escape. One after another its tentacles started the journey to hopeful freedom. Then he explained the difference between the crabs that we saw (true crabs with four legs and hermit crabs with three). There were two enormous, beautiful and unfamiliar varieties of the latter—one quite red with delicate black spines, the other greenish.

"Deep Pool" fused glass by Roger V Thomas

We sampled sweet tiny (live) shrimp, and Dr. Hata bought a huge bag of them for dinner. After Dr. Hata selected various fresh fish to be cut for the sushi party that night we wandered the aisles, awestruck. From all that we saw, Japanese food is fresh, well handled, beautiful and of high quality. There were no unpleasant smells, no garbage—everything handled with delicate respect. Just pure good food in beautiful colors, well presented—to be fully enjoyed.

Of course, the girls managed to find gum, candy and ice cream in the market. All "very tasty" as Dr. Hata would say.

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