If you look closely at the photo above you will see, on the left hand side, the head and skeleton of a mackerel. The mackerel’s flesh is neatly arranged to one side. The head and the bones are included on the plate not to be eaten, but to show how fresh the fish is, and this is neatly demonstrated in the video below, which shows that the flesh was removed while the fish was alive – one of our party, who was new to Japanese food, said that it was a little disconcerting to see the head “nodding and winking” at us while we ate. This is sashimi, whose literal translation is “fresh slice”. There’s never any doubting the freshness, even in the cheapest joint. As with so much Japanese food it is served with a dipping sauce, in this case, shoyu (soy). Sometimes the fish can be a challenge, as with whale blubber, when the salty taste of the soy sauce can very helpfully disguise the taste of the fish.
As no cooking is involved the chef showing his skill is the presentation, known as otsukuri, which is always helped along by a little nodding and winking. The cost? From £6 to £60, with no discernible difference to western eyes between the two.
The idea of Slow Life is to take the principles of Slow Food, which are “good, clean and fair”, and extend them to life in general.
Here in the Lake District, the air is clean, the pace is slow and the atmosphere is calm. If we don’t grow food ourselves, we can buy it in friendly small shops, where you know the quality is going to be the best.
This blog is a celebration of the Slow Life, with forays into the world of design, music, the arts, gardens, and my particular weakness, Japan.