I hope your week has been wonderful so far. Well, I’m here to continue with my ordeal at the Japanese table. Hmm.
The table cleared, the Eel Chawanmushi followed. Eel? Of all fishes, eel? Those snake-like fishes with slender elongated bodies and poorly developed fins, proverbial for their slipperiness? Chaiiiii. Na ayiri paaaaaa.
About four small-sized flesh of eels lay in a soupy solution. Another bout of sufferance! That was when I knew you were all bearing me up in prayer in one way or the other.
With trepidation and consternation, I managed to empty my bowl with a smile. At that stage, I knew I had to fall on the rice wine for clearance, lest I commit havoc by dislodging my belly’s content. Don’t forget I had had green soup with fufu. Everywhere would have been painted green.
Don’t let me talk about the red snapper sashimi. It still brings back a feeling of nausea.
The assorted prawn (just two prawns) and chicken tempura were my favourite. I wished to have some more but that was all we’d been served and I couldn’t do otherwise. I want to believe if it had been a buffet-style dinner, that was all I would have had. They were crunchy too.
I thought the stirloin steak would save the day. It came in three small slices but had very sweeeeeeet brown sauce around it. Oh meeeeerhn. The sweetness spoiled the “islanded” beef.
My moment of near embarrassment came when we were served the striped Jack Sushi. I could almost cry just watching the sliced fresh fish. I had struggled with the Snapper Sashimi, which looked more controllable than the Sushi. “Lord please help me not to create a scene here”, I prayed silently.
An Adangbe “gened” girl like me loves the smoked opokus, smoked salmon (samaiyn), nwanwagyan or the dried river proteins like adwene, kwesi nyaaapia, akaow, etc. What on earth was I to eat spiced fresh fish for? Oh the thought alone brings me goose bumps!
I had to gulp down more wine to quench my imagination which had plunged deep, delving into the freshness of the fish from Tema. “Forgive me Father for I have sinned”, was my prayer. The dinner had turned me into a mini alcoholic.
As soon as I emptied my glass, the steward whose duty it was to ensure that no glass was empty, filled it up. Hmm, I was in trouble. I was self-driving and had to be careful not to booze. It was very late, past nine at night, and I had a distance of over 10 kilometers to cover. How would I drive home if I got heavily tipsy? Oh I had gone beyond tipsy. I can’t lie.
With the boldness of a Massai warrior, I plunged my fork like an arrow into the fresh fish, and quickly filled my mouth. Oooooooo, torture!!!
Beside the Sushi was a small green grinded herb, rolled into a ball. I definitely had to empty the plate, so I picked the rolled paste with the fork, and into my mouth it went.
Kaaaaaiiiiiii, little did I know it was a very hot and spicy herb. My mouth was on fire. I least knew there was more to the herb than what met the nose. Hei, I yelled without knowing I had. The burning went strong from my mouth, through the roof of my head, and descended into my nose.
Before I could reach for water, tears were dripping involuntarily from both eyes. My nose had equally turned into a pipe. My head was on blazing fire. Eeeeeetieh! Eeeeeeetieh! I apologised each time I turned my head to let out a sneeze.
“Ooooh, Sandrasaaaaan (the Japanese suffix names with “san” to show respect). Sandrasaaan, suri suri … we didn’t tell you… ziz iz Wasabi … hot hot, for Sushi. Boy, I needed ice to cool the buccal inferno, not suri (sorry).
My CEO was very apologetic too. He was lucky, he hadn’t yet placed his in his mouth. I could infer from the tip of his “sticks of woe”, the chopsticks that he had attempted to scoop some of the green Wasabi paste to either lick or eat.
With brows raised, he nonverbally empathised with me; he felt so sorry at what had befallen me, and cautioned himself by wiping his sticks off what had been smeared on them. He dipped and tickled them in the soy sauce which was in a small saucer that sat close by.
You know it's a slow news day when I report that not many Japanese men are romantic. Being the only woman present, I expected the men who sat to my left and right to be more affectionate. But they all sat and watched me gulp down water with speed. All they kept saying was suri suri.
Wasabi, how it was grown, its uses and benefits, became a topic of the moment.
They told us how very difficult it was to cultivate wasabi. “Even in Japan, there are only a few areas of the country where large-scale cultivation of wasabi takes place, mainly in mountainous river valleys or stream beds”, said the man who sat across the table.
He explained that apart from having nutritional value, regular addition of wasabi to one’s diet can prevent certain types of cancer.
He continued to say that wasabi could prevent cardiovascular issues; it can lower high cholesterol levels in the human body, strokes and heart attacks.
“It reduce cases of joint swelling, inflammation, and can even subdue the effects of arthritis”, he further said with a dense accent. Wasabi? Hmm But I had to quaff the drink to kill off the seeming catastrophe.
Last but not the least was the desert: Banana and Azuki Bean Cold Soup. Please don’t ask me if I was able to eat the mini “apatramor” in the banana solution.
In that same solution was what felt like sour sup, but which bore no taste. Oh I couldn’t pretend all was well. I took just a little of the banana solution and let go. The Adangbe girl had done what Napoleon couldn’t do.