Shizuoka #2: Eel (うなぎ)

A few years ago I visited Nagoya City in Shizuoka Prefecture for a long weekend. I had the chance to eat a very nice (and expensive…) eel dinner during my trip, and as a big fan of eel it did not disappoint! Unfortunately, unagi is getting harder and harder to find at a good price due to high demand and overfishing, so I was glad to have eaten it when I did. I always look for eel when I eat sushi, but usually it is absent. It has a more common cousin called anago that is usually available, but on the whole I prefer unagi to anago (unagi are fresh-water eels and anago are salt-water eels by the way).

Eel over rice

Eel mixed with seaweed and onions. You can eat it like this, or pour a clear broth over it and enjoy it that way too.

Ok, now I really want some eel!

Shizuoka #3: Waterfall with “Dancer and Me” (初景滝と「踊り子と私」)

Shizuoka’s third postcard combines Shokeidaru (Shokei Fall) of the Kawazu Seven Waterfalls, and a statue from the short story The Dancing Girl of Izu by Kawabata Yasunari which is set in the area. You can read about the short story here and the falls here.

Postcard, statue, and falls

The same waterfall without the postcard

Close up of the statue

And a different statue along the walking path

I enjoyed the beautiful waterfalls in the area a lot, and recommend Izu as a great trip pretty close to Tokyo.

Shizuoka #5: Wasabi (わさび)

Wasabi needs no introduction; this root (related to horseradish) is used on everything from sushi to soba, and it’s hot, unique taste is certainly unforgettable! I have a certain fondness for the “Teardrop Roll”, a roll made of pickled wasabi. It clears your sinuses, let me tell you!

Wasabi’s pretty awesome, and the birthplace of wasabi is in Shizuoka Prefecture’s Utogi. Pure, clean water is necessary to produce good wasabi, and Utogi is famous for it’s water. For everything you ever wanted to know about wasabi, take a look at this website!

I use the tubed stuff mostly because it’s easy, but if you can get the real deal in a local supermarket, it’s vastly superior, and you can tell. I’ve been keeping an eye out for it in my local supermarket, but fresh shipments out here in the country are few and far between. If I find some, I’ll post some pictures!

Edit 2015.11.13: I had the chance to visit Shizuoka specifically to visit a wasabi farm this October! It wasn’t in Utogi, but in Kawazu on the Izu Peninsula. I didn’t have a chance to take many wasabi pictures with the actual card, so the postcard picture is more of an afterthought, but enjoy the pictures anyway!

Wasabi: the real deal

A farm in Kawazu

Washing the roots

Lunch, from this

To this!

I also made “wasabizuke”, which is pickled wasabi stem and leaves

I even tried wasabi ice cream!

Yeah… sorry. Afterthought.

Cherry Blossom Season

Ahhh, Spring has sprung! A number of exceptionally warm days has heralded the start of the sakura (Cherry Blossom) season, and blooms have popped open on trees like popcorn, seemingly overnight! It feels like only yesterday it was cold and miserable, with the plums barely starting. Now it is a huge change!

Today I bring you another Postcard Element Post, this time highlighting everyone’s favorite flower! It seems to be postacollect’s favorite too, as we have a whopping 6 postcards featuring or containing sakura!

Aichi #4: Inuyama Castle (犬山城)
Nara #4: Mt. Yoshino Cherries (吉野山の桜)
Shizuoka #6: Mt. Fuji Hongu Sengen Shrine (富士山本宮浅間大社)
Aomori #7: Hirosaki Castle (弘前城)
Fukushima #7: Miharu Waterfall Cherry Tree (三春滝桜)
Kyoto #7: Ryuuan Temple Rock Garden (龍安寺石庭)

And a close up of the real thing:

I hope you can enjoy these beautiful flowers!

(Also, apologies for posting this a day late!)