Like a prisoner, I’ve been let loose in Japan

Published November 14, 2022, 7:35 AM

by Sandy Daza

After travel restrictions eased, pandemonium! In spite of the super high travel rates, airports have been full. It’s like prisoners have been let loose, me, included!

My first trip took me to Singapore, where I went for some medical attention and so far, everything is looking bright.

My next trip was to my most favorite country on earth at the moment. Japan! My Japan food tours have started. It’s like a vacation to me every time I go. As soon as the pilot announces “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, in a few minutes we will be commencing our descent to Fukuoka” and I see the land and the Japanese characters going down, I cannot but pray and thank my Father from above for this gift.

Japanes A5 wagyu sukiyaki

Many restaurants have stayed open while some have shut down. This means I have to search for new dining places I can take my group to. Don’t get me wrong, all the places I bring them to are very good, but to me, good is not enough. It has to be great where I get a thumbs up from the participants or I want them to think of their loved ones. (I believe that people in general when they experience something exceptional wish their loved ones are experiencing it too.)

One of the meals I have on my list of new experiences is an A5 wagyu sukiyaki. Most of us are familiar with Sukiyaki and initially when I heard this, I didn’t expect much. But this meal is an example of a great meal. Marbling of the thinly sliced wagyu is high and an immediate change in color from the boiling broth signals a quick delivery to the salivating mouth via bamboo chopsticks. 

Japanese wagyu sushi

Another meal is a Yakiniku dinner of superior beef also. You grill the beef over charcoal with two dipping sauces. I have learned to bring a new discovery of mine along from the Japanese groceries—a spice combination of salt and four kinds of pepper. When I want to taste the meat, this is all I use. Fantastic! This meal is better than eat-all-you-can, which some of my meals are. This one is more than you can. Most lift both arms in surrender from the volume of the meat. Also served is beef tongue as well as boiled super melt-in-your-mouth tender beef tendon. This meal is so heavy it makes it difficult to sleep after. I warn everyone, but I guess the temptation is just too much. Another lunch favorite is teppanyaki grilled cubed and highly marbled Kobe steaks! Fantastic!

Which do I prefer? A USDA prime grade ribeye steak or a Japanese A5 wagyu? I’ve been thinking about this for many nights now.

With all this beef I’m exposed to, I cannot help comparing. Which do I prefer? A USDA prime-grade ribeye steak or a Japanese A5 wagyu? I’ve been thinking about this for many nights now.

USDA prime-grade roast beef

I guess it depends on my craving. If it were a chunk of slow-roasted beef or a char-grilled 16 oz steak, I’ll definitely go for the USDA. But, if it were for shabu shabu, sukiyaki, or on a teppanyaki, I would definitely go for Japanese.

Meanwhile, I know I will never allow myself to be put in a situation where I will have to make this difficult choice.

I just came from Singapore for my checkup. All results very good and promising but I did gain weight, which I promise my readers I’ll shed. With what I just wrote about, this weight gain is explainable.

Meanwhile, I am grateful for the “work” I am blessed with!

If you wish to join my Japan food tour in Fukuoka/ Hiroshima/ Osaka from Nov. 20 to 25 or in Hokkaido on Dec. 8, email [email protected].

Happy eating!