Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ikanago Season

Well, although recovery in the Tohoku district of Japan is just beginning, and will be ongoing for the next five years, and the nuclear situation is festering, in other areas of Japan, life goes on.

It's 'Ikanago' season in Japan now. What does ikanago mean? Well, 'ikanago' is Japanese for "stinky little fish". Makes more sense than the real name: Sand Lance fry or minnows (What can I say - I don't know fish. I'm from the North Fork of the South Platte River, where we only have 2 kinds of fish: rainbow trout and sucker fish. Oh, and canned tuna).

Every spring, ladies throughout Japan buy pounds of these small fry (hee-hee), then boil them in a pot with soy sauce, mirin and sugar (many people add fresh ground ginger, as well), and send them to friends and family throughout Japan. A few ladies I know buy as much as 15 pounds, which they post through the mail in 1- and 2-lb packets. We've received 3 packs so far, and my kids are ecstatic (and I'm in another room...) eating them with rice for breakfast, late night snack, pretty much any old time.

This year there is a bumper catch, and people are buying and cooking more than usual and sending them to friends and relatives throughout the Tohoku region as well.

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