Tag Archives: marine Life

Sushi and Sashimi: Eat Local!


Saurel pike/Aji from Suruga Bay, Shizuoka Prefecture

Very few people will disagree with the notion that Japan is the ideal place to discover and savour sushi and sashimi in the whole world. Nevertheless, there are a few rules of the thumb to respect even in this gastronomic paradise.
The overriding rule is that you should try and eat only local fish or seafood.
Tsukiji might be considered a sushi paradise by Tokyoites, but the cheap prices enjoyed by tourists cannot conceal the reality: the fish and seafood are “imported” from all over Japan and beyond!
More than often, Edomae (Tokyo) sushi is nothing but a clever way to “dress up” ingredients to lure officionados (and customers) into believing they are eating top quality sushi (with the consequent prices).
Now, if you have the chance and time to explore Japan beyond Tokyo, you will discover an unfathomable treasure trove of gastronomic pleasure and knowledge!
After all, this country is a vast archipelago stretched across greatly different seas and climates, making for a diversity difficult to equal.
So, even if you cannot possibly explore all the shores of this nation, make a point to learn about the food available wherever you choose to stay.
The same goes for residents, not only for their own sake, but for that of their visitors and friends!


Sushi set with fish all caught in Suruga Bay, Shizuoka Prefecture

You also ought to do some homework. Sushi chefs worthy of their salt will be only too happy to answer questions to genuinely interested customers and come up with revelations of their own.
As an example to illustrate the need for some basic knowledge, in Hokkaido “oyakodon” is not cooked chicken and omelette on a bowl of rice, but raw salmon and its roe spread on top the same bowl of rice!
Likewise, the same fish will more than often be sold under a myriad of names.
Many morsels will not be found anywhere else as “sakura ebi/cherry shrimps” and fresh”shirasu/sardine whiting” in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Sashimi in most cases has to be perfectly fresh as typified by “kubiore saba” in Yakushima Island where fishermen break the neck (“kubiore”) of mackerels (“saba”) to preserve their quality upon catching. The same fish will be served within a few hours, or less, on the local tables.
On the other hand, tuna sashimi is best consumed after ripening for a few days in a refrigerator.
In Hokkaido, large shrimps, especially “botan ebi” will be served only raw, whereas “kuruma ebi” will be first boiled in other regions.

If you ask for “tataki”, make sure it means the whole fish, especially “aji/mackerel pike” that will be served finely cut as tartare atop the dressed fish.


Flying Fish/Tobiuo sashimi from Yakushima Island

On the other hand, sushi follows different rules.
Fish and seafood placed on “donburi” (bowl) are usually of the freshly brought variety but fish served as nigiri is prepared in a different way.
The greatest sushi (and this cannot be done in Tsukiji!) are made with fish which has been gutted and cleaned live within seconds, then dressed into strips/fillets left to mature in a refrigerator on clean cloth/kitchen paper. This can be done only with fish caught locally!
The same obviously goes with shellfish and other marine ceatures: One cannot sample better “uni/sea urchin” away from Hokkaido or sakura ebi from Shizuoka.

Vegan and vegetarians, upon finding a restaurant willing to satisfy their priorities should also ask for food grown locally, a search easier than one might think at first as there are many non-meat eaters in this mainly Budhist country.
The same vegetables will make for the perfect combination when associated with local fish!

Warren Bobrow
Wild River Review
Bread + Butter
5 Star Foodie
Frank Fariello
Elinluv Tidbit Corner
Think Twice

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Marine Life Sustainability and Stock Preservation in Japan


Foodbuzz never asked me for such an article. I just wrote it first out of concern for some of my Foodbuzz Friends!

It was Lou-Ann‘s surprise in particular which originally prompted me into investigation to back up knowledge acquired though many years spent in this great country, Japan. It is the second time I publish this article as it has become more of actuality and new information has been made available.

I use the word “great” when applied to Japan for a simple reason:
Japan is the one country which most extensively conducts and sponsors research and development of fish stocks.
This country has also come up with some momentous discoveries related to the fishing environment:
-Japanese fishermen south of Kyushu Island discovered that planting trees on small islands increased manifold the amount of vegetal plankton carried into the surrounding sea resulting in an immediate increase of the fish population.
-Japanese researchers found out that building small pyramids on the sea floor with concrete or plastic (a beneficial dumping at last?) blocks attracted corals, sea anemones, seaweed and shellfish, thus creating a food chain for fish. Such pyramids will surely prove more beneficial to mankind than all the Egyptian pyramids put together!
They have also realised that dragging out sunk ships was not needed as the same lost vessels were populated by all kinds of marine life!
In the north of Japan crab stocks are been replenished by simply sinking giant scaffolds to the bootom of the sea, thus providing the delicious critters with the subtarreanean geography they love best!
Sakura ebi/Cherry shrimps fishermen in Yui (Shizuoka Prefecture again!) syphon the shrimp out of the nets before opening and releasing all other marine lie safely back into the sea!

The Japanese have been (unjustly) accused of emptying the seas. Actually Spain holds the world record for fish catch and consumption.
I already have written an article on whale meat. I find it galling that Japan is villified for eating whale meat by the very countries which depopulated the globe of sea-mammals in the 19th Century: US, Canada, Russia, Australia and New Zealand (alright, Great Britain for the last two maybe!) in the Pacific Ocean. US, Canada, Norway, Great Britain, France, Spain and Russia in the Atlantic Ocean. And most of them again in the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. What do you think Commodore Perry was before he was delegated to order Japan to “open its doors”?
This country is repeatedly thrown into the same basket of evils. I was recently “told off” because the Japanese kill sharks for their fins before throwing the dead fish back into the sea. Sorry, mate, but you will have to ask the Chinese! The Japanese eat the whole fish when they catch it and make kamaboko from it!

It could go on and on, but this was never the real purpose of this article.

Now, to illustrate and justify the heading of this posting, here is a list of the fish and seafood raised in Japan as opposed to being caught in the wild:

Blue Fin Tuna/Honmaguro

Yes, you read it, Blue Fin Tuna! After 23 years of experimentation, a Kyushu fishmonger has finally succeeded in producing the fish from natural mating inside giant offshore sea parks. The fish is already sold over the counter at supermarkets.
No later than last year the Tokai Marine University in Shimizu, Shizuoka City (I live in a great place, don’t I?) also succedein a more sientific manner the raising of the same tuna from the egg, promising that domestic Blur Fin Tuna will roam the same waters in Suruga bay as their wild cousins!
With a ban on tuna fishing in the Mediterranean Sea being pushed through legislation by the EU, Japan will find itself one day in the rich position of actually exporting tuna!

Big-eyed Tuna/Mebachi Maguro

Human-raising Research is conducted and nearly brought to fruition.

Albacore Tuna: Kihada Maguro

Human-raising Research is conducted and will soon be sucessful.

Indian Ocean Tuna/Indo Maguro: Human-raising Research is conducted abroad and such fish are imported to Japan.


Over 62,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.


Over 49,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.

Striped Jack/Shima Aji

Over 3,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.

Horse Mackerel/Ma Aji

Over 3,500 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.

True Mackerel-Japanese Mackerel/Ma Saba

Human raising succeeded and fish are already sold over the counter.

True Sardine-Pilchard/Ma Iwashi

Human-raising Research is being conducted and could created a real revolution as the same fish also become feed for above tuna.

Isaki/Grouper variety-Parapristipona Trilinoatum

9 tons of human-raised fish consumed in Nagasaki Prefecture alone last year. Shizuoka is also coming up with them!

Silver Salmon/Gin Sake

Over 8,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.
Production very fast.


Over 71,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year as opposed to 15,000 tons caught at sea.
Al kinds of seabreams are actually on the line.


382 tons tons of human-raised fish consumed in Kagawa Prefecture (Shikoku) alone last year.

Sand Borer-Sillago/Kisu

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

Bar-tailed Flathead/Kochi

Human-raising is being conducted.

Ainame/Alexagrammos otakii

Human-raising has succeeded and some fish is already sold over the counter.

Kelp Bass/Kue

A success story in Shizuoka and Nagasaki Prefectures where human-raised fish are already sold over the counter.

Globefish-Tiger Globefish/Tora Fugu

Over 5,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.
Shizuoka is rapidly becoming a major producer, especially inhamana (sea) Lake in the Western part of the Prefecture.

Large Prawn/Kuruma Ebi

Over 1,700 tons of human-raised prawns consumed last year.

Spiny Lobster/Ise Ebi

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

Ark Shell-Bloody Clam/Akagai

Human-raising Research is being conducted.


Human-raising Research is being conducted

Large Cockle/Torigai

Human-raising Research is being conducted

Hard Clam/Hamaguri

Very large amounts of half human-raised shellfish consumed last year.
All the clams picke by tourist in Hamana lake have actually been planted young there!

Surf Clam/Hokkigai

Human-raising Research bein conducted

Abalone/ Awabi

32 tons tons of human-raised abalones consumed in Hokkaido and Nagasaki Prefectures alone last year.
Now, knowing the price of such shellfish and the enormous consumption in other countries, it promises to become a very lucrative business!


Over 270,000 tons of human-raised scallops consumed last year.
The shellffish being hermaphrodite, it will become easier and easier tomake and sell. Here in Shizuoka it has simply become ridiculaoulsy cheap!


Over 220,000 tons of human-raised oysters + over 35,000 tons of the same out of the shell consumed last year as opposed to 1,600 tons of wild oysters.
Actually soon or later the catch of wild oysters will become strictly regulated as many other shellfish. Poaching both by Japanese and “foreigners” is being fought off in earnest.

Sea Urchin/Uni

7 tons tons of human-raised sea urchin consumed in Hokkaido Prefecture alone last year.

Conger Eel/ Ma Anago

Human-raising Research is being conducted

Common Eel/Unagi

Over 21,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year as opposed to 610 tons caught in the wild.

In some places, notably Mishima City, eel restaurants refuse to serve wild eels.

Oike Conger eel/Hamo

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

The Japanese have also starting research on different varieties of octopus/tako and squids/ika.

Probably more coming soon or later!

Warren Bobrow
Wild River Review
Bread + Butter
5 Star Foodie
Frank Fariello
Elinluv Tidbit Corner
Tokyo Terrace
Maison de Christina
Chrys Niles
Greedy Girl
Bouchon For 2

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