Shopping and Fugu – I got a new hat

yay, azimuth!

yay, azimuth!

Random Observation/Comment #97: I love this hat.  I love it so much that I will name it.  My old stuffed animals (of which I obviously haven’t had sitting next to my pillow at home for decades) all had very uncreative names.  I had bunny the bunny and chicky the chick chick.  When I watched the South Park Christmas Critters episode, I felt like I probably named all those animals when I was five.  Anyway, hattie the hat sounds terrible, so I think I’ll just call her “azimuth.”

Free time is lovely.  There is so much you can get done, yet so little you want to do.

I tend to keep my goals for a day’s accomplishments quite shallow to make me feel better for doing close to nothing.  It was one of the last few days in Japan, but I didn’t find it necessary to rush through any adventures.  After 3 months of running around and taking pictures of everything and anything to capture these happy moments, I started to lean towards a more low profile life style.  Although this idea of absorbing a true vacation without stress and worries was short-lived, I found the days alone to clear my head helped me prioritize my hobbies and future decisions.  There are so many things that should be analyzed, but hopefully, some of that time was devoted to reflection and enjoyment of happiness.  I don’t want to wait until I’m 65 to sit back and smile at a happy life.  I’m 21 and I can already do the same.  Why do I need a holiday to remind me to be thankful?  What is there to be sad about if things could be so much worse?  I felt at peace with myself for all that was good.  It had been a long time since I stepped back and unfocused my eyes…

Anyway, I was actually following a tight schedule; I had to fit in 3 months of shopping into one day.  Without going into much more detail, you could imagine that it was an enjoyable day.  There were so many things I wanted to buy with all of those funky Japanese styles, but I really stayed mindful.  I think someone else in my situation would have blown much more money.  I restricted my pleasures to a hat (that I still wear everyday) and an adventurous food indulgence of fugu (poisonous puffer fish).

Fugu’s reputation is notorious in Japan.  It is more common in the winter if you want to have sushi and sashimi pieces, but some places keep fresh fish in their tanks.  I wanted to get a sushi version, but it was too ridiculously expensive to push for a $50 dinner.  The $20 fugu shabu shabu was much more reasonably priced and I felt much safer cooking it(it would have really sucked if I was one of those “death by puffer fish” statistics).  From the Simpsons episode about fugu, I expected the chef to make me sign an agreement not to have my family members sue the place if I died.  Since this type of documentation was not presented to me, I felt much better about my meal.

The raw fish was odorless, but once it began cooking, there was this odd smell that mixed with the steam which made me picture a wavy image of skull and crossbones rising along with the steam.  The anticipation of my first bite filled me with a mix of emotions.  My chopsticks trembled holding the white piece of meat.  I dipped a side in the vinegary sauce and spent a good 2 minutes carefully inspecting for sign of danger.  Surprisingly, the wooden chopsticks didn’t burst into flames or disintegrate under some poisonous tendency of the fugu.  I purposefully threw it back into the boiling water to make sure it was extra well cooked before proceeding.  I began talking to the fish like a lunatic, saying phrases like, “if you are poisonous, I am going to kill you.” It was nonsense, but it made me cheerful just in case my next bite would be my last.

As a food critic, it was my duty to eat it and tell the world of its intricacies.  I tossed it in my mouth and immediately felt like I made a mistake.  The texture was a little rough because it was obviously overcooked fish, but there was a bitterness that made the tip of my tongue a little numb.  “Damn, I f*cked up.”  I wanted to spit it out, but I continued twirling the piece to get a second opinion with the other side of my mouth and another set of taste buds.  Before I knew it, my entire mouth was covered in this weird sensation.  I felt a gag reflex for a quick second and quickly washed it all down with a beer.  It wasn’t what I expected, but I continued eating it because I was starving.  (I don’t learn my lessons well, either).  The second piece was cooked a little more lightly and it wasn’t too bad.  After a few pieces, the numbness went away and it actually tasted quite good.  I don’t completely understand (nor remember) the difference in taste to a normal sea-swimming fish, but I guess we pay more for the rarity and uniqueness.  I don’t think I’ll try fugu shabu shabu again, but I know fugu sushi and sashimi are still on my to-do list.

The luxurious upper class sure does have a knack to frivolously spend their money.  For those who affiliate me with that upper class, I will rebuttal by saying that I only do this for the once in a lifetime experience.  I do it to have it checked off my to-do list.  It’s like sky diving, bungee jumping, and paragliding – there’s a once in for everything.  I’d also want to hit all seven continents and visit at least 50 countries in my lifetime.

Besides, money is made to be spent.  I wouldn’t want to die a millionaire.  The Chinese culture has always had a plan to save for their children’s future. There’s this “just in case” fund that I’ve always admired.  I definitely still have these planning genes to make the sacrifices for my next generation, but I’ve also felt like there’s a point where I don’t want to make millions of dollars to see my child become spoiled.  I rather provide someone with the means to make money than leave them with an exhaustible sum.  I think someone famous (his name escapes me) did this to his kids when he passed away.  It was definitely enough money to have them set for a few years of well planned spending, but not enough to do absolutely nothing with their lives.  Haha – I should probably think about how to make money before I start distributing it…

~See Lemons Have Hat Hair

mm... fugu

mm... fugu