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Thread: My Japanese Dinner

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    Default My Japanese Dinner

    The other night I took my E-1 + 14-54 + FL-36 along to my favorite izakaya (Japanese-style pub). These are just snapshots, but I thought some might find them interesting.

    So this is my dinner. Explanation below for those who like exotic foods.



    The salad on the upper left is a tofu salad with an apple on top. The soy sauce and sesame oil dressing is in the little white pot below.

    Sort of in the center is ika-sashi, which is squid sashimi (raw fish). This pub is 300m from the Pacific Ocean, and although there isn't a wide variety of fish, it is very fresh.

    On the plate in front of the squid is a carved piece of carrot with grated wasabi horseradish on top. The green leaf is shiso, or beefsteak plant. It's edible and has a strong aroma that I love, but many people (like my husband) dislike. The other mottled leaf is not edible, as far as I know. Behind the shiso is some daikon. It is a giant white radish that is about a foot long and shaped like a fat carrot. It is cut into thin string-like strips and is a traditional companion to sashimi.

    Between the sashimi and the tofu salad are some radish pickes. These are the little red radishes that everybody knows and loves. In Japan red radishes are called hatsuka-daikon, or twenty-day daikon. It's easy to make these pickles at home. Slice some radishes (or cucumbers, or just about any other vegetable) very thin and add to a mixture of 1 part each vinegar, sugar, and water, and refrigerate overnight before eating. The radishes turn red from the color that bleeds out of the peeling. The black stuff in the dish with the radishes is wakame seaweed.

    On the upper right is fugu no kara-age. Fugu is blowfish. It is popular eaten raw, but since blowfish is highly poisonous, the cook has to be licensed to prepare it. This pub's mama-san probably bought the fugu already prepared, then coated it in cornstarch and flour for deep frying. It is served with a soy sauce dip to which you can add grated daikon and fresh ginger. Under the fugu are fried green and red bell peppers.

    Mama was urging me to eat while the fugu was still hot, so I didn't have time to set the shot up nicely. I'm sure it would have looked better with a full glass of beer, but I couldn't restrain myself long enough.

    And this is the lovely Mama-san. She is also interested in photography, which is why I brought the camera.


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    Default Re: My Japanese Dinner

    You know, what is it about Asian women? They all seem to age so well. Your Mama-san is beautiful and the dinner looks delicious

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    Default Re: My Japanese Dinner

    That looks extremely tasty! The meal was presented very nicely and you certainly did justice to it with your image.
    Good shooting,
    English Bob

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    Default Re: My Japanese Dinner

    Hey, Windy, you made me hungry just looking at that! Just last Saturday I had an unidon with the uni fresh from your neck of the woods. Close friends have a cafe/pub just a couple hundred meters from our house and they have a fisherman friend up on Okushiri (if I'm not mistaken) who sends them fresh stuff seasonally. I don't think the blowfish is dangerous so long as you avoid the insides; it's the liver that's deadly. Looks like a very nice izakaya.

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    Default Thanks, guys! :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by llpoolej
    You know, what is it about Asian women? They all seem to age so well. Your Mama-san is beautiful and the dinner looks delicious
    Thanks, Julie. I know what you mean about Asian women. I've been here for a long time, but unfortunately I have been unable to absorb the magic. My Mama-san wanted copies of the photos, so I did use the Stamp tool to soften some lines and shadows, but she is lovely just as is.

    Quote Originally Posted by EB
    That looks extremely tasty! The meal was presented very nicely and you certainly did justice to it with your image.
    Thanks, EB! At izakayas, the dishes come out one at a time as they are completed. I picked carefully at the squid, salad, and pickles while I was waiting for the fugu, trying to leave enough food for everything to still look nice. Normally I would order a few more dishes, but I was a little pressed for time that night.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hokuto
    Hey, Windy, you made me hungry just looking at that! Just last Saturday I had an unidon with the uni fresh from your neck of the woods. Close friends have a cafe/pub just a couple hundred meters from our house and they have a fisherman friend up on Okushiri (if I'm not mistaken) who sends them fresh stuff seasonally. I don't think the blowfish is dangerous so long as you avoid the insides; it's the liver that's deadly. Looks like a very nice izakaya.
    Mmmm, unidon. Iiiiii naaaaaa. I haven't had uni (sea urchin) yet this year. The uni from the Sea of Japan is quite nice. I remember camping there and eating it right off the beach (this is legal under certain conditions). There's nothing like really fresh uni.

    I would love to go to Okushiri. I have heard a lot about it, as my friend used to be a music teacher there. If you remember, there was an earthquake and a massive tsunami about 12 years ago. My friend was eating at a sushi place that night, and a half hour after she left, it was totally wiped out, along with the people inside.

    I did a little reading about fugu on the internet, and it seems that how poisonous it is depends on the type of fish. The tora fugu which is prized in Japan apparently has poison in all the organs, including the skin and muscle, which is why a chef needs a license to prepare it. The toxin is 1,000 times deadlier than cyanide , and there is no known antidote.

    I also read that scientists have created a non-poisonous fugu. They observed that blowfish don't produce their own toxin, they get it from eating starfish and shellfish. So they fed the fugu nonpoisonous bait and were able to produce safe fugu. It's not really catching on, though. Anybody who has lived in Japan will know why:

    Takeshi Yamasuge, a fugu restaurant owner near Tokyo, chuckled when asked about poison-less fugu.

    He said his customers prefer the real thing, despite hefty prices that go as high as $100 a pound. "Nontoxic fugu is boring," he declared. "Fugu is exciting because it's toxic."
    Here is the article:
    http://www.katc.com/global/story.asp...Type=Printable

    And some more general articles about fugu:
    http://japanesefood.about.com/cs/sea...gublowfish.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugu

    Speaking of seafood, Hokuto, you should bring your family up here in the fall, during salmon season. I preserve my own ikura (salmon roe), and I will feed it to you until it comes out of your ears.

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    Default Re: Thanks, guys! :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by windsprite
    Speaking of seafood, Hokuto, you should bring your family up here in the fall, during salmon season. I preserve my own ikura (salmon roe), and I will feed it to you until it comes out of your ears.
    Somehow I missed this comment until just now Windy. Thanks for the invite. I'd love to do that some time. I remember going to Abashiri and seeing the salmon thick as fleas in the little stream beside the historical prison. I cudda kicked them out with my feet (but illegal, I know).
    Where'd you learn to do ikura? Your husband's folks?

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    Default Re: Thanks, guys! :-)

    When I first came to Hokkaido I lived in a small Ainu village. One of the obasans taught me to "pickle" ikura with only salt. I like her way better than the usual shoyu-zuke. The color is much nicer, and you can use the ikura in a wider variety of dishes. I think I like the taste better, too. My MIL taught me to do shoyu-zuke, but these days I just pickle the ikura with salt and then add soy sauce later if I feel like it.

    I have never seen as many salmon as you did in Abashiri, but it is a sight I would like to see sometime.

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    Default Re: My Japanese Dinner

    Very nice photo, wonderfull description and beeautiful dinner.

    I'm just missing the taste on my lips, but everything else is great

    I really, really enjoyed your description

    Yours Bojan

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    Default Re: My Japanese Dinner

    For just a "snapshot" the picture of your meal is very eye-catching. The diversity of shapes, colors, and textures really is attractive. Once again proving that interesting subjects make memorable pictures...

    I'm curious. How would you have set up the shot differently if you had the time?

    Thanks for sharing,

    Ed
    It's not the tools... it's the operator...

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    Default Re: My Japanese Dinner

    Quote Originally Posted by Bojan Volcansek
    Very nice photo, wonderfull description and beeautiful dinner.

    I'm just missing the taste on my lips, but everything else is great

    I really, really enjoyed your description

    Yours Bojan
    Thanks very much, Bojan!

    You know, I've had more exotic and visually appealing meals at this pub in the past. Next time I'll think more about the aesthetics before I order and post pics again.

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    Default Re: My Japanese Dinner

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyscaper
    For just a "snapshot" the picture of your meal is very eye-catching. The diversity of shapes, colors, and textures really is attractive. Once again proving that interesting subjects make memorable pictures...

    I'm curious. How would you have set up the shot differently if you had the time?

    Thanks for sharing,

    Ed
    I don't have a picture in my mind of what I would change; I would just physically try different arrangements until I got something I liked. I would probably space the dishes more evenly and try to separate those of similar color. I would set a pair of chopsticks horizontally in the foreground. I would get the clutter out of the background but maybe add some attractive props. I might place the tail of the fugu facing out instead of in. I would put the beer more to the side and drain the glass so I could get a nice fresh full glass with a head on it, and I would order all cold dishes so I had more time to work.

    If you or anybody else has more suggestions, I'd love to hear them. This is something I'd like to try again. Thanks for looking, Ed!

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    Default Re: My Japanese Dinner

    Very nice setup and pleasing colors too, Julie.
    I once saw a documentary about the work of a pro food photographer.
    They use shoe polish, paint and other things to make the food look good and tasty. You succeeded with the real thing. Well done.

    Luc

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    Default Re: My Japanese Dinner

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke
    Very nice setup and pleasing colors too, Julie.
    Hmm, I thought Julie lived somewhere in the eastern U.S. (or is Windsprite's real name Julie!??)

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    Default Re: My Japanese Dinner

    I have never been to Japan(though would love to!) and Windsprite's name is Julie

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    Default Re: My Japanese Dinner

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke
    Very nice setup and pleasing colors too, Julie.
    I once saw a documentary about the work of a pro food photographer.
    They use shoe polish, paint and other things to make the food look good and tasty. You succeeded with the real thing. Well done.
    That's nice of you to say, Luc. Interesting about the food photographer. I would like to learn more. I couldn't imagine putting shoe polish and paint on food, though. I enjoy eating too much.

    I didn't have to do anything special for this photo, really. In Japanese cuisine, the presentation is considered as important as the taste, so it would be hard to make a Japanese meal look unappetizing. The lighting was soft in the pub, and I bounced the FL-36 off the very low ceiling and set a small-ish aperture (around f/6?) so that everything was in focus. I had to work on the color a little bit in PP, as it seems a slightly warm white balance looks nicer than an accurate one. That's about it.

    Hokuto--Luc and Julie P. are right, I am also a Julie. You can keep calling me Windy, though. I think I like that!

    Julie, any time you want to visit Japan, just let me know. I can show you lots of photo ops!

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