Thursday, June 09, 2005

Oh, that reminds me...

Speaking of seafood. Years ago, I was walking the eponymous eight-hour hiking course which runs the length of Rebun-to island off Hokkaido. I dropped from wallpaper-inspiring flower-covered hills into a small fishing village. Two boys were pulling things out of the water with their nets. Seeing me, an alien fresh from space, one of them pulled out his pocket knife and cut open the sea urchin they'd just caught. I ate a glob of green sludge right off the knife's edge. Usually I hate uni sushi, but this was fresh and surprisingly tasty. The other boy repeated the ritual with a sea cucumber. I hate cucumbers too, but...
On another island, closer-to-home Oki, I was once served up miso soup which contained barnacles. I never knew they were edible.

* * *

Reading Graham Greene again. He and Somerset Maugham have made frequent guest appearances throughout my decade here. Their books are often set in exotic locales, the stories somewhat light, yet deftly written. Perfect read for expats or travellers. "The Razor's Edge" is my favorite book, a tale to model your life on. "The Quiet American" isn't far behind. I'd be hard-pressed to say which writer I prefer. Whereas Maugham is somewhat detached, telling his story through the eyes of a character he has created, Greene seems to be closer to the action, not afraid to get his hands dirty.

On the turntable: Catherine Wheel, "Chrome"
On the nighttable: Graham Greene, "England Made Me"

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