Z Notes Blog by Jim Zumwalt
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Loach Hotpot (Dojo Nabe)

Dec. 9 - Earlier this year, Prime Minister Noda compared himself to a loach in one of his speeches. Some Americans did not understand what the Prime Minister was trying to convey with this reference. One of my Japanese friends told me that since the loach lives in the muddy bottoms of streams, Prime Minister Noda was using an analogy to say that he was not a flashy politician, but rather someone who was unafraid to get dirty while working hard to get things done.

With this rather unflattering introduction to the loach, I was not sure if I wanted to try this dish or not. When two Japanese friends invited me to dinner at a loach specialty restaurant, however, I decided to try it after all.

Arriving at a very old, genteel wooden building, I became curious about what adventure might lie inside. The waitress in her cotton kimono greeted me warmly and escorted us up two flights of wooden stairs to a small tatami room. My friends ordered the restaurant's specialty, loach hot pot. They also ordered snacks of grilled loach bones, which tasted excellent with beer.

When the loach hot pot came, I must say that it did not look particularly appealing at first. The small fish were the same color as brown mud. When I took a piece in my mouth, however, it tasted surprisingly good. The taste of loach reminded me a bit of eel, which is one of my favorite dishes.

As we drank glass after glass of first beer and then sake, the taste of the loach seemed to improve. I lost track of how many pots of loach we consumed that night.

Until next time,



My wife and i will be visiting my sister in law In just a few days. She works as a JET instructor at a school in Kobe.

Thanks for your short explanation of Loach, and other interesting articles about Japanese culture. We are looking forward to many different experiences that Japan has to offer.

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