Sunday, October 23, 2005

Hotate Soft Cream

We went shopping in Aomori City on Saturday, for Christmas presents. One of the places we stopped at was the ASPAM center, which is a very cool pyramidal building overlooking Mutsu Bay.
The day we were at the ASPAM, there was a live performance of Shamisen (a three-stringed instrument similar to a Banjo). We enjoyed the music for a little bit and then went to the shops. The ASPAM building is a tourist center, so there's lots of little shops and a couple displays. Most of the shops sell regional specialities. Aomori is famous throughout Japan for its Ringo (apples) and Hotate (scallops) so the shops had a lot of those items, as well as bottles of locally-brewed sake.

One of the shops was selling soft-serve ice-cream, not unusual--the Japanese love the stuff. What was unusual was the flavor--Hotate! That's right, SCALLOP flavoured ice-cream. I really wanted to try it but sometimes ice-cream upsets my stomach. I also figured that the Hotate, about 20 minutes after being ingested, would cause my ass to detonate and then I would have atomic diarrhea. I was almost willing to take that risk, except for the fact that I didn't know where we could readily find a restroom if we were out and about in Aomori AND I needed a wingman for backup and Chris just absolutely refused to try the Hotate Ice Cream. I mean REFUSED. 403 DENIED refused. Like no-fucking-way refused. Chris pretty much dug in his heels and neither promises of sexual favors nor threat of bodily harm would budge him. So it was fly alone or not at all. I made the more grounded choice of getting some Sembei (crackers) to eat instead. They were freshly made by a cranky old guy in a tidy white chef's uniform, who made cracker craft look easy, meaning he probably had a hundred years worth of experience. His wife, working the shop counter, seemed pretty excited about a couple of Gaijin buying sembei.

I ended up eating the entire bag of Sembei for dinner.

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