The day I spent at the fishery today was more of a festival than a fieldtrip. We were joined by about 15 special ed. high school students from the nearby town of Karasuyama (Crow’s Mountain). It was quite the series of events, let me tell ya!
Both schools made introductions before dividing into four big groups in order to take part in different stations around the complex. My group headed first to Trout Snatching. I have no idea what the Japanese names were for the four different activities so I've made up cool English names to represent them. We basically climbed down into one of the giant 10 by 20-foot tanks that was filled with just four or five inches of water and tried to catch Rainbow Trout with our bare hands. Meanwhile the fish were swimming frantically around our feet and trying their hardest to avoid the (often excessively tight) grips of our visitors. It was a good laugh to say the least. A second station was Fat Little Gold Fish, a challenging little goldfish game that is common at Japanese festivals. The goal is to scoop up as many tiny fish as you can before your rice-paper paddle breaks. I was horrible at it, catching two little fish before I needed another scooper. Again, very entertaining.
We also took the students on a tour of the different tanks, showing them the fish that were swimming inside. They loved the tank with giant gold, white, and red koi fish. Lastly was Fishing in a Tank. Fish can be really stupid. You would think that after two straight hours of having baited hooks dropped in on them they wouldn’t exactly rush to be caught again. Lunch afterwards was grilled Ayu (of course) and heaping servings of Curry Rice. I was fed seconds by Tanaka-Sensei only to bike back to school in time for Food Design!
I learned to make さばのみそ煮 and 豚汁, that’s Saba no Misoni and Tonjiru for those who don’t know, that’s really good pan seared Mackerel in a miso sauce and Pork and vegetable miso soup. It was delicious and I, of course, ate everything. My bike ride home was a rather bloated one to say the least. But I’m definitely not complaining!
This afternoon I'm headed to Utsunomiya for a Rotary Orientation this weekend. Tonight I'll spend the night at Max Beard's host family's temple. That's right, they are the keepers of one of Utsunomiya's largest buddhist complexes. Should be an interesting experience.