We will quickly fall into poverty if we fail to appreciate food

We will quickly fall into poverty if we fail to appreciate food

To desire horse mackerel

I want to eat horse mackerel after a long time.

There are many variations of recipes, from grilled to simmered, and fresh ones to sashimi. Among them, the crispy and fluffy fried horse mackerel is irresistible.

The “Let’s go to Odawara.” I drove from Tokyo to Odawara, while humming the background music from a JR Tokai commercial. It takes only about 40 minutes to get there by expressway.

Odawara, the gateway to Hakone, is a popular tourist destination where visitors can enjoy a beautiful town facing the mountains and the sea.

The Hayakawa fishing port station TOTOCO Odawara is hard to miss, but my destination this time is the fashionable commercial complex “Minaka Odawara” directly connected to Odawara Station and lined with tasteful wooden stores reminiscent of a castle town in the Edo period.

Although the facility was not widely covered by the media when it opened in December 2020 due to the third wave of the new coronavirus outbreak, I had been secretly eyeing it as a new tourist spot in Odawara.

I arrived at 11:40 a.m. at Minaka Odawara.

In the parking lot, there was no sign of the board used in the popular TBS TV program “Bananaman’s Sekkaru-gurumen!” but I mumbled to myself, “Since I’ve come all the way to Odawara, I’m going to eat fried horse mackerel and tataki at Ajiya Densuke! and made my way to the restaurant on the second floor of Minaka Odawara.

Even before lunch, there was a line in front of the restaurant with several tourists and what appeared to be local office workers, indicating the popularity of the restaurant.

I am not a fan of lines, so Odawara Oden at the end of the corridor crossed my mind, but what was written on the board in my mind was “Javanese horse mackerel”. Yes, Densuke, I came here today to eat fried horse mackerel.

Where did the horse mackerel go?

We have been waiting for 30 minutes.

A regular old man asks the waiter, who peeks through the door from time to time to count the number of customers waiting for their turn, “How many remaining horse mackerels are there?

Ajiya Densuke has a fish tank in the restaurant dedicated to horse mackerel, which is cooked to order.

For lunch, many customers order either the fried horse mackerel set meal (two horse mackerels) or the horse mackerel comparison set meal (two horse mackerels), which consists of row horse mackerel sashimi (tataki) and fried horse mackerel.

The old man probably does a sophisticated calculation by subtracting twice the number of people in line from the total number of mackerel swimming in the fish tank to see if they will be allocated a fried horse mackerel.

When the two elderly couples and the three girls on a girls’ only trip were called, that man asked again, “How many fish are left?” call.

What a ridiculous question to ask!,” six out of seven people, except for the regular old man thought to themselves, “Seventeen!” response from the waiter.

I have been good at mathematics since I was a child and graduated from a university with a degree in science. Of course, I had already completed Mathematics III.

No matter how I look at it, that’s one fish too few“.

Was there a gluttonous hunter like Natsuko Sone mixed in with the group of girls I had just met?

In front of the restaurant on the second floor of Odawara Castle Town, a situation as mysterious as Fermat’s Last Theorem, a black hole with no event horizon, which many mathematicians have challenged, was unfolding through the strange call and response between this old man and the waiter.

Did I mishear the first number of mackerels I heard?” I asked myself in my mind. I was so confused that I mistook myself for “Minaka” and wandered into the nearby “Laska” parking lot.

Like the mystery works of Akinari Asakura, who is known as a sniper of foreshadowing, the inside of Ajiya Densuke is mysterious.

As the eyes of those around him were changing, a student in shorts who was waiting at the end of the line suddenly left the line.

The shorts-wearing fellow horse mackerel fryer probably got fed up with the possibility of not being able to eat and decided to leave.

He must have felt that those of us who remained were “five lying adults“.

Odawara’s dark horse

After 12:30 p.m., the response queen finally called for me to enter the restaurant.

In case you were wondering, Freddie Mercury of Odawara refrained from calling once the fellow student’s shorts had left the line. I have a hunch that perhaps it was a strategy to cut a few people out of the lineup.

No one could possibly imagine how much intelligent warfare was going on in this two-tatami-mat space in front of the store.

There are still people outside waiting for each other to be called now and then. Feeling the silent pressure in my own chest “Max. 2 mackerels per person“, I ordered the fried horse mackerel set meal.

The fried horse mackerel was so thick and juicy that it was hard to lift with chopsticks.

As I alternately enjoyed the crispy horse mackerel and the slightly hard-cooked white rice, I heard the elderly grandfather’s voice, “I’m full after eating three pieces of horse mackerel today, one for the tataki and one for the fries, so I don’t want to stay for dinner“.

What a surprise, the dark horse elderly grandfather is breaking an unspoken agreement. If Freddy, a regular, is the head of the mackerel cartel, he should have been killed off.

Just as if to cut the very pleasant straw, “Where’s the mackerel gone?” The problem was solved.

As I was drinking miso soup with clams in a refreshed mood, an elderly grandmother said to him, “I told you so. You won’t be serving anything to eat after this today, so please remember that“.

The jolly elderly man, cleaning his teeth with a toothpick and rummaging through his Boston bag for payment, suddenly froze.

It was only 1:00 in the afternoon. Even if he were to wait at the front door for the 5:00 a.m. newspaper, he would still have seventeen hours left until his next meal.

Sure enough, he was staring at the half-remnant fried horse mackerels on his plate, too shrunken to say anything back to his wife, wondering where the brave elderly man who had challenged Freddy the Mackerel King 40 minutes earlier had gone.

He may not have been able to match the big eater, but he did a great job at his age with his explosive challenge of eating three mackerels. He must have been a little jokingly playful because of the exuberance of his trip.

You left the fried mackerel, there is no such thing as another meal“. The grandmother’s words, which indirectly encouraged him to reflect, were a perfect example of the teachings of the statue of Kinjiro Ninomiya in the Kinjiro Plaza on the third floor of MINAKA.

We will quickly fall into poverty if we fail to appreciate food

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