Today is Doyo No Ushi No Hi. I asked my wife what “Doyo no ushi no hi” means. She said, “I don’t know. Let’s check Wikipedia.” And she calls herself Japanese… So we checked Wikipedia. But the article was long and we got bored before we figured it out.
Regardless of the meaning, the point of “Doyo no ushi no hi” is: Today is the hottest day (more or less) of the summer so let’s eat eel. Of course you’d eat eel on the hottest day of the year right? Yes, because eel gives you stamina. At least that’s what the Japanese believe. Stamina to endure the brutal humid heat of Japan. Japan summers are like M&Ms that melt in your hand. They are both too hot and they both suck. So that’s why we eat eel.
Lately there’s been a fly in the ointment. The eel are drying up. You might not have heard, but there’s a severe eel shortage in the world. Eel prices are skyrocketing and the long slithery sea snake is getting tougher and tougher for fisherman to land.
Unlike the oceans of the world, eel is so ubiquitous on Doyo no ushi no hi, that even 7-11 stocks it. This morning 7-11 was giving away free samples. Have you ever seen a 7-11 give away free samples of anything? If you’re lucky you might get a free shriveled up hot dog when they don’t sell for four hours. Aside from that I never got anything free from 7-11. So I ate the eel and said thanks. And the woman giving away the samples said you better buy it this year because next year there may not be any eel left.
“No eel?” I shrieked walking out of the store.
“They’re just trying to scare us.” My wife was satisfied by her justification.
But I am not. I am worried. Eel restaurants are closing their doors in record numbers all across Japan (does anyone keep records like that?). Eel is becoming the sort of delicacy that Sushi used to be before they unveiled the technology to deliver it on conveyor belts. How do we protect ourselves from our own future?
Eat eel today. We did. Two relatively shot eels cost more than twenty bucks. And we had to make the rice ourselves. and the Miso soup….
I wonder if the eel price fluctuations are due to eel market speculation.