Cutting and Slicing a Whole Salmon (Photos may be Graphic)

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

So this is the end of the year 2020. Every year at this time a lady in Hokkaido sends us a one whole salmon as a year-end gift. That lady’s husband and my dad had worked together forty some years ago. Her husband died young, but she continues to send the year-end gifts to her husband’s old colleagues. Actually my dad had long been ill and was unable to deal with salmon by himself. But I couldn’t say her to stop sending. Because I thought that sending year-end gifts to her husband’s co-workers makes her feel the connection to her dead husband.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

But this year, a change had happened on our family side. My dad died in February. We should have told her soon, but we haven’t done that yet. This morning, my mom wrote a letter, although she hasn’t brought it to post office yet. Anyway, I had to cut and slice the salmon. I have done that yesterday.
The first thing I have to do was to sharpen a knife. I honed a thick blade knife with a whetstone. By the way, I want you to know that Japanese do not rubbing two knives together with clicking-clacking sounds when we sharpen a knife. We do that one by one with whetstone as in the photograph.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

He is bigger than the cutting board. I use the word “He” because I guess the salmon is male. The reason is simple; his nose is sharp. A female salmons have round nose. Anyway I have to cut the salmon neatly, but I think that, for this kind of techniques, how many times one has done it before matters to do it well. I mean if I had cut salmons one hundred times, I could do it well. But this was just the third times for me to cut and slice a one whole salmon. So please do not expect much.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

At first I cut the head and fins. Of course they can be eaten. There is no part that can be wasted as to salmon.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

OK, this is the most difficult part of the process. You need to cut a half body on one side. At the center of the body, there is a line of bones from the backbone to the top. It is important to cut as close as you can to those vertical bones at the center. But I should admit that I am not good at it. You can see that meat remains on bone side thick.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

The next process is to cut the backbone out from the other side of body.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

And then I slice the half body so that they can be easily grilled.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Then I wrapped each slice with cling film. Anyway I have almost done the work.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

A good thing about salmon is that you can eat even the head, bones, and fins by boiling them for several hours. Those parts will eventually become soft and edible. If you have a pressure cooker, boiling hours can be shortened to the less than an hour. Since I don’t have a pressure cooker, I just boil every time I stand in the kitchen. And then the head and bone can be soft in two days.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

The slices of salmon were a lot. So I just put them in the freezer. But they were still a lot. So my mom wanted to give part of them to her friend. This morning my mom went out to the lady’s house to give her some slices of the salmon. The lady is taking a care of her mother alone in her house. I have to tell ya that her mother is one hundred and six years old. I hope that the salmon that I sliced will be on the table of the centenarian as part of New Year celebration.

Afternoon Walk, not Good to Take Photos Because of Dark Sky.

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

One of routes for my afternoon walk is on the other side of the river. My house is in residential area on west side of the river, and I often go to the east side where is the vast area of rice field.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I saw birds floating and moving on the river when I was walking on a bridge.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

And then I walked on a path on the river bank.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

The mountain is Mt. Awagatake located between Kamo-shi and Sanjo-shi. Its peak is 1293 meter (4,200ft) height from the sea level.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I walked down from the river bank. I saw Japanese Pampas grass was covering the slope.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Actually, the most of Chinese cabbages were already harvested. Leaves were remaining on the ground without being pulled out.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

During winter, onion seedlings grow very slowly. It takes time to grow for vegetables; there is no fast track. We have to wait until early summer for these onions.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

This cauliflower seemed almost good to eat. People like Broccoli far better than Cauliflower. So Broccoli is always more on the shelf and cheaper in supermarket. But I like Cauliflowers. I like to make them pickles.
When it comes to growing them, there is a big difference between Broccoli and Cauliflower. In case of Broccoli, you get the big one at the top of stem first, and then you can get some smaller broccoli of the branches. But in case of cauliflower, you just get one at the stem top. You will not get smaller cauliflowers on the branches. This seems to be a big disadvantage of cauliflowers. But I think it just means that cauliflower is a precious one and we have to taste it with many thanks.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I saw yellow chrysanthemum at the edge of vegetable field. The season of chrysanthemum was almost over.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

There was a small cluster of Japanese Pampas Grass by an irrigation stream.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

There was a tree. The far behind was Mountain Sugana.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

The board is saying “Don’t throw Trush”.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I was just about crossing the river to get back residential side of the river.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

That was snow-covered Mountain Ninojidake in Shibata-city. I was not able to see IIde Mountain behind because of clouds.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Everything was under the dark sky. It was early winter in northern Japan.


Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

When I was almost reaching my home, I saw one passenger airplane in the sky. It seemed to be landing soon onto Niigata Airport. Was the plane carrying many passengers? Probably not because of the pandemic of COVID-19.

Lemon in Sugar Syrup, but Better Use Honey

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


A refrigerator is not a grave of food, period. But my deceased dad used to, and now, my mom put food into the refrigerator, and that is the end of it. Although food is for us to eat, for some people, buying it is more important than eating it because shopping is a fun. Foods kept or left in a fridge stay there for months, sometimes even years. When they are found, some are apparently rotten, otherwise they look uncertain if it is edible or not. Besides, refrigerators in Japan are slender and tall so that they can fit in narrow space in a small kitchen of tiny Japanese houses. So it looks like a casket standing.

When my mom came back from walking-shopping with one lemon and showed it to me, I immediately thought the lemon would be a candidate for such fate. I usually make compote when I got fruit that I could not eat soon. But in case of lemon, I had preserved in honey once or twice before, because the lemon was so sour and could not be soft as fruits compote. This time, I didn’t have honey, so I tried using a lot of sugar. I used glass bottle, put slices of lemon with a lot of sugar, and heated the bottles in hot water. As shown in the photo, I made two small bottles of lemons slices with sugar syrup. Part of sugar could not melt, remaining white in the bottles.

Lemon Slices in Glass Bottles, Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

If you want to do the same, I strongly recommend using not sugar but honey. This time I got to know that sugar is not good to extract the flavor of lemon, or in other words, lemon’s flavor does not come out into sugar well. Honey can work much better than sugar.
Anyway, I make one litter of black tea every morning. When I pulled out the tea bags from the tea pot, I put just one slice of lemon into the pot. It changes the tea flavor, and makes me happy.

Niitsu 1st-6th Morning Market in Akiha-ku, Niigata-shi, JAPAN

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

This is a view just before sun rise. There is Hishiga-take Mountain behind which is the highest peak of Gozu Mountain Ridge.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I got on a local train to go shopping in Niitsu. The day was of Morning Market that is held at days with number 1 and 6 for the last digit of date.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I saw the Mountain Yahiko through the train window. The mountain stands on the edge of Niigta plain. So the behind the mountain is the sea. The peak of the mountain is not so high; it is 637 meter (approx. 2000ft).


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I got off the train at JR Niitsu station. My destination could be seen from the platform. There are vinyl tents in a parking lot near the railway station.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

There is a stained glass at the east end of the station building. Niitsu is the town that is famous for railway. Steam locomotives are drawn on the stained glass.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

So this is a morning market in Niitsu.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

This is a fruits shop that I always buy something. I bought one basket of persimmons with 500 yen.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

There is a half body of salmon on the cutting board.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

These are what I bought in the morning market in Niitsu today.

  • Apples:800JPY
  • Grapes:600
  • Persimmons:500
  • Chinese Cabbage Kimchi:500
  • Radish Kimchi:500
  • Two Pears:400
  • Ginger:200
  • Cauliflower:150
  • Taro potato:100
  • Total:3,750JPY


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

And then I pickled Cauliflower and put them into two small bottles. I want to know when they will be best to eat; in two days or two weeks?. And every time I make pickles, I become wondering how I am supposed to do with the soup when I finished eating pickles. I don’t want to just throw it into sink because the soup uses a lot of sugar, vinegar and spices, but just drinking it with diluting with water does not taste good.

A Rare Sunny Day in November, Northern JAPAN, Niigata

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Walking along a river bank, I saw a big tree near a Japanese Shinto shrine “Jinja”.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

In this small rural town in suburb of Niigata, there are several Shito Shrines like one in each village. It is interesting that most of those shrines are located near to the river bank. This one is relatively small. But an old person was cleaning fallen leaves at the shrine when I walked by there. I guess many people in the community have believed this shrine from the old times.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

November is the month of Chrysanthemum. In Japan, schools have a cultural festival on November Third. When I was a kid, I saw many chrysanthemum flowers in classroom in the day of that festival in the elementary school. It was a contest. There were many people in this town, whose hobby was growing big flowers of chrysanthemum. I am just wondering if such a hobby is still popular or not. Because it was more than forty years ago when I saw a lot of chrysanthemum flowers contested for their beauty in the festival. Now is the time of 21st century, people are busy for anything IT or whatever, efficiency and effectiveness on time and cost are most important even in people ‘s daily life. So my question is whether or not people have time to grow chrysanthemum as leisure in their free time .


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Oh, by the way, chrysanthemum in cultural festival competition is the different kind from the photos that I show you here . Those are like one big flower on the top. Chrysanthemum in these pictures doesn’t need much care if not nothing. Their underground stems make buds in every spring, and bloom in fall without much care by people.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

A path on the river bank. Many places of Japanese soil was intruded and covered by yellow flowers of tall goldenrod that came from north America. You can see their yellow flowers anywhere in this time of the season. But it seems that Japanese pampas grass “Susuki” is still surviving on this river bank.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Yellow ginkgo tree in front of another shrine.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

A lot of persimmons are left on the tree.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Sparrow s are anywhere , but it is very rare to see a white-eye bird.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

They are eating persimmons!


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Does it taste sweet?


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I walked down to the river. It was used to be a landing place for a boat. I guess that water transportation was common in Niigata plain area in the old times.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

Standing by the river and seeing just water surface make me feel good. The mountain behind is often appearing in my photographs. That is Mount Sugana in Gosen-city.


Digital Photo taken in Niigata JAPAN

I walked several miles. Gotta go home now.

Afternoon Walk under the Late Autumn Sunshine in Niigata, JAPAN

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)

I took a walk on Thursday afternoon. Actually it was between two conversation classes on that day. I expected that I could take a photo of Iide Montain that had been “more white”.

a chrysanthemum flowers and Yahiko Mountain in Niigata Plains


Susuki, a wild plant that can be seen anywhere in fall season in Japan


Rivers


Snow covered Iide mountain in November, view from Akiha-ward Niigata-shi


The audio embedded below is my electric bass play. I usually play a bass with two fingers. I don’t like to use so-called “pick” which is a triangle plastic piece. Let alone “SLAP”. But I played this by slapping as a kind of practice for the technique that I am not good at. The piece is “Chorus of frogs (かえるの合唱)” which is a very famous song in Japan. It is said to be an old Deutsch traditional folk song, but I am not sure.

Wet and Chilly, a Dark Autumn Sunday in Niigata, JAPAN

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)

This is a blog post only for the purpose that I wanted to upload something. Today is Sunday but now almost over. I have been exhausted by hardworking for online classes. I should have taken a rest whole of yesterday without uploading a blog post which was actually so unpopular that no one visited.

a persimmon on the cutting board

Walking across railway, I got to rice field. The sky was dark because now it is late autumn. This is my hometown in Niigata Prefecture, JAPAN. Climate at this time of year is always like this. It’s wet and chilly. Living here under this circumstance might make you nerve wrenching. But you know, you can never have a choice for your birth place.


pieces of persimmon ready for eating

Cherry trees “Sakura” are Japanese favorite. People want to plant sakura trees anywhere. Yes it is beautiful in blooming. But I’d say their leaves are also beautiful in autumn.


View of Iide Mountain, from Niigata

Leaves had become beautiful, but it was a sign that they would soon be falling down onto the ground. They will turn to be soil that is where they came from, I am not sure, though.
Actually when I took photos of these leaves, rain became strong. I gave up taking photo like yesterday, and went to a supermarket. I bought some foods like fish and chicken for supper. I planned to cook fish today and chicken tomorrow. Since I got rosemary, I am thinking to cook chicken with tomato sauce and rosemary.


On the way back from the supermarket, I dropped by a small park. No kids were there.


The sun goes down and it’s getting dark.
17:30 – Cooked supper
18:30 – Ate supper
19:00 – Checked students’ homework
21:00 – Wrote this post
22:00 – Uploaded this post

Late Autumn in Niigata under the Dark Sky

My another photo blog “LQ Laoshi’s Photo Gallery”(outside wordpress)

a persimmon on the cutting board

So I decided to eat this bitter persimmon because part of it became so soft.


pieces of persimmon ready for eating

Some slices that were so soft were sweet a little. Some slices that were not so soft were tasted as if remaining some bitterness. My conclusion was simple. Sawashi-gaki was far better than this. I mean, sawashi-gaki is persimmon that got rid of bitterness by strong alcohol.


View of Iide Mountain, from Niigata

I went out with my Olympus camera when I finished the online conversation class for sophomore students at 4p.m. on Friday. So it was getting dark already. Now it is late autumn. The top of the Mountain IIDE was already covered with snow.


I heard these days voices of swans flying over my head, I mean, in the sky. They are coming from Siberia to Japan to spend winter time. I saw one of them on Saturday morning. She/he was alone, though they are always in herds. I wished her safe migration.


Leaves in my garden have turned to red and yellow, although this happens in everywhere in northern hemisphere in this time around, anyway.


This region is cold, so it is impossible to raise rice crops twice a year. The paddy fields are left as-is through the winter.



Farming people like to plant flowers at the edges of their fields. When I took these photos, rain started falling. I gave up taking photos and came back house.


I wish if I had more time to practice this.

Morning Market in Niitsu, Niigata-ken, JAPAN

Because of corona virus pandemic and my hectic job for online teaching, I don’t have chances to go outside for these months. If there is a chance for me to go outside world, it had been to go for a walk one hour, or to go shopping in the morning market in Niitsu. I went to Niitsu this morning. And what I saw when I got off the train was a locomotive pulling passenger cars. The steam locomotive runs only on the weekend as a sightseeing train.


But anyway, my destination is here, the parking lot that turns to be a morning market on the dates with 1 and 6.


Every time I come to Niitsu morning market, I buy Kimch from Ms. Minami Yamashita.


This is her cooler box. There are three types of Kimchi; Chinese cabbage, Radish, and Cucumber kimchi(s).


山下南さんのキムチ、販売場所と時間

This is the information of her Kimchi selling. Her Kimchi is available in Niitsu, Gosen, and Suibara.


Another shop.


I was interested in mushroom of 250 JPY, but I didn’t buy them.


Flower shop.


I bought one basket of these Shuyo-Ringo(s).


So this is a photo of what I bought today in the Niitsu morning market.
8 apples “Shuyo”: 800yen
11 persimmons: 500yen
1 Chinese cabbage Kimchi: 500yen
1 Radish Kimchi: 500yen
2 Pears “Niitaka”: 400yen
1 Radish with green leaves: 100yen
1 Bitter persimmon: 100yen
——– 2,900JPY in total

There is an issue about persimmons. Since Niigata is in northern part of Japan, most of persimmons here are bitter because of chilly climate. You can get naturally sweet persimmon, if you were in Hiroshima or Wakayama because they are warm places. The issue in Niigata is how to get rid of bitterness from the persimmons. There are three ways to do that:
1) To make persimmon dry fruits; You peel off, tie with code, and hang them outside under the roof. You might need some nets as a protection preventing birds from eating them.
2) To use chemical reaction of strong alcohol; You put the upper part of persimmons into alcohol that is stronger than 40%. And put them into plastic bags to keep them airtight for several days.
3) is surprising one, You just keep the bitter persimmon until it gets sweet. I don’t know how long it would take. There is a moment between ripening and rotting. So it must be a very short period of time. In that moment, the bitter persimmon becomes sweet. It is not “You eat when you want to eat”, but you have to eat when it happens. I know a person who said that it tasted rotten when she ate this type of persimmon. She said she would never eat any kind of persimmons again. So it seems that bad experience left trauma about persimmon.

Today I found this type of bitter persimmon. A lady explained to me. She raised her sample persimmon. “See, this is a little early. You keep it more time, then you can eat this sweet”. I have been interested in this type of bitter persimmon for so long. I asked her to sell that sample to me. It was 100 yen. Shown in the photo is the one. Part of it looks ready but other part of it looks still early to eat. I will tell you the result.

At the End of October in Northern JAPAN

There were a little chilly autumn days recently. I thought the mountain Iide might have got snow on the top. As I expected, I found that there was snow on Wednesday 28th.


These sparrows had been somewhere for one month or so. It was the season that there were a plenty of rice grains in paddy fields. They liked rice better than bird seeds that I give them. But now the season has changed, they have com back to my garden.


A ginkgo tree has not become yellow enough. It would be still earlier to be the best color.


Another yellow thing in autumn is this introduced species from north America. You can see this flower anywhere in Japan at this time of season.


A river and the mountain Sugana-dake. Soon the leaves will be yellow and red on the mountains.