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Family-History Fishing March 9, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in History, Photos.
Tags: , , , ,

Our trip here is not just an exploration of Okinawan roots and culture — I’m here also to learn about my own roots and my family’s culture.

It’s been incredible to walk around the place where my mom grew up, see the folk art that inspires her own artwork, eat the food that inspires her cooking, speak the language that she forgot she knew, see the architecture that convinced her to buy the house I grew up in because of similar qualities, use the same dishes and chopsticks I’ve been using all my life without realizing they were Okinawan.

But last weekend, on a fishing trip, was for learning about my grandpa.

Lolo (Tagalog for grandpa) served in the U.S. Army and requested three times to be stationed on Okinawa. I can see now why he did — his favorite hobby was fishing, and I can’t imagine fishing is more peaceful and picturesque anywhere else in the world.

We rented a boat, gear and guide with our friends from the elementary school, up in the northwest town of Motobu on the coast of the East China Sea. We launched from this private beach.

Ben-sensei (far left) is our head English teacher. He doesn’t usually wear pink Crocs. Next to him is Takeshi-san, who was our master fisherman.

I’m used to everything in West Coast waters being shades of gray and brown, but everything here is bright and colorful. Colors are over-saturated without editing. We saw fish in electric blue, deep purple, bright pink, yellows, reds.

Between seven of us, we caught 74 fish, at least a dozen varieties. I felt guilty for, only a day after telling 100 fifth graders that my favorite animal was fish, being responsible for their deaths. I was sort of glad I only caught five.

We dropped all 74 fish off at a nearby restaurant, and when we came back a few hours later, they were all prepared for our dinner. This was Takeshi’s catch of the day, and the first course. It was an amazing dinner, just knowing we had caught our own food earlier in the day.

I think Lolo would be proud if he knew I ate this guy. He was delicious.



1. mas nadzir - March 9, 2010

that looks sooo good
oishi sou~

2. jonobr1 - March 9, 2010

I wanna hear more about this dinner! How were the fish prepared?

Elisa - March 9, 2010

The first rounds of fish were sashimi, and then some (like the one at bottom) stewed in soy sauce (that was my favorite – kind of tasted like adobo), the next were a bunch of these pretty blue striped skinny fish deep-fried so you could eat them whole. And then it gets kind of blurry, and then the last course was fish soup, which I couldn’t even touch, I was so full.

It was kind of weird though, because I guess a lot of the fish were so small that they didn’t bother to skin or de-bone them, so we had to pick out bones AND scales.

jonobr1 - March 10, 2010

mmmmm that sounds good. Also sounds kind of dangerous — did it bring back memories of that eel bone when you ate at Kirala?

3. okidu - March 9, 2010


4. Christine - March 17, 2010

I saw other pictures over at that Norwegian (? I think?) girl’s blog, those fish are SO colorful! O_O Did you have to pay the restaurant to prepare the fish you all caught?…
(Also, I didn’t know the other reason for why you were in Okinawa. I’m glad this has been an eye-opening experience for you and that you’re having a lot of fun 🙂 🙂 🙂 )

5. The Real Ruins at Nakagusuku Castle « oki yo! - April 20, 2010

[…] a month later on a fishing trip in Motobu, I asked Ben the English teacher about the real ruins behind Nakagusuku Castle. He said that the […]

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