It’s probably a safe assumption to make that pretty much everyone who knows me is aware that when it comes to food, I (Mike) have an insatiable flair for the exotic. Of course, that’s just a nice way of saying that I eat some pretty bizarre things sometimes, and I love getting a kick out of trying things that *normal* people wouldn’t touch with a 10-meter cattle prod.

Enter Japan , the land of arguably the most diverse and sometimes the most insane foods ever created. This is definitely the place for me!!! Every single day I’m surrounded by new, different and occasionally barely edible foods, and you know what? I’m lovin’ every minute of it!

I would like to present a special report that highlights some of the best of the best of my culinary adventures. So grab those chopsticks and get ready for some good eatin’! Enjoy!

First, my new favorite snack of all time…

Nuts and fish

That’s right– NUTS AND FISH. You’d never believe me, but this is my new #1 favorite snack food. The little fish (which, of course, are whole) actually taste a little sweet. And no worries about bones, because these babies are so small that they crunch like french-fried onions. Pepperidge Farm’s got nothin’ on these fishies!

Roasted squid

Ah, the sweet, chewy taste of fried squid. Yup, that’s a whole squid there, flattened out, boiled in soy sauce, stuck on a stick, and then enjoyed by all. I’ve wanted to eat one of these for almost 10 years now (I saw it on a Japanese TV show in 1997), so this was a dream come true for me. And just to prove I’m not lying about how good it is, there’s Lis from our team eating one too. The tentacles were the best part–the little suction cups were like flavor nooks and crannies on an English muffin. Mmmmm…tentacles…

Bowl of awesomeness

And now, the healthiest (and arguably the most extreme) thing I have eaten while in Japan. This is a bowl of natto . For those that don’t know, natto is basically fermented (i.e. rotting) soybeans. This particular bowl of natto has been enhanced by the addition of leftover fish eggs from my fridge and some nice, fresh tofu . It was pretty good, except that the fish eggs were all strung together somehow by some unseen yet persistent membrane that I had to fight almost non-stop with my chopsticks. I’ve also tried natto with olive oil and tofu, as well as in a roll of rice. Like I said, very healthy, and VERY different.

So when and if you ever come to Japan, just ask me, and I’ll be happy to introduce you to these and many other wonderful culinary delights that are only available here in this magical, happy place. Yum…

-Mike