Once you try it you just can’t stop – Uwajima’s famous taimeshi<Travel Diary of an American Exchange Student: Part 3>

Once you try it you just can’t stop –  Uwajima’s famous taimeshi<Travel Diary of an American Exchange Student: Part 3>

Deciding to get out of the city for a while, I decided to take a day trip to Uwajima. It’s about an hour or so train ride south from Matsuyama Station. Along the way are pleasant views of the Japanese countryside, dotted with mountains and small villages and numerous rice paddies.

The first thing I noticed was how temperate the weather was! I went there in September, but I felt it was markedly warmer than in Tokyo. Even better, the humidity was comparatively low. Anyone who was spent a summer in Japan knows how oppressive the humidity can be. Freedom at last! I felt as if I was back home in Southern California, with its Mediterranean climate. Making me feel even more at home were the palm tree lined streets running from the station. After spending the previous few months battling the Tokyo heat, this was exactly what I needed.

In Uwajima, you could tangibly feel the slow pace of life. It was as the stresses of daily commuting in packed trains simply evaporated in the sea-salt soaked breeze. Wanting to take advantage of a sunny, cloud free day, I set my sights on the hiking up to Uwajima Castle, on top of a hill that overlooked Uwajima Bay. My efforts getting to the top were rewarded with a clear line of sight out to the bay and the waterway which leads all the way to the island of Kyushu. The hills on both sides of the bay seemed to fold away into waves, the flow and ebb of greenery receding and proceeding.

One of the things I enjoy about travel the most is being able to try various kinds of tasty local cuisine. In Uwajima, I had a dish that I crave even now as I type this! Allow me to introduce tai-meshi, a dish with origins in Ehime. Simply put, it is composed of three parts: rice, raw sea bream (tai), and a sauce containing raw egg, soy sauce, green onions, seaweed, and shiso leaves. Although the combination of raw egg and soy sauce over raw fish and rice may sound outlandish, I promise it’s worth a try. The synthesis of flavors produces a symphony of joy for your taste buds. The key to quality tai-meshi is the freshness of the ingredients, and the restaurant I visited sourced its fish daily direct from Uwajima Bay. Although I later had tai-meshi at a restaurant in Tokyo, it could not quite compare to having it at the source.

・Zachary Lazbasan (Zack)
・Time in Japan: 3 Years
A 24-year-old from California in the United States, Zachary has spent three years as an Japanese exchange student. It was during his studies of international relations that he decided to attend university in Japan, realizing that overseas he would have more contact with different cultures and social values.

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