After buying some produce, I passed by a stall where "my fish lady friend" (as I refer to her) was selling fish.
There she is, in her element. This is actually an old picture; unlike at home, it is unfortunately not warm enough here to go outside without a coat on.
(It snowed last Wednesday! (???) But I don't want to talk about it.)
While attempting Japanese conversation with this sweet lady, she asked me if I like fish.
"Of course!" I said. "I love fish."
So she gave me these lifeless guys as a present...
"Umm, you really don't have to do that," I said. (I mean, really).
"I insist," she insisted. "It's a birthday present!"
At that, I chuckled. "My birthday is in June."
"Happy birthday anyway!!" She would not be deterred.
I tried paying her for them, but she wouldn't have it. (Very typical Japanese behavior.) So I had no choice but to say "thank you so much" -- "arigatou gozaimasu "-- and take the fish home. I later went back to the fish stall and gave my friend some chocolate as a return gift (which is the polite & Japanese thing to do). I think she got the better deal.
Back at home, I put the slimy presents on my counter and got out my heavy duty knife, prepared to dissect...Don't they look upset? :(
There was just NO WAY I could do it.
I was thinking about how "roly poly fish heads" would be in my trash can, and that totally grossed me out. And at the same time, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor creatures...
So as much as I like the taste of fish, and even though I've seen fish being gutted before, I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
Instead, I took them to the eikaiwa at Kenji's office and gave them to the newest member of the English conversation class.
Here you go...
"Happy birthday!!" :)