Goto Islands, Part 2: Oysters

Click here to see Part 1 of our trip to Japan’s Goto Islands.

We heard about Goto Island’s famous oysters and decided to send some to Aya’s parents in Osaka. We stopped at a seafood company called Maruoto and the day took an amazing turn.

Maruoto specializes in big, beautiful oysters.

We had only been in the store for a couple of minutes when Shin, the owner’s son, offered to open some samples for us. They were huge, but so delicate and gently briny, like a sea water custard.

That was just the beginning of what turned into an amazing afternoon. Read on to see more.

Continue reading “Goto Islands, Part 2: Oysters”

Goto Islands, Part 1

From Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four big islands, we took a ferry out to the small chain of islands called Goto for a week of camping. You may remember it from the Kamigoto surfing post a while ago.

Goto-Map-02

Driving onto car ferries is one of our favourite parts of travel. It’s as close as we’ll get in our lifetime to putting a little private flying ship inside a giant interplanetary craft and taking a trip across the stars to explore other worlds.

Sasebo is a busy Naval port, and we saw many unusual ships on the way out of port. (Click on the gallery below to see larger images).

One of the US Navy patrol boats showed off their speed and maneuverability by catching air from the ferry’s big wake.
Looked like a lot of fun. Note the big machine gun on the bow!

Goto Islands appeared out of grey, rainy skies.

The local weather was actually quite lovely, changing frequently.

We followed whatever road seemed interesting, often ending up in situations that were unexpected.

Eventually we found our way back to the coastal roads and went looking for a seafood snack. Click through to see what we found.

Continue reading “Goto Islands, Part 1”

Tonkotsu Ramen

Tonkotsu ramen is a specialty from Fukuoka, Kyushu. It is famous for its thick, pale broth made from pork bones and its rich flavour. Back in another life, Keith used to refer to it as “dog breath ramen” when passing by the kitchen vents in Kyoto. (He doesn’t call it that any more, as you’ll read in a post to come later.)

The chef at Gonta Nagahama-Style Ramen makes it his daily mission to serve the best, most authentic tonkotsu ramen in south Osaka. He wouldn’t let us take a photo of his broth pot, but we can tell you it was filled with big bones and murky liquid and had clearly been cooking for a long time.

Click through to see the chef make his signature dish, served with diced green onions, ginger and a couple of slices of fatty pork. Continue reading “Tonkotsu Ramen”

Florida Fauna: Cats

Our last Florida Fauna post, wherein we show you cats that we met. Or almost met.

Florida Fauna: Pinchy

Sometimes it’s “pinch or get pinched”.

Can’t believe we don’t have a photo of the pinchos we ate in Culebra. This is the perfect post for them!*

*Edit: found pics of the pinchos:

Oh, the Huge Manatee!

A good friend in Japan is mad for manatees, but hasn’t managed a trip to Florida yet. So we went looking for some on her behalf. We found a place in  Crystal River on the west coast of Florida that knows where the manatees hang out and they let us swim around with them. Big grey sausages with elephant skin and half the energy of a tired sloth (the manatees, not us).

As amazing as it was to snorkel with these world champion nappers, it turns out that manatees are not that hard to come by in Florida. They love shallow canals, and if there is one out back of your b&b you can just walk down after breakfast and see ’em.

Click through for video of manatees frolicking most un-slothfully.

Continue reading “Oh, the Huge Manatee!”