By complete coincidence my 4th of July was filled with grilled meat. A local family who has helped me out here a bunch invited me and my girlfriend to "yakiniku" which literally means "grilled meat." It's basically the same as korean bbq, you order plates of raw meat and grill it. You can also order salads and all sorts of random side dishes...it's also the place to go to drink a lot of beer. I've been to this many times and knew what to expect for the most part. I was told to meet at the station at 6:30 to catch the 6:40 train to Muikamachi to chow down.
We arrived at the yakiniku restaurant around 6:55... The husband from the family was going to be late so the son, who is my age, ordered the first round of meat, salad, bibimbap, and beer. I think being an American, I'm spoiled when it comes to my cuts of meat. If you ask me what different cuts of meat are I'd say something like sirloin, filet mignon, skirt steak, pork rump, pork shoulder, ribs, and so on... in Japan... absolutely none of these register at a place like this. Our options were...
Here's part of round 1:
Yeah, that's about it. It wasn't bad. None were as awful as they might seem. Liver doesn't taste bad, but the consistency is just bizarre to me. Ovaries were a bit tough and took some serious chewing but they made it down. The fat was just gross because I knew it was just pure fat, it didn't taste so bad though. The tongues were actually really good, especially the beef tongue. I have to admit, pork esophagus is probably one of the least appetizing of all, though. It literally is just a cross section of an esophagus, there's a bunch of cartilage in it and barely any meat. When you chew it, it's got this kind of rubbery crunch to it. Here's a photo of it (it's on the right and the ovary is on the left, i'm not sure what the top one is...)
The bibimbap came and that had some nice red meaty steak. Unfortunately it was raw and was intended to be eaten raw and covered in raw egg. I downed it though, I was assured I wouldn't get sick.
Finally the husband showed up, after we'd been eating for an hour and a half. He sat down and ordered whole new slew of ovaries, tongues, intestines, and all the gutsy-classics from earlier in the evening. He ordered everyone more drinks and more salads, bibimbaps, and four bowls of kimchi. I hadn't been hungry for about 45 minutes at this point but I figured, what the hell? It's the 4th of July!
Eventually we got some kind of beef and pork rib meat that had been marinated in yakiniku sauce. Not that the other stuff was as bad as it sounds, but it was a total relief to get some recognizable meat.
So after over 3 hours of eating (for which the second half I wasn't even hungry...yet continued to eat) we realized our train home (the last train) would be leaving the station in 5 minutes so we booked it out of the restaurant and got on the train to head home. On the walk home my girlfriend and I picked up some sparklers and enjoyed some good ol' fashioned 4th of July fun... with all the thousands of frogs in Urasa.