Saturday, June 23, 2012

fish, from the cradle to the grave







I just received the July issue of Gekkan Etegami, the official monthly magazine of the Japan Etegami Society. This month's issue features fish etegami submitted by readers from all over the country. The top photo shows living fish, including the one in the bottom right depicting baby catfish. The second photo shows shrimp and sea bream, both of which are prized for their reddish coloring, and which are served at weddings and other celebratory occasions. The third photo shows a variety of shell fish, and the next three photos show fish and other sea creatures in various stages of preparation leading to being consumed for dinner. The last photo shows what is left of the fish at the end of dinnertime.  Yes, we are taught to pick our fish bones clean. And even bones are a worthy subject for etegami.

I wish I had the time and space to translate some of the more amusing accompanying words.  I'll give you just one example: These dried whole baby sardines are the basis for a nutritious soup stock used in many dishes, but most commonly as the stock for miso soup. These little fish are often thrown out once their flavor has transferred to the soup stock, but if eaten with the soup, or dried and later crushed and sprinkled over rice, their bones provide a great source of calcium. The writing on the card translates to: "Hey you, yes we mean you. How's your bone density these days?"


12 comments:

  1. There's some great fish there! Makes me want to learn Japanese :-)

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  2. Wow, what wonderful etegami!

    I really should try to find the time to do a few now that I have a chop :)

    My friend LOVES how you interpreted her hens.

    Be well~

    Laurel

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    1. I'm so glad my hens passed inspection with your friend. Please convey my regards and thanks for the inspiration. :)

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  3. These are amazing! Fantastic!!! So overwhelming!!! You know, having them grouped together has a different effect on me. That's what I like about most everything. I want to be overwhelmed. Sometimes I wonder if that is the reason I keep drawing so many so I will be overwhelmed but in my case, I underwhelm myself.

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  4. Dear Debbie,
    Ooooohhhh! Brilliant!! I love them all. 骨まで愛してます。
    Cheers, Sadami

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  5. Thank you so much for posting these and bringing the larger world of little etegamis to people like me! Is the Etegami Society and magazine only open to people in Japan? I would love to bring things like the magazine to my temple group, which is full of older Japanese ladies who love it when I show interest in Japanese culture, even as I mangle it in my attempts to do it. I am teaching them how to paint manga...

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    1. I automatically became a member of the Japan Etegami Society when I subscribed to their monthly magazine. I will ask if they ship this magazine overseas, but it will probably add to the already outrageous cost of the magazine.

      You may know that I do give-aways on this blog about four times a year. The next one is scheduled for September. I was actually thinking of offering some of my old issues of Gekkan Etegami for my next give-away.

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  6. Oh, Debbie, how wonderful of you to post these gorgeous fish. I also noted your "broken umbrella " from the earthquake series. It's very special. Thank you!

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  7. Fascinating! Any chance I can subscribe to that periodical?

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    1. Margie, I really don't think a subscription to the magazine would be worth the cost for you. Most of each issue is articles in Japanese on subjects ranging from philosophy to literature. I don't even have the time or interest to go through it thoroughly. I'll keep posting the pages that I think my readers would be interested in.

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  8. Thank you for sharing these...have you been published in this magazine? I to was wondering how to subscribe and if they ship over seas too and your generous offer to give away copies is kind and unselfish.

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    1. I've never submitted to it before. The thematic etegami (New Years or Mother's Day, for example) have to be submitted months and months before the issue goes into publication, and I keep forgetting. Plus, the magazine is too expensive for me to subscribe two years in a row. I usually subscribe for one year, let the subscription run out for two years, then re-subscribe for another year.

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