Again With the Shower Shoes in the Kitchen: Or, a Weekend at Iijima Sushi Resort in Chiba Prefecture

A long weekend in late September means a quick getaway to Chiba Prefecture! Most Yokohama expats know Chiba for surfing beaches around Onjuku and Kutsuura, but unfortunately those hotels booked up before I found a spot. So we ended further south in Minami Boso, a quieter area better known for farming, fishing, and growing flowers for the big city. We arrived at Iijima Sushi Resort on Friday night and met the proprietor and sushi chef, Iijima-san. He showed the sushi restaurant on the main floor and our suite of rooms upstairs, then bid us good night.

Saturday morning we awoke to a traditional Japanese breakfast: fish, vegetables, pickles, and rice. Mark, Cy, and I gamely tried everything while Tessa mostly pouted.

After breakfast we explored the tidal pools across the road, then started driving north in search of a beach to spend the day. I booked the trip a month ago hoping for still-beachy weather, and we lucked out. Despite the cool drizzle today (another typhoon on its way!), this past Saturday’s heat made us eager to jump into the surf. The kids splashed, Mark built a sand village, we packed Cy in sand–the usual.

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We found a ramen joint for a quick lunch, then headed back to our hotel for our sushi class at 4PM.

Before leaving home I considered bringing my own knives with me, thinking back on the whole left-handed fiasco at the Yokohama Fish Market last spring. I decided not to bring knives. Mistake.

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Again with the shower shoes in a kitchen. And yes, I have Fred Flintstone feet.

After donning yet another pair of shower shoes in a kitchen, my first words were along the lines of “By the way, I’m left handed….” and the chef’s reaction could only be described as…dramatic. Sushi chefs use a knife called a deba bocho for filleting fish. The deba is sharpened like a chisel with a sharp angle on one side and a flat edge on the other. This makes it right-hand-only, which is the story of my life when it comes to a lot of kitchen equipment (I’m looking at you, gravy ladle).

So instead of the gorgeous deba, Iijima-san handed me a sad santoku knife that looked it was used mostly to open cardboard boxes. I gamely cleaned my first fish with it, though rather poorly. Then I decided to take my chances with the righty deba, figuring that an excellent but opposite-sharpened knife was still better than a sorry santoku. So much better! I redeemed myself and perhaps gained some props for cleaning fish fairly well despite the right-left thing.

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Cy’s takes a turn and does great! Notice his proper grip on the knife.
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Tessa’s pretty bored, in case you couldn’t tell

Meanwhile Mark killed it with his fish, being right handed and all.

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After our cleaning session we headed up to our rooms for a break while the chef and his family finished preparing our dinner. The sushi counter seats only four people, so we were the dining party for the night. The food started coming…and coming. We finally called uncle after I-don’t-know how many dishes.

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Our hosts–aren’t they the cutest?

Sunday morning we awoke to another fish-veggie-rice breakfast (and more pouting from the girlchild). We hoped for nice enough weather for a quick hike to Mt. Daisen, but unfortunately a steady drizzle foiled those plans. Instead we meandered around the southern tip of Chiba and up the Tokyo Bay side. The rain slowed enough for a quick stop at Sunosaki Shrine.

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Then we headed for the Tokyowan Ferry–and home. Since we essentially ate two mornings of Dinner For Breakfast, we enjoyed Breakfast for Dinner at home: crepes with Nutella, jam, and bananas.

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