Amaama to Inazuma had a certain pattern: Every episode begun with a real-life situation that eventually led to Kotori’s restaurant for the recipe of the week. Not a bad pattern, and the plots were all sweet and thoughtful, the recipes diverse and delicious. Not to mention that all the dishes were simple enough to arouse an interest in cooking even to the most reluctant of prospective cooks.
I was surprised to see an intro that suggested the pattern was going to be broken. The Inuzuka family went to the beach for a day full of sea and sun. I was puzzled and worried that this episode might offer something different than cooking. Some might have felt relieved and would have welcomed such a change of pace. I was not one of them. I wanted them back in Kotori’s restaurant, and you can’t imagine how relieved I was that the day at the beach lasted only until the opening credits. Not only we didn’t get a change of pace, but the cooking segment lasted for the rest of the episode.
Japanese Title: 「夏休みとねことアジ」（第10話）
The episode was simple. A family from the same neighborhood as the Inuzukas was fishing close to the beach Tsumugi and her father visited. Tsumugi was amazed (as always) by the fish, so the family decided to give them three Aji fish. Inuzuka-sensei, having no clue how to fillet a fish, contacted Kotori for another restaurant session. The rest of the episode was a mix of fish-cooking, joke-making, and food-eating. It was your usual Amaama to Inazuma.
Heatwave: I hate heatwaves. Whenever the temperature gets above 35 degrees I get this awful headache and I feel like I am melting inside my own body. I felt Kotori and Shinobu’s struggle with every inch of my soul. How do you cope with extreme heat?
Meowing: These silly moments are so real and adorable. Shinobu and Tsumugi playing cats reminded me of my own little cousins and nephews. The imagination of a child is a wonderful thing. Sometimes you just need to go with their flow and become a child yourself.
Themes & Trivia
Cats: Japan has a weird connection with cats. It’s the only country in the world (as far as I know) with nekojima (cat islands) and it seems like the Japanese fascination with them might even surpass the godly stature they enjoyed in ancient Egypt. Some say that cats remember the reverence they enjoyed and that’s why they behave like royalty. Well, you never know.
Food Meditation: Tsumugi is fascinated by a lot of things, that’s the truth. But when she gets philosophical you have to wonder on the way a child’s mind works. In our age of fast food and ready meals we have forgotten why and what we eat. We don’t take the time to appreciate the process that comes in between. I may sound a little grotesque, but the meat was alive at some point, the vegetables and the fruits belonged to a tree or a bush. In order to stay alive we consume life. Tsumugi knows that. She acknowledges the fish and gives it the respect it deserves.
Google is your Friend: As much as I am afraid of a future where everything could be found online, the internet is a learner’s best friend. That certainly is true for the amateur cook who needs instant advice on how to do something. This was the first episode our friends used the internet for cooking instructions. I happen to know that filleting a fish is not an easy task, but certainly not impossible for the beginner. I also learned how to do it from the internet. There are so many how-to videos today that lifelong learning can and should be pursued. Google a recipe and cook it. You will be surprised how easy it is and how awesome it feels to do it.
The meal of the week: Let’s see some of the food terms found in this episode.
- Aji is the Japanese horse mackerel.
- Sashimi is a Japanese delicacy consisting of very fresh raw meat or fish sliced into thin pieces.
- Tataki is a Japanese method of preparing fish or meat. In the tataki method we saw in this episode, the fish is sliced thinly and seasoned with ginger. It can also be served with soy sauce and garnishes like a sashimi.
- Namerou is a traditional fishermen’s dish from the coastal area of the Boso-hanto Peninsula in Southern Chiba. The main ingredient is usually aji (horse mackerel).
- Sanga-yaki is a regional dish again from Chiba. It’s usually made with horse mackerel and it looks like fish burgers.
I think I am out of comments. I said everything in the introduction because I was too hyped to talk about the episode. Amaama to Inazuma is a cooking show disguised into a very cute and fluffy anime. You get a cute child doing childish stuff, a father who after his wife’s death tries to do parenting right, and a high-school girl that loves cooking so much she believes it’s the way to true happiness. It’s the bond they share and the innocence of their weekly cooking that gives this show its appealing flavor (see what I did there?).
And the rating is…
We’ve got to accept Amaama to Inazuma for what it is, a lighthearted and realistic cooking show with an awfully cute child protagonist. There is an extra benefit to Japanese learners, as they have the chance to learn the words for various food (for many of them I don’t even know the English word) and, to be honest, I am not expecting anything else. It’s a good show.
NEXT TIME: A Play and Sweet Potato Crepes, 「おゆうぎ会とさつまいもクレープ」（第11話）
Sweetness & lightning(Amaama to Inazuma)
Based on the manga “sweetness & lightning” by Gido Amagakure originally serialized in the monthly GOOD! AFTERNOON magazine published by KODANSHA Ltd.
Anime official site : http://www.amaama.jp/
Twitter : https://twitter.com/amaama_anime
(C)Gido Amagakure, KODANSHA/”sweetness & lightning” Production Committee. All Rights Reserved.