The Cow’s Worst Enemy
I flew home to America for Christmas. Well, after Christmas technically because it’s cheaper that way, but I went back during the holiday season. By that point, I’d been in Japan for almost 5 months.
I was also starved for a good steak. Japan has beef, but not real beef. It’s tiny little strips, a quarter of which is fat, and they barely cook it! I suffer at yakiniku, which is where they bring you raw meat and you cook it yourself. I like my meat well done, and most Japanese people eat their beef still slightly alive (no really, raw beef is actually considered a delicacy here). So I wait for the meat to get really cooked, but before a piece can reach its full taste apex someone else plucks it away. It’s a goddamned shame.
Hamburg is more popular, which is a hamburger patty dressed up on a plate real nice, but it’s still just a hamburger patty and that’s not special. I know some of you are thinking about Kobe Beef, which is apparently famous because the cows are massaged or what-the-fuck-ever. I don’t need my cow to be treated like a fairy princess. No, I want it American style. Kill it, soak it in sauces, then grill that sumbitch till there’s no pink left. That’s how you do it. That’s what I was missing.
Even worse, there was that Mad Cow scare and Japan freaked, replacing many of their beef menu items with pork, or just taking them away altogether. So I was really looking forward to some good ol’ American steak. On the plane to California, I sat next to a nice Japanese guy, who lived somewhere out in San Jose and spoke English well. We talked for a little while, and he asked me if I was looking forward to returning to America. I said I was very much– to see my family, eat steak, you know the stuff any person who’s been away for a while wants to do. He noticed my steak answer and asked if I was worried about Mad Cow. I told him I was too starved for good steak to let that slow me down. “Mad Cow? They’ll be scared cows when I get off the plane,” I think I said.
He got a chuckle out of that and said something I have not forgotten to date, “Ah, so one might say you are the cow’s worst enemy.”
I just found that hilarious– the way he said it, the way it was phrased– “one might say.” Ever since, I’ve been working that into my everyday conversations on the regular.
And if you’re wondering if I tore up some steak when I got back to America, one might say that I did.