This is really weird and embarrassing to have to admit, but every summer I get a strong craving for fish, the oilier the better. Usually it’s salmon steaks, but this year it’s a small and fortunately sustainable fish usually known as “capelin” in English, that is only about 6 inches long and is traditionally salted, grilled and eaten whole, heads and tails and all. Today alone I ate 20 of them, just fish and nothing else! Imagine that!
Japan is in the throes of a heatwave at the moment. The summers just get longer and hotter here. Right now in Kobe, the temperatures range from about 27 degrees at night to 34 degrees Celsius in the daytime (that’s around 93F in American), with an average humidity level of 70 percent (and please keep in mind that air conditioning still hasn’t really caught on here, a suprisingly large number of people choose to live without it). So far about two dozen people in Japan have died from heatstroke, and hundreds more have been treated for it at hospital. I expect the toll to rise dramatically in August, when the heat really settles in. In the meanwhile, I’m going to hunker down in my room, hugging my precious air conditioner and chomping on small, silvery fish. It’s the only way I’ll get through the summer.