makiwi: what kind of social media user are you? http://t.co/uBVTzPnIgd (I think I’m a Quizzer/Ranter ^_^)
makiwi: I guess that east Asians are like, more adventurous with food than many other people…what do you think?
makiwi: Istres is a rather grim industrial/port town. We are in sleepy tourist/Roman ruins/wine country. @TomzTempTwit
There's no need to throw away the bits of fish that you cut off when you filet them and so forth. Fish bones and heads can be kept for making soup. Or, if the bones are tender enough they can be made into delicious fish-bone crackers.
At the sushi restaurant in New York I worked at many years ago, the chefs used to serve these as extra treats to favored customers. One of those was a lovely little girl, who used to come regularly with her father. She just loved those fish bone crackers. So, one year the chefs made a big batch of them and gave her a takeout box full for her birthday. She was so happy I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head.
I've paired these with shoestring potatoes, which taste surprisingly sweet next to the umami-rich fish bones. The type of potato is important - choose a nice firm waxy type, not a floury type like Idaho baking potatoes. Alternatively you can use sweet potatoes.
makiwi: this month’s Japanese Kitchen column in the Japan Times: about bonito (katsuo) http://t.co/igfZO3F5nY
If you don't mind religious items, omamori, omikuji, and ema - various types of good-luck charms and so forth - are lightweight and inexpensive souvenirs. They usually cost around 100-500 yen, although the popular shrines and temples in tourist centers like Kyoto charge more sometimes. Omikuji and omamori are usually for specific kinds of good luck, like luck in business or luck in love etc. Omamori usually come in colorful fabric pockets.
Some are traditional...
Generic good luck ones I think.
Some not so traditional...
These are for luck finding a partner (luck in love)
For safe driving/transportation (many people hang a safe transportation one on their rearview mirrors.)
Omikuji sometimes come in little earthenware or papier mache figurings, or in little bags, and so forth.
These earthenware ones are from a shrine in Kyoto, and are for a safe birth.
This deer shaped one is from Nara's Kasuga Taisha (a Shinto shrine)
It has random good luck words on the paper. (Sort of like a fortune cookie.)
Ema are wooden plaques, on which you write your wish - or they come pre-printed with a wish. The artwork on them is often very nice. You are really supposed to return the ema to the shrine or temple where it will be hung up on a rack so your wish will come true, but if you're not a believer there's no harm in taking them home.
See question on Quora