Tacos & Tacos

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter looked at me pretty funny. I said we would be having tacos for dinner that night.

To me, “tacos” involve crunchy shells, great handfuls of cheese, refried beans, terrifically spiced beef, lively salsa, the works, all rammed into that shell, daring you not to slop-up your sleeves or look toooo uncivilised about it. Basically, the best non-first-date food ever. Did I mention it’d been a while since I’d had them?

Back to the funny, raised eyebrow-are-you-serious-mom-look. To her, taco=octopus. This is a fun Japanese-English, er, Spanish overlap.

And her mama was so excited about eating tacos!! Huh?


In her sweet, pigtailed mind, she pictured long red tentacles, white suckers, and she, being fully aware, that as Jews, we don’t eat octopus (or squid, shrimp, pork, scallops, mussels, etc, etc), was obviously confused.

Here in Tokyo, octopus is quite relevant. Everyday, we pass outdoor fish markets and a small mom and pop market on the way to and from our hoikuen/preschool where the sweet little taco is wrapped in cellophane, its tell-tail bumps and color all the rage. Here, they come sliced in salads; here,  marinated taco is on many-a-menu.


I once witnessed a gorgeous eight-legged guy fished out of a large live tank, jut behind our sushi bar. The chef flung him onto plexiglass where the octopus was a bit of a show, sliding and roving on “dry land” until being thrown into boiling water. All this while I sipped my green tea and added another dollop of wasabi to my small plate. Of course I looked up to see that same poor octopus pulled out of his pot of death, its now purplish body immediately sliced-up. “Ding ding ding! Special taco available right now!!” Everyone called out for their share. It took me a few good swigs of my nama beer to get through the piece of sushi I’d been working on.

Side-note: The first time I visited a Japanese aquarium, I was taken aback. I am used to placards and conversation around tanks involving words like, “endangered, threatened, overfishing, beautiful, nature, wow.” You get the idea.

It was a very different experience at this aquarium in Shizuoka, Japan. Everywhere I turned, no matter the tank, I heard peals of “Oishii so! Tabetai! I want to eat that! That fish looks delicious!!!” Forget nature and preserving.

Sometimes taco=lunch.



Following up our deliciously messy dinner, the famous father-daughter duo cracked open another shell–

and dove into our new hardcover book, Dragons Love Tacos.

It was so good.

3 thoughts on “Tacos & Tacos

  1. Love the life-book link. Recently, a neighbor asked me to take care of her fish while she was away. We (my kids and I) enjoyed feeding her fishes night and day. I thought of the book I read when I was kid (Fish Out of Water) about a boy who fed his fish too much and it grew and grew. It was a really fun book. Bought it on Amazon (Amazing Amazon delivered the book the very next day!) and my daughter loves the story (read it N times already!).

    • That is fabulous, life is rich stuff, Sherilyn! Yes, don’t you love those real life tie-ins that connect us with the books we loved long ago, with our kids, and what is going on presently in our life? Makes for lasting connections, eh? You & your girls are lucky & blessed.

  2. Pingback: My Neighborhood, Be Mine | Melibelle in Tokyo

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