There Are Eyes in My Miso


There are fucking fish everywhere. At my last meal in Japan at the Narita airport I knew that I had to ask if the vegetable udon soup was vegetarian, because there’d be a good chance it wasn’t. It could easily contain slices of pork, but this soup instead was based in a fish stock. That just wouldn’t happen in the United States. A menu reads vegetable soup, it’s made with vegetable stock.

I still was shocked, however, to see these dark, circular eyes peering out from my miso soup. It’s not that I overlook miso in the US, I just don’t think much of it.

Broth is always rewarding, so warm and comforting. But when I’m on a sushi bender, I’m concentrating on the raw fish, not the accompaniment (although sometimes tempura battered vegetables steal some of my attention0n.) In Japan, though, broth is the first thought. So even while I’m letting tuna melt on my tongue, the salty liquid is on my mind. Not because I don’t want to choke on prawn’s head, but because of the dimensions of this not so simple side soup.