Father's Day is June 16

Happy New Year. 2013 has started with a perfect sunrise in Japan. Hopefully it signifies that the rest of the year to be bright and shiny. 2012 was filled with happenings: from Taylor Swift changing boyfriends 18 times, to Gangnam Style to Sandy craziness to starting my own business. Let's hope 2013 will be a good year for everyone!

I am currently in Japan, staying at my mom's home in rural Japan. How rural? Beyond your imagination. We have one working traffic light in town, which goes blinking after 9:30pm.  The average age in town seems to be above 50. And Japanese houses aren't centrally heated, so I am wearing a winter jacket inside the house. I wonder why one of the most "advanced" countries in the world would not have central heat....

Anyhow, every year when I go home, my brother sends a box of crab legs. Japan eats the most crab in the world. People in Tottori prefecture apparently eat about 10 pounds per person every year. As I have written in the past, around this season, crab is everywhere as a part of New Year's celebration. It's expensive so it's appropriate to eat when celebrating the new year, I guess.

Majority of the crabs available in Japan are either snow crabs or king crab. In our house, we always have snow crab. They are freshly caught, then flash frozen. The Japanese do eat the crab guts (but not me) --but since it goes bad quickly, they only ship legs.

Crab claw:

We broiled them on the table top grill:

When raw, the crabs are dark brown, but when cooked they become bright orange:

The crab is packed with sweetness. Whenever we eat crab, the dinner table is so quiet since everyone is so focused on squeezing every tiny bit of meat out of the hard shell.

Crab carcasses:

We not only use crab spoons to pick out every part of the meat, but we always lick and suck the juices out of the shells to get the maximum amount of crab. So you would think this would be garbage right?

Think twice.

My mother boils the shells to make crab stock. I think it's pretty gross, and every time I ask her why, she says, "We are family and after boiling this in hot water, all the bacteria we may have will die, so it's fine. We can't throw out the precious crab remains just because we sucked everything out of them..."  This is typical of my mother. These Japanese ladies, they never waste anything.

Here is the crab stock. This will be used as a soup base for hot-pot tonight.

Although cooking saliva-filled crab shells to make stock is pretty gross, this is family and I think this is a great way to start a new year. By the way, the final crab shells (after boiling them to make stock) went into my mom's homemade fertilizer.

Family is a pain in the ass to deal with a lot of times, but you only have them for a limited time, so when you can, be good with your parent(s). Take them out, travel with them, show how much you love them (directly or indirectly, and in my case, definitely the most indirect way possible). I am planning to meet my mom in Rome this year and be her tour guide. Spending 24/7 for 10 days with my mother is one of the most excruciating experiences, but I will remember this post whenever I want to strangle her.

Happy New Year!!