Sunday, May 9, 2010

Guns and Meat

Hellz Bellz, Golden Week is rapidly drawing to a cloze over (more posts to come, sooner or later). What have we learned? Well, for one thing, I have officially become a big fan of Gunsmoke. Not sure why it never occurred to me, considering how much I love 50's western movies, but there are years and years of Gunsmoke to be viewed, and it's actually quite good.

The first episode starts with a celebrity introduction from John Wayne encouraging you to watch, and talking about what a great guy main actor James Arness is. I had to look up Arness's history to verify what Wayne said about them working together in the past, and it turns out that they appeared together in Big Jim McLain, one of the worst John Wayne movies I've seen yet (on the other hand, I don't think Wayne made many bad movies; even the parody westerns are sorta smart and definitely enjoyable). It's sorta worth watching, partly because it's set in Hawaii (it really looks like everyone wanted a Hawaiian vacation and cooked up a crappy script to finance it) and partly because it's from 1952 and centers on a ludicrous Communist infiltration plot.

The weirdest thing to me is how much Arness sounds like Wayne. There was one point in an early episode where he said "That'll be the day," in exactly the same tone Wayne used in the famous scenes in The Searchers - which was released the year after (and supposedly inspired Buddy Holly's song of the same title).  And in nearly every episode there's something in his voice, or turn of phrase, that sounds just like classic Wayne. I think the characterization is very good, and not as cheezy as you might expect.

In other news, I had a steak the other night. People outside Japan get exercised about Kobe beef, but there are lots of good regions. This is from Sendai, the lower part of northern Japan, and not so bad at $60 / lb.  I got this from the butcher in Monzennakacho, where I had to buy two pieces and reunite them because I don't think they imagined anyone wanting to buy a whole steak at once. It's great that they left it thick, probably close to an inch - usually the high price makes them cut it more thinly so it looks affordable, but I think this ruins the taste and texuture in cooking.  I'll say it one more time, what you need to do with this is cut it into strips that are roughly square in cross-section, then set up a nice hot grill and cook the strips piece by piece, rolling each one three times to get a touch of char on every side. Eat each piece as soon as it's cooked. 

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