Snow crab from the snow country (Kani part 1)

Winter means crab in Japan. It’s the season when they catch the tasty cold water ones in the Sea of Japan, and all around Hokkaido. Many seaside villages specialize in crab and hot spring tourism. The closest ones can be reached in 3 or 4 hours from Osaka (by train, bus, car). The classic trip is a 1 night stay in a inn with hot spring, that serves in the rooms a full crab orgy, and a crab load breakfast.
There is the short, cheaper day trip version, when guests arrive for lunch, an dip in hot water and back.
You can go and reserve here, or just browse the pages of the many inns.
I have seen a dozen of species of crabs, cooked/raw in a dozen of way each… Then I forgot most of the details. Maybe because the transparent liquid we drank was not like the usual ordinary tap water at home.

Well, they send a few beasts to markets in Osaka. I got a tiny one.
Kani (gani) means crab and their cousins.
It’s a zuwai-gani, a Japanese red snow crab.

Hence my title… In Japanese : “Yuki-gani” from “Yuki-guni” would sound good.
yuki-guni = snow country, and it’s the name of the area on the West side of Japanese Alps, facing the sea of Japan, because they have a colder climate with tons of snow, and it’s a famous novel of Kawabata.
yuki-gani = snow crab
Except that nobody says that in Japanese, don’t try to order yuki-gani unless you want to be remembered as a *that crazy tourist* for a long time.

It was sold as seko-gani, because it’s a girl. Of course, Seko ! Yoko, Junko… names ending in -ko tend to be feminine here.
Also it’s full of eggs. There are many other names to indicate male/female, maybe age, with/without eggs, season they are caught… and each local dialect has other names, you’ll never them all.

Sorry Ms Seko. Sorry sensitive readers. Ploof !
Note that could be worse, today I am “nice”…
The crab after a dip in kombu seaweed and carrot hot spring :

Then when it’s boiled, cut it open with a heavy knife and a good gesture… or a good knife and heavy gesture. It splashes… waaahhh.

So everything is eaten, it’s not only white crab flesh. And that’s the good taste of Japanese Winter…
You’ll see tomorrow how it becomes a full meal.

Other Japanese crab posts :

Hairy crab


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