How Does Japanese Raw Horse Sashimi Taste?
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How Does Japanese Raw Horse Sashimi Taste?

August 10, 2019


This is Kumamon. Kumamoto’s beloved mascot. Cute, cuddly, friendly; he’s worth a billion
dollars to the local economy. And he’s also quite hot. Don’t touch him on a sunny day. I must say, I feel a sense of betrayal. I’ve travelled the length and breadth of
Japan, visited numerous places that boldly claim to have the best view
in the country. And yet, all of these places seem pitifly
insignificant when compared to this. The largest active volcano in Japan, and one of the largest volcanoes
on the planet, Mount Aso. What does a billion dollar teddy bear, a recently destroyed castle, raw horse meat sashimi, and a real life smurf village all have in common? Well, they’re all in one place, which we’re going to journey
our way through today. Kumamoto lies on the west coast
of the island of Kyushu. In 2016, it received global attention
for all the wrong reasons, when a devistating magnitude 7
earthquake struck the region, killing 50 and injuring 3,000 people. 3 years later, whilst the city
has recovered from the disaster, it’s left it’s mark on historic structures
such as Kumamoto Castle, which looks like it’s been in a recent battle. But equally as worrying as the threat
of the earthquakes is the spectre of Japan’s largest volcano, the Aso Caldera, which lies
just on the outskirts of the city. For those of you that play Zelda,
this is essentially like being in Hyrule. When you come to places like this,
you see where Japanese game designers get their inspiration from. As beautiful as this place is,
there is a sinister undertone to it all, especially when you look at the summit of
Mount Neko in the distance over there. The Aso Caldera covers a huge area,
with a circumference of 75 miles. And it’s geographically chaotic landscape
consists of no less than 5 peaks. Classed as a super volcano, fortunately,
the last major eruption of the Aso Caldera took place 90,000 years ago. Though, the last minor eruption
took place in just May 2019. So, the region is still very much active. One of the crators is a popular tourist spot. Although it’s often closed due to high
levels of carbon and sulfur dioxide. So, if you’re planning to visit,
be sure to check in advance as nobody wants their holiday
ruined by sulfur dioxide. But, the geology of Kumamoto hasn’t
just shaped the landscape. It’s actually influenced the way people
live here; in smurf houses. Genuinely, I’m not making that up either. I can’t make up my mind to
what this looks like. Tellytubby land, Smurf village,
or bedrock from the Flinstones. Either way, it’s quite the sight. 480 polystyrene domes
stretched out before me. A village in it’s own right, it’s off peak
season so nobody’s here at the moment. This is Aso Farm Village
and it’s basically a resort town comprised of hundreds of domes. It came to national prominence in 2016,
after the earthquake, the magnitude 7 earthquake, rocked the region. Because not a single dome here was
damaged by the earthquake due to their sturdy,
polystyrene design. I actually remember reading about this
place in a British newspaper, such with it’s reputation at the time. Who knows, maybe this is what
the future of mankind will look like, lots of domes. It does look rather picturesque. Smurf land, I mean, Aso Farm Village,
played an important role after the 2016 earthquake. When over 4,000 buildings were destroyed
and 600 people affected by the disaster took up shelter at the dome houses, within the safety of the 20cm thick
polyurethane foam walls. Each home is 7 meters in diameter
with 40 square meters of space, en suite bathrooms, and thankfully, airconditioning. The village even comes equipped with it’s
very own, cleverly branded smoking area. It’s not quite tobacco, it’s not quite a cottage, it is, you guessed it, Tabaccotage. Which does quickly become my favourite word. All domes are created equal but some domes are more equal than others. This is the royal, the “royal,” section. The royal dome section. I love the effort and detail that’s gone into these places. Look at this, look at the walls Real stone. That sounds a bit weird But often walls in Japan,
they look like rocks, but just plastic. This is real stone. This is so weird. I would quite like to stay here actually. I think it would be quite fun for one night, or two. My only concern is that the domes
are very close together, so I don’t really know if you have much
in the way of privacy, especially with the thin walls. Other than that, yeah, I think it would be fun for one night. I finally found the one that I want, Royal 74. It has a very large, very nice,
elaborate Japanese style garden. It’s large by the standards of the gardens dome village. Now to try and find my way out of
this neverending dome nightmare. No sooner have I arrived in the
city of Kumamoto, I find myself coming face to face with a
slightly unnerving character, who’s quickly gone on to become Japan’s
most ubiquitous and wealthiest mascot. This is Kumamon; Kumamoto’s beloved mascot. Cute, cuddly, friendly, often ranked
as the most popular mascot in all of Japan, he’s worth a billion dollars
to the local economy, and he’s also quite hot. Don’t touch him on a sunny day. Kumamon everything. So, apparently there’s 2 reasons
for Kumamon’s success. Number 1: he’s rather cute. Look at his little face Although, to me, I find him utterly terrifying. The second reason though
is Kumamoto prefecture is very smart when it came
to licensing Kumamon. Anyone can use Kumamon
on their merchandise as long as its promoting
the Kumamoto region. So, with that in mind,
lot’s of companies sprung up across Japan exploiting his cuddly, little face. In recent years, it’s brought in
as much as $100,000,000 a year… …in merchandise alone. Kumamon’s wide spread fame
is without question, Look, here’s Kumamon
talking to a child on a bridge. Here he has talking to
a famous French actress. But, if like me, you still find Kumamon’s
fame to be something of an enigma, I interviewed a Japanese mascot expert, to gain a greater understanding of the
character’s widespread appeal. Whatever you think about Kumamon,
whether you love him or hate him, there’s no denying he’s a masterclass
in the art of commercialisation. Say Kumamoto to any Japanese person, there’s always one dish
that springs into mind. Raw horse meat,
known as basashi. Now, admittedly, I don’t eat a lot of horses
given it’s a taboo meal in the U.K. as it is in the U.S. even though it is widely eaten across Europe and Asia. 2 years ago though, I made a video tasting
a horse meat barbeque in North Japan. And as expected, it didn’t go down
too well with everyone. Nevertheless it’s the meal of Kumamoto,
and even if I didn’t want to eat it, I have to do it. Because it’s Youtube, innit? It’s time to eat the local dish of Kumamoto,
the most famous dish by far, raw horse meat. Or, if you want to be more elegant about it,
sakuraniku; cherry blossom meat. Because it’s pink, like cherry blossom. But still raw horse meat. So, to most of the world,
raw horse meat is something we wouldn’t dare to
dream about eating. However, it’s actually quite good,
tastes good, it’s good for you, high protein,
low calories. Because the fat has a low melting point
and it has a kind of a sweet flavour to it, it tastes really nice raw. I dont eat it that often, but when I do eat, I do enjoy it. Here we go. It’s really good. If you close your eyes and eat it… …it tastes a bit like having tuna, which is my favourite fish. So it’s not really a surprise that I enjoy it We have 3 different cuts of
horse meat here. The only bit I’m not so keen on eating
is this white stuff. This is the horse mane,
the neck of the horse. But, it’s a little bit tough,
a little bit hard and chewy. Interestingly, the consumption of
horse meat isn’t a particularly historic addition to the local culture. From the 6th century up until the 1860’s,
consumption of all four legged animals within Japan were strictly prohibited
in accordance with Buddhist practices. It was only in the 1960’s
when motorised vehicles meant horses were no longer needed
for transport and agriculture. Kumamoto’s overabundance of horse
farmers presumably went, “wait a minute, dinner time”. And today, Kumamoto leads in the
consumption of the delicacy across all of Japan. Eating their way through 20% of nations
annual 7,400 tonnes of horse meat. Obviously, when you eat it raw, it is cold. So it does come with things
like garlic, onions, hot foods that kind of spice it up a bit. If you barbeque it, it tastes a lot like beef,
but, in my view, it’s better than beef. I had a horse barbeque with Ryotaro,
I think, last year… …and it’s some of the
best meat I’ve ever had, honestly. A lot of viewers weren’t very happy
at the prospect of eating a horse, and I can understand that. I mean… …when I first found out about this 6 years
ago, I was horrified as well. But… …I’ve grown to love it. I don’t eat it often. I eat it, maybe, 3-4 times a year at most. What’s the verdict though? I’d give it an 8/10. Highly recommended. Kumamon would love it. If he was real. Wow Never seen anything like this. So, this is Kumamoto Castle,
one of the main 3 castles in Japan along with Himeji castle and Matsumoto. We actually saw Himeji castle
a few weeks ago on this trip. Now, it looks like the castle
has been in some kind of battle. The walls have collapsed and
the tower’s crumbling. This is actually damaged by the
2016 Kumamoto earthquake. *music* The garden is one of the most impressive
castles in Japan and stood in the centre of the city
since the 1600’s. Geez, thats a lot of illiteration. Visitors won’t be able to go inside
until 2021, when the reconstruction
work is completed. That being said, I’d argue
that witnessing the destruction has given the castle something
of a unique edge. At first, it may look a bit unpleasant
because of the reconstruction work, but I think it’s quite a powerful sight. Because, usually, Japanese castles
have been renovated to perfection and they’re kind of pristine in appearance. Whereas this, there’s something
beautiful and organic about the walls being crumbled… …and caved in and the tower collapsing. There’s a sense of this invincible,
impenetrable structure really isn’t so invincible after all. Because of the damage and
the current repairs, you can’t actually go in the castle. But, to be honest,
it’s an architectural marvel best experienced from afar
and appreciated from the grounds. Like most castles in Japan,
I don’t really, between you and me, I don’t really enjoy going in the
Japanese castles, towers themselves. I find them… They’ve been renovated so much,
they’ve lost a lot of historical value. But, for Kumamoto castle,
it’s best enjoyed on the grounds. It’s the perfect place to relax, unwind,
and enjoy the incredible architecture. Well guys, what a splendid day it’s been. We’ve seen the largest
active volcano in Japan, we’ve eaten a horse, and we’ve been to Tellytubby land. It’s been a rather randomly exciting day,
I’ve really enjoyed my time in Kumamoto. On this Journey Across Japan, I’ve been
listing off various places I want to revisit, and Kumamoto is definitely one of them. I feel like there’s so much to do here,
we barely scraped the surface. But, hopefully from our time together,
you’ve got a picture of what it’s like here. Tomorrow, I’l be joined by my final guest, who is a girl and a vlogger, and she’ll be joining me as we
travel from Kumamoto to our final destination of Kagoshima. We’re almost there guys, I can’t believe it It’s mental, it’s crazy. But anyway,
no matter where you might be watching from out there in the big wild world guys,
thanks for watching, thanks for being apart of the
Journey Across Japan. I’ll see you right back here
to do it again tomorrow.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. NOTIFICATION SQUAD: To miss Ryotaro’s ridiculous cameo in this video would be a crime.A super volcano, a billion dollar bear, a destroyed castle, horse sashimi and Smurfland; this was easily one of my favourite days from Journey Across Japan due to the sheer variety of amazing things we saw along the way. Any one of those things would be an interesting topic. I can’t believe our journey is almost over though, with just two videos to go!
    For those of you wondering how I magically got from Fukuoka to Kumamoto, I did actually film the cycle in between, however during the trip I was fairly ill and as a result the video was pretty dreadful. I’ll reveal clips from it in my post-cycle wrap up video and talk about it a bit more there – it was a tough decision to take it out, but when I’m pouring a week into producing each video, I need to be happy with the content, and in between me coughing and complaining, I felt it wasn’t a day worth sharing.
    Thanks again to all of you for being a part of this incredible never-ending journey – enjoy the video and Ryotaro’s cameo! It’s 3:32am and I’m off to bed before I implode.

  2. I Love horse meat!!! Just like you I dont eat it that many times a year. A bit hard to find. But we do have horse meat sausage thats produced closed to home.

  3. When Emperor (Emeritus now) met Kumamon and asked: "Are you doing Kumamon alone?"
    Kumamon freaked out cause "there is no human inside Kumamon" and Kumamon couldn't lie to Emperor lol.
    I grew up near the racehorse training centre and had been riding horse. There's no shop selling and no one eats horse meat in that city. After I moved to Tokyo and ate BASASHI for the first time, it was actually good. We say Itadakimasu before eating food, which means "I'll have your life with gratitude".
    About Kumamoto castle, everybody shocked, but with wabi-sabi mind, we accepted the reality and decided to rebuild it.

  4. Dude. I cant stop watching you channel and videos.
    Japan is my second largest bucket list item!!
    I will be finally going to Shinjuku in March 2020. Staying with a wonderful Homestay in Nerima.
    I watch your videos and it's honestly helped my friend and I alot.
    What to do and not to do.
    Where to check out, what to eat.
    Thanks so much for all your hard work and dedication on your series.
    If we run into you, we are treating you to Nomihoudai!!!

  5. Y’all find the dudes address who said he got six horses I want to have small talk with his horses :))))

  6. When I get to bed early i reward myself with a few Abroad in Japan re-runs. Its actually more pathetic than it sounds

  7. Still waiting for the last instalment! Whats going on fella? I presume Kagoshima city will be the last one. Hanging out for it.

  8. Who is the real Ryotaro?! ..I thought I recognized that expert guy, hey, like wait a minute, isn't he the same guy in the other video? Haha

  9. Oooi Chris mate. You haven’t uploaded in 1 month. This is pretty f*cking poor. Unless your dead, then this Unacceptable. Sorry for being mean but somebody had to f*cking say it. Love your videos though and i have been with you since you overtook simply red. Good business for Tesco’s in japan. Please upload. Bye bye 🙂

  10. I love how british and american people get triggered when they come to know that horse meat is eaten in some countries. Here in Italy we often eat it 😂

  11. So I have a question? What is the local Japanese feel about tattoos? I have a lot like everywhere and I wanna visit Japan next year but I’m worried I might get like in trouble or scolded or not even aloud in the country idk I just wanna know

  12. Chris should visit the Japanese 7 eleven (if he hasnt already). Apparently tthe food is really good for its price.

  13. love your channel it's truly amazing to see Japan by your experiences and the video editing and quality is excellent please keep going if you can

  14. Bought horse meat at Simply Market during my vacation in Rome and I have to say it is fucking delicious (cooked it at the AirBNB I was staying in). I'm sad I can't get it in the US.

  15. It’s smurf village and the construction company that made it was also the ones who made bedrock from the flinstones

  16. this series is getting ridiculous….. started Oct 18…. now nearly 10 months…. forget cycling, you can walk across it and back with time to spare……

  17. That prohibition on eating meat (not counting fish …or wild game) was never quite a full ban. There were many loopholes and exceptions.

  18. 4:50 "especially with the thin walls" i really cant tell if that's sarcasm or you genuinely forgot they're 20cm thick lol

  19. I don’t wanna come out rude or anything, but judging from the recent videos. I think you’ve become slightly more….um not that much masculine but…I mean is it me or your cheeks I mean they um look moooore um puffy.

  20. I remember when my host family decided to give my brother, father and I a 'fun!!' dish… It was horse and chicken sashimi. It was weird/uncomfortable to eat but it was surprisingly and genuinely delicious.

  21. Smurf houses are mushrooms (or mushroom-shaped)
    Not domes. It is kinda similar to Bedrock, though (except a bit too modern and refined)
    Dunno about teletubby land, as I haven't seen that horrid abomination, made to ensure babies stay still watching the idiot box, rather than doing what babies should do.

  22. Actually, in various places in Japan, horse meat has been eaten for over 400 years.
    (I looked it up, as I found the claim that it is from the 60's, to be very dubious)
    Not to mention this, from when you ate horse barbecue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9O94_avvnfY&t=4m

  23. Great series of videos, good idea to have the different guests for a different point of view. Your so lucky to live and travel in japan. I'm very jealous.

  24. Yeah, it's too bad they're gonna fix it up. It looks so unique with the damage. Like my battle damage He-Man.

  25. It is such an amazing moment when you understand what Ryotaro was really saying and then read the false subtitles and be like: WHAT? It's utterly hilarious 😂

  26. That Takeshi Satoshi guy looks awfully familiar, he's been to your video once before, right?

    I fuckin' hope you don't take this comment seriously.

  27. Conversation from (usually Americans) in this comments section:

    American: OMG this is an atrocity! The horse deserves life! This goes against my principles!!!

    Others: But you guys eat cow meat… A lot of it… Cows don't deserve life?

    Americans: Cows serve only as meat source so it's okay.

    Others: Not really… It's used as transportation and for agriculture in many Asian countries to this day. Hindus also view cows as sacred.

    Americans: Lol why should I care about Hindu people's principles?

    Others: Why should people of Kumamoto, or Chris care about your principles?

    Americans: Fuck you.

    Gotta love the simplistic, hypocritical and contradictory principles of these muffins. So soft. Offended by everything.

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