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Saturday, August 13, 2016

CIRCLE PACIFIC ADVENTURE 2016: Day #6--Miyazaki Wagyu Beef

By now most of you reading this blog site must know a lot about Miyazaki wagyu beef, the #1 in the world.  This is why I'm here on my $1000 train journey of 1500 miles, but paid a third of that because of something called Japan Rail Pass, only allowed for tourists.  Miyazaki sends calves to Kobe, where the meat is sold as...Kobe beef.

Miyazaki is both a prefecture and the capital city.  The overall population is in the range of 400,000.  There is an airport.  Very few show up here on a train from Tokyo.  I don't know anyone in Japan who has even visited Miyazaki, and, certainly, no one from the USA.  Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) held a major gathering at this Sheraton Grand Ocean Resort in 2000.

The hotel has 743 rooms and is 45 stories tall.  One of my views with Miyazaki city in the background:


Pine Terrace, the breakfast area, seats 500.  My day started there in a 50-yard line at 8:45AM.  Fifteen minutes later I was seated, and the line was still 50 yards long.  The buffet is similar to resorts on Asia...fabulous.  More orchids in the entryway and my meal:


I tried to find a way to visit the Miyazaki wagyu beef operations here, plus, perhaps a Shiitake Mushroom farm, for the region is famous for both.  Farmers don't want tourists, for they fear upsetting their cattle or being infected by humans.  Here is Hidetoshi Kamada, who has been quoted to say:

      Cows just want to live a good life. I owe it to them to give them everything I have. That is my job.

Also, turns out that summer is not a good time to see Shiitake Mushrooms.  In any case, there is no tour for beef and mushrooms.

So I caught the free shuttle to take me around the prefecture and took some photos of the environs:


I stopped at Aeon Mall to see what Miyazaki wagyu beef costs here.  Basically, $60/pound (versus $80/pound in Honolulu):


The sashimi prices are similar to Hawaii's:


I asked where I could find fast food wagyu beef in town, and was sent to the Miyazaki Gourmet and Lantern Night:


The Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort is a short walk away from Florante Miyazaki, the site of this festival:

The crab stand guy angrily said don't take a photo, pointing to the sign:


But the Miyazaki Wagyu Beef Team was young and personable:


The beer and steak cost me $16.  This was an ideal late lunch, for I have a 9PM dinner at the Sheraton teppanyaki restaurant where Miyazaki Wagyu Beef is featured.

Still, I hadn't seen a real Miyazaki cow, so I went to the Phoenix Nature Zoo:


A rare Bactrian Camel (only 10% have two humps), and the appearance of my Blue Bar Pigeon in the cage of a strange bird.  The longest-eared goat I've ever seen, plus some pelicans:


They had a lot of goats, but no Miyazaki Wagyu Cattle.  Of course, how often do you see a cow in a zoo?

After a long bath, I went up to the Club Lounge and had a champagne and scotch with salmon:


I then thought I'd scout around the building, and went to the top, the 43rd floor, which was dedicated to weddings:


In the basement was karaoke:


Dinner was, of course, Miyazaki Wagyu Beef.  I'll minimize the text by mostly showing photos from Fukami:



Finally, an actual wagyu animal above.  Didn't look close enough to determine if it was a cow, bull, ox or steer (the photo of the right is not a cow).   There are four breeds of Japanese Black Cattle, which, over time, have been biologically engineered and physically treated to minimize muscle and maximize good fat (omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, with a minimum of saturated fats).  Australian wagyu is just not quite the same, although in Western Australia, red wine is added to the diet.  American wagyu is even less terrific and is usually an Black Angus.

Before ingredients for the grill:


I began with a plate of appetizers and a Miyazaki beer:


Scallops and mushrooms in a lot of butter and a piece of bread on the side.  Then foie gras and unagi (Japanese eel):


I added a Cabernet Sauvignon.


I noticed that the son and daughter of the family to my right had spaghetti, but were given the dessert.  This will be my best meals on this trip.  Cost?  Don't ask.

Tomorrow, back to Osaka.

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