The family had reason to celebrate, and relatives from near and far gathered in Kanazawa. Grandfather said we should get the famous Kanazawa tsukudani (various treats simmered and preserved in soy sauce) to give everyone as a thank you present for coming so far. There are many such special products made in Kanazawa besides tsukudani, but grandpa, born in Kanazawa, raised in Kanazawa, stubbornly said no, it had to be tsukudani.

That’s how I found myself pushing grandpa’s wheelchair up to the main shop of Tsukudaya in Shimo-Shinmachi. With just a glance at the show window, I could see at least ten kinds. I suggested we buy the variety pack assortment, but grandpa said no, it had to be “gori” tsukudani. In the end I had to do what grandpa said, and we special ordered an assortment of “gori” tsukudani.

By the way, the common Japanese expression, “gori-oshi,” meaning to “apply extra force,” comes from the same “gori” as in “gori” tsukudani. The “gori” fish (goby) sticks itself to the bottom of the river with a sucker on its belly, so you have to pry it loose by applying extra force.

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