One big bite

When I was small, we had a family relative who would send us a box of spicy fish eggs every year. From the day of delivery, for several weeks, we would have a bowl of orange-coloured spicy fish eggs on our dinner table every day. Since it was quite spicy, I learned to take just a small amount on my rice bowl and eat them bit by bit with rice. When they were over, I would take some more from the bowl. That was the routine.

At our dinner table, my father was seated right in front of me. His eating style was always very dynamic with big bites and quick movements. The way he picked up a big portion of food, threw it in his mouth and gulped it used to make me feel that the thing he was eating was the most delicious thing in the world. I would watch him closely from the other side of the table and sometimes even mimic the way he ate.

One evening, I saw my father pick up a big chunk of spicy fish eggs and put it in his rice bowl. My eyes were widened with surprise. The fish eggs were very spicy. What on earth was he going to do with that big amount?

But he did not eat the fish eggs right away. He sipped the miso soup, ate something else, and I also got distracted for a second.

The next moment, however, I saw an orange-coloured object transported from my father’s rice bowl to his mouth. Moreover, he swallowed the whole thing in one go!

“Daddy!” I cried in shock. “You ate them all? But they’re spicy!!”


My father looked up in surprise. He had no idea what I was talking about, but when he understood that I had meant the spicy fish eggs, he paused for a second.

“What you saw must have been a carrot, Sweetie,” he said. “I wouldn’t eat such a big chunk of fish eggs in one bite! No chance!”

I was relieved to hear that, but something bothered me. Where did the fish eggs go then? I saw them in his rice bowl just a moment ago!

Somewhere in my mind, I could not help believing that my father had actually swallowed that big chunk of spicy fish eggs in one bite. And I still remember how impressed I was that evening.