This Tuesday I found this, probably pricey cut of equine flesh, hidden in a particularly dark corner of the refrigerator where it's been lurking for the better part of a fortnight. I know how long it's been there because I put it there shortly after my uncle had saddled me with it.
He got it from a dear friend of his who brought it back from a westward excursion (to Nagano, which I believe lies northwest of where I am sitting now in Yokohama). The old geezer claims that because he was born in the year of the horse, eating the meat would be akin to cannibalism so he regifted the souvenir item to me. I took it as part gift, part challenge. He's forever "challenging" me to some sort of epicurean duel involving one kind of exotic Japanese fare or another (a lot of which he pulls off his laundry line). The truth is once you've eaten Spam, everything goes down easy.
Now horse meat is, well, a horse of another color altogether. The horse runs wild across the American psyche and stands as a symbol of the unbridled spirit that shaped the country. An invasive species brought to the shores of America by Spanish conquistadors some time in the sixteenth century, the animal has been revered from coast to coast ever since. Eating the creature, while certainly not unheard of, is considered taboo by most. Recently much ink has been spilled over the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's controversial sale of wild horses which were then slaughtered and sold on the market.
Related post: Hanging in the Balance