Gaijin Smash

The Cow’s Worst Enemy

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on November 28, 2004

I flew home to America for Christmas. Well, after Christmas technically because it’s cheaper that way, but I went back during the holiday season. By that point, I’d been in Japan for almost 5 months.
I was also starved for a good steak. Japan has beef, but not real beef. It’s tiny little strips, a quarter of which is fat, and they barely cook it! I suffer at yakiniku, which is where they bring you raw meat and you cook it yourself. I like my meat well done, and most Japanese people eat their beef still slightly alive (no really, raw beef is actually considered a delicacy here). So I wait for the meat to get really cooked, but before a piece can reach its full taste apex someone else plucks it away. It’s a goddamned shame.


Hamburg is more popular, which is a hamburger patty dressed up on a plate real nice, but it’s still just a hamburger patty and that’s not special. I know some of you are thinking about Kobe Beef, which is apparently famous because the cows are massaged or what-the-fuck-ever. I don’t need my cow to be treated like a fairy princess. No, I want it American style. Kill it, soak it in sauces, then grill that sumbitch till there’s no pink left. That’s how you do it. That’s what I was missing.
Even worse, there was that Mad Cow scare and Japan freaked, replacing many of their beef menu items with pork, or just taking them away altogether. So I was really looking forward to some good ol’ American steak. On the plane to California, I sat next to a nice Japanese guy, who lived somewhere out in San Jose and spoke English well. We talked for a little while, and he asked me if I was looking forward to returning to America. I said I was very much– to see my family, eat steak, you know the stuff any person who’s been away for a while wants to do. He noticed my steak answer and asked if I was worried about Mad Cow. I told him I was too starved for good steak to let that slow me down. “Mad Cow? They’ll be scared cows when I get off the plane,” I think I said.
He got a chuckle out of that and said something I have not forgotten to date, “Ah, so one might say you are the cow’s worst enemy.”
I just found that hilarious– the way he said it, the way it was phrased– “one might say.” Ever since, I’ve been working that into my everyday conversations on the regular.
And if you’re wondering if I tore up some steak when I got back to America, one might say that I did.

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25 Responses

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  1. BlackLiger said, on June 4, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    Indeed. Quite the quintessential British way of phrasing things, Az πŸ™‚ Indeed.

  2. Adalmin said, on June 4, 2006 at 11:42 pm

    O.o
    “Zen Master From San Jose say, you are worst enemy of cow.”
    Or something. It sounded like that.

  3. Jo said, on June 5, 2006 at 3:24 am

    One might say that I freaking love your blog! Thanks for amusing me when I should be working.

  4. Bob Jones said, on June 5, 2006 at 7:58 am

    I find your stories amusing. But your thinking that the American way of eating steak is grilling it “’till there’s no pink left” is absurd. Steak is a dish best served raw, any true steak lover will tell you that.

  5. thehaywire said, on June 5, 2006 at 9:46 am

    I remember reading this editorial back in the day, and as funny as it is, I still find one problem with it. It’s not a strange thing that the Japanese consider a nearly raw steak a delicacy, since so do most European nationalities. So do I. When a steak is well done, it becomes raw and loses some of its flavor. One might say I’m just whining. One would be correct, but whatever.

  6. Ray said, on June 5, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    Hahaha, Nice punchline at the end! I wanna say that this site is really good, because as much I want to go to Japan, I know it’s a weird (less rude: different) country!
    Thanks for keeping me laughing!
    -Ray

  7. Seraphynae said, on June 5, 2006 at 3:16 pm

    I’ve been reading your stories for the last 2 years or so, never fails to amuse me. I’m a little shocked that you hooked up with Tucker Max of all people, but hey, just as long as (new) stories keep coming out, I don’t give a damn where you are. ^.^

  8. TheRenAlsoRises said, on June 5, 2006 at 7:50 pm

    I’m just happy that someone besides myself likes their beef well done. All the kids here So. Cal. are convinced raw burgers are in.
    Represent.

  9. Anonymous said, on June 6, 2006 at 3:45 pm

    cooking a well done steak is like sunbathing until you have no skin left

  10. Anonymous said, on June 6, 2006 at 3:45 pm

    cooking a well done steak is like sunbathing until you have no skin left

  11. death-by-spoon said, on June 6, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    One might say I predict a book deal!
    You can be assured I, nameless person, will buy one.
    Just make sure to change the dates on all these entires. Obviously you know, they happened a long time ago,and that they need to be updated from all saying 2006.
    Otherwise, good luck, and I cant wait to see the rest of the archive up! (And new additions)

  12. Anonymous said, on June 7, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    Congrats on the move, man. Site looks good, hope you’re making dough from the ads.

  13. Anonymous said, on June 7, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    Congrats on the move, man. Site looks good, hope you’re making dough from the ads.

  14. Hannah said, on June 9, 2006 at 2:43 pm

    For an incredibly skinny people, I am amazed that the Japanese like to eat food that is fat or resembles fat. When you eat Kobe beef, it’s supposed to be so soft that the texture is more like meat fat than actual meat. I wholeheartedly agree with you on the well-done thing. I like my meat to taste like a dead cow, not a live one.

  15. Samantha said, on June 10, 2006 at 4:31 am

    Great stories man, just decided to randomly comment an entry because I think you deserve it. Thanks for making my day a little better.

  16. Tony B. said, on June 11, 2006 at 10:01 am

    damn, you don’t know how to eat steak…even in North America the best way to eat a steak in Medium Rare to Rare…and I personally (as well as many north americans) enjoy steak tartare and beef carpaccio (french and italian style of raw beef)…as well as rare beef in vietnamese pho noodle soup…
    one thing you should try and I only wish I was in japan to eat it (instead of having it imported) is raw slices of Kobe beef…its like butter…so tasty

  17. Steeple said, on June 14, 2006 at 12:31 am

    Hey, long time reader here. ^_^ I think I sent you an email once… anyway, congrats on getting the site! =D Truth be told, I think I employ “Gaijin Smash” at my school. Most kids are from the East Bay, while I’m in the San Francisco minority, so I’m enough of a Gaijin, dammit!
    Anyway, I’m happy: we both like our beef to be COOKED THROUGH. I rarely eat steak, but when I do, it’s tough as hell and not bloody. Dripping meat is gross. But you’re absolutely correct: kill the cow and cook that sumbitch until the pink is gone.
    Also, one might say I am the chicken’s worst enemy. It’s my favorite meat. Mmmmm. Especially my mom’s Mougal Braised Chicken. Here’s to good meat. =]

  18. Trevor said, on July 24, 2006 at 3:34 pm

    I’d say the real apex of flavor is achieved around medium-rare, its not rare enough to be gummy and chewy, and its not cooked enough to be black, dry and tough, πŸ™‚
    Love your blogs, absolutely halarious!

  19. Romanticide said, on August 5, 2006 at 8:43 pm

    My father makes me eat the beef medium cooked, he says it is more healthy… and he is a doctor so there isn’t much I can say. Medium cooked beef tastes really nice once you get used still I love once in a while to taste the meat well cooked. You should try the “cecina” tastes really nice specially well cooked to the point the meat is crunchy

  20. Scott said, on September 5, 2006 at 8:51 am

    Psh, everyone knows that there is no North American way to eat steak. If there were a war fought over how to eat steak the United States would be split into fifty or so different sta- oh, wait…

  21. securitysix said, on September 12, 2006 at 6:07 pm

    “Kill it, soak it in sauces, then grill that sumbitch till there’s no pink left. That’s how you do it.”
    Gotta concur wholeheartedly with that. The smell and taste of steak that’s still pink in the middle (at all) is just so horrendous that it makes me physically ill. The true key, and this is the problem most people have with a well done steak, is cooking it to well done while still retaining the juices. Still, I’ll take a dry, well done steak over a juicy steak with any pink in it any day.

  22. kevgeez said, on November 11, 2006 at 3:43 am

    Yea, I like my steak to still be mooing when i cut into it.

  23. Anonymous said, on February 5, 2007 at 10:26 am

    “People who order their meat well-done perform a valuable service for those of us in the business who are cost-conscious: they pay for the privilege of eating our garbage.”
    -Chef Anthony Bourdain

  24. Anonymous said, on February 5, 2007 at 10:26 am

    “People who order their meat well-done perform a valuable service for those of us in the business who are cost-conscious: they pay for the privilege of eating our garbage.”
    -Chef Anthony Bourdain

  25. Forge said, on March 19, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    Personally, I prefer medium-rare. I need my steak to be hot (rare is cool, so I dunno if I could handle raw), but as juicy as possible and unadulterated. However, if it’s not a restaurant I trust, I’ll order medium. I don’t use sauces, though. You only need them if you overcook the meat. However, I will admit that the most manly steak is well-done, well-charred, and well-seasoned.


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