Your name is Mackerel

March 22, 2021 By mk

“I want you to understand one thing,” said Kumiko. “That cat is very important to me. Or should I say to us. We found it the week after we got married. Together. You remember?” (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Book 1 Ch.4) 

I was dying to have a cat. But they wouldn’t let me. My mother hated them. Not once in my life have I managed to get something I really wanted. Not once. Can you believe it? (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Book 1 Ch.6)

In The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, the brown striped big cat with the bent tail was a trigger of the story and represented something special for Kumiko. The disappearance of the cat led to the disappearance of Kumiko and made Toru confront the evil. Before the cat’s return, Tohru once happened to give up on Kumiko and thought of going to Crete island with Kano Crete but did not do so. Toru’s decision enabled him to see Kumiko again.

Sawara can be caught in the Tokyo bay

“From now on, your name is Mackerel.” I wanted to shout it to the world. (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Book 3 Ch.6)

When the cat came back, Toru Okada renamed the returned cat “Mackerel (“Sawara” in Japanese).” Sawara is a seasonal fish of spring and implied an auspicious omen of the revival in the spring.

Toru Okada met Malta Kano at the Pacific Hotel in Shinagawa. The place was renamed Shinagawa Goos in 2011 and will be closed at the end of March 2021 due to areal redevelopment.

The cafe at the hotel serves a special carpaccio of sawara for its last week’s special. I believe they understand what they do without saying so.

Let me share how much Sawara is loved and cooked in many parts of Tokyo;

Typical lunch set with grilled sawara
Sawara in French style
Grilled sawara, Saikyo Yaki (marinated with miso)
Sawara at the takeaway sushi
Sawara sushi
Sawara’s character is made of fish and spring
Fish names on the teacup at a sushi restaurant
Sawara is the second from the left, the third from the bottom