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Enjoy the Plentiful Lobster Rolls While They Last

“Maine baby lobster decline could mean end to record catches as lobstermen, scientists worry” said an AP report this week. This AP file photo (credit: Robert F. Bukaty) shows one of the thousands of baby lobsters counted every year along the Maine coast by dedicated teams of wetsuit-clad marine biologists, including the scientists I write about in The…

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World’s Most Elegant Doggie Bag

As much as I admire sushi, the ultimate Japanese dining experience is probably kaiseki. A kind of small-dish tasting menu, kaiseki combines the elegance of Japan’s ancient courtly cuisine with the simplicity of Buddhist temple fare (and often includes both small sashimi and sushi courses). The goal of kaiseki is to highlight the natural taste of ingredients…

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Japan Is So Quirky

Can you believe the Japanese still use fax machines—lots of them? How come they haven’t switched to email like the rest of the modernized world? It’s mainly because their language and culture are so unique, according to an amused headline this week in the Washington Post. Those Japanese are so quirky. We love “Japan is so quirky”…

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Turns Out that Lobsters Talk to Fish

One of the scenes from The Secret Life of Lobsters that people remark about most is the description of the “LTV"—"lobster trap video"—which exposed the behavior of lobsters in a trap as rather like a mob of escaped convicts in a barroom brawl. Escaped convicts because, after their slugfest, most of the lobsters caught on the LTV…

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Too Much of a Good Thing?

This is a pile of lobsters photographed on the coast of Maine around 1870. Lately the piles of lobsters being hauled in by Maine lobstermen are even bigger. That’s partly because lobsters are all that’s left in the Gulf of Maine for fishermen to catch—most of the cod, haddock, hake, and other fish have long…

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Savage Beauty

I’m not normally much into fashion, but Alexander McQueen captured my heart with what the New York Times called the “lobster claw stiletto bootie,” perhaps the most aquatically sensual shoe ever created. The Times wrote: The boot transformed the models’ feet into … the claws of some futuristic crustacean. … McQueen, influenced by On the Origin of Species, presented a kind…

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In Lieu of Being a Rock Star

Having played in a rock band in high school, the dream, of course, was always to “play an arena.” I’d assumed that dream had died a brutal and summary death once I’d headed down the path of becoming a writer—not to mention a writer who has spent a good chunk of his time writing about…

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The Lobster-Killing Conversation Continues

The timeless topic of how best to dispatch a lobster is revived again this weekend in a New York Times review of two new books that flesh out the lobster literature alongside my book, The Secret Life of Lobsters. The review ponders the best way to kill a lobster for cooking, and cites “an illustrated blog…

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In Tokyo, the New Normal

In an email from a Japanese friend in Tokyo: People in Tokyo tend to have spring allergies, so in the old days at this time of year, we’d greet each other with the words, “The pollen count is low, it’s a nice day, isn’t it?” Lately, we’re greeting each other with the words, “The radiation…

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No Wonder Japan Has Earthquakes

Having experienced the earthquake in Kobe, Japan in 1995—during which I was utterly convinced my life was about to end—and now seeing even worse devastation in Japan again, with the tsunami, I’m struck by this graphic from the GeoResources website illustrating the confluence of tectonic plates that causes these devastating tremors. Japan could not be more…

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