“Fresh green leaves, mountain cuckoos singing, and the first bonito of the season.”
This is a famous haiku poem composed by Sodo Yamaguchi, a haiku poet of Edo period, describing how delightful it is to enjoy the seasonal things of early summer. Late spring to early summer is a great time for “hatsu-gatsuo” (first catch of bonitos in the season) when your eyes enjoy fresh green leaves.
Hatsu-gatsuo is bonito that moves up north along with the Kuroshio Current in the spring. It carries less fat but the fresh and slightly sour flavor makes hatsu-gatuso very special.
Also there are still plentiful shellfish this month as well, a wonderful season for “torigai” (Japanese cockle). Torigai of Mikawa Bay and natural scallops of Eastern Hokkaido are at their best.
As for white fish, “makogarei” (marbled sole) and “hoshigarei” (spotted halibut) take over winter “hirame” (sole). However it’s not their best season yet.