Couple enjoy taking a bite out of Japan

Waikoikoi sheep and beef farmer Clayton Chittock said he and his fellow travellers returned from their two-week trip to Japan much heavier than when they left.

He and his wife Lyn supply beef to the Canterbury Meat Packers, Ashburton, (now Anzco Foods) and the meat ultimately is sent to a large Japanese company, Aleph Inc, which has many restaurants.

The Chittocks, along with eight other couples and Anzco representatives and an interpreter spent two weeks in Japan last month.

While in Tokyo they met Makato Kinjo, the Anzco president, at their head office and did some sightseeing, including visiting one of the biggest fish markets in the country.

They visited Sapporo to see some of Aleph's restaurants.

He said each restaurant had the same menu, mainly mince patties, hamburgers and sliced steak, and the one they saw in Kyoto had an Italian theme.

They visited a brewery, which brewed German lager and supplied the restaurants.

In addition to visiting Aleph's founder's farm, where Poll Dorset sheep are raised, the group also visited a farm rearing Wagu beef.

At one point they were shown boxes of CMP beef and they were able to identify the particular meat the Chittocks had grown, using their supplier number ''84''.

''It was really exciting to see and we felt quite proud of ourselves.''

They travelled to Hiroshima and viewed the Peace Museum.

''There is only one building left in the original state and it was like the [atomic] bombing happened yesterday.

''When we went to the museum. It was quite emotional to see the pictures of what it was like [when it was bombed in 1945].''

They rode the bullet train, which travelled up to 308kmh, and they thought that was exciting for the first two hours. They also attended an eight-course banquet, eating a lot of raw fish and fish eggs.

''They eat raw fish like we eat meat,'' he said.

''Sometimes it went down, sometimes it didn't.''

He said the tour organisers looked after them well.

''It was a completely new experience and we came home two to four stone heavier,'' he said.

- yvonne.ohara@alliedpress.co.nz