Is Unagi really a thing? - Blogmantra

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Saturday, 12 May 2018

Is Unagi really a thing?

In America's one of the most popular sitcom, 'FRIENDS', you might have come across the term- Unagi, in season 6 episode 17, 'the one with Unagi'.

In the episode, Ross Geller, one of the six main characters in the show brags about how he learnt Karate and has achieved the state of complete awareness- Unagi.
While all the other FRIENDS characters disagreed with him, this left me wondering what if Ross was actually right? If you had the same question at the end of the episode then you will be happy to know that I did some digging for all the curious minds like us.

Source: Giphy

In the episode

Ross can be seen telling his friends Rachel and Phoebe when they were back from a self-defense class about Unagi.
"I studied Karate for a very long time and there's a concept you should be really familiar with. It is what the Japanese call Unagi. Unagi is a state of total awareness."
"Only by true Unagi can you be prepared for any danger that may befall you."

Throughout the episode, Ross tries to show up in front of them out of the blue to surprise them and teach them the importance of Unagi.
However, in the end, Phoebe and Rachel take a revenge on him by hiding in his apartment and beating the shit out of him to make him realize that he isn't prepared either.

Image Source: Google Images

Was Ross right about Unagi?

Well, to all the FRIENDS fan, I am sorry but Unagi has nothing to do with Karate. Of course, Ross was wrong.  
Unagi is the Japanese word for freshwater eel, especially the Japanese eel, Anguilla Japonica. It is used as a common ingredient in Japanese cooking.

Unagi is basically sliced pieces of eel fish, grilled and brushed with a soy sauce reduction which gives it a sweet taste. Unagi is often served with rice and it is an expensive Japanese delicacy.
It is a special food that Japanese eat occasionally, there is even a day for Unagi that comes once in a year and falls only on a Saturday.

That day is called "the day of the ox in midsummer", and the Japanese have a custom of preparing and eating Unagi on that day.

Image Source: Google Images

What's with the Karate then?

In Japanese Martial Arts, Zanshin is the state of total awareness. It means being aware of one's surroundings and enemies while being prepared to react.
The literal translation of the term Zashin(Japanese) into English is 'a remaining mind'.
It is a state of mental alertness and physical readiness to meet the situation such as to defend an attack or counter attack.

Image Source: Google Images

So yeah, now we know what Unagi is, but I still don't know whether eels can practice Unagi- the state of complete awareness. 😉
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