The other day my host father, brother, and sister took me out to an acquaintance`s house to go digging for take no ko (bamboo shoots). We carried shovels and trowels and I felt very quaint thinking I would be digging up food that I would later eat myself. (I like to delude myself with illusions of self-reliance.) If I ever end up without food in some place which happens to be plentiful in bamboo, I am prepared. I feel like I have become more adult.
We went a bit early in the morning, before I had rugby practice. The sun was out, but where we were digging was very shaded (what with all the bamboo), so my camera did a bad job of capturing the scene (also I was very busy digging), and I have only a few very low quality pictures.
Take no ko in the ground
So what you do is find the shoot poking out of the ground. My host brother is especially adept at this. Once you find one, you begin to excavate the dirt around it. Basically you dig around the shoot and wiggle it about every once in a while to determine if you can try and pull it out yet. My host sister and I had a fun time doing this together. The thing to take care of is that you don`t break the shoot until you hit these tiny red, knobby, bead-like things at the bottom.
It had rained the night before, so the digging wasn`t as tough as it usually is (my host father told me it would take about 10 minutes to dig one take no ko loose), but we had a lot of trouble with roots （nekko・根子）winding round the take no ko, so we couldn't dig all the way around. In that case, we just covered the shoot back up and left it. We did the same when they were too small.
Host bro and giant take no ko success!
My favourite way to eat take no ko is when they`re cooked into your rice... Or pickled. Mmmm...