the story of the mackerel and a concerned foreigner

Fish is highly essential in a pregnant woman’s diet because of the DHA and omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial on the brain development of her unborn child.

Not all fish is safe for consumption of pregnant women however. Shark (who would ever eat a shark???!!!), tilefish, tuna and king mackerel were the constant names mentioned in almost all books/websites I came across, highlighted as the types of fish which SHOULD be avoided owing to their high mercury content.

As I have this image that these types of fish were big ones, I made a mental note to just eat small ones.

Thinking I needed more intake of fish, we decided to have lunch at Ootoya where my favorite grilled fish meal is.


I asked hubby what was the name of the fish I was eating. To which he answered that it was called “Saba”. I asked what was its English name. But hubby didn’t know. I just shrugged it off and continued in eating my fish. I find it really delicious and I was eating it with much gusto, happily thinking as well that baby is having a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids.

As usual, hubby finished eating first and excused himself to go to toilet.

Now, the people on the table nearest us were two guys – one a silent Japanese and the other a western guy who did most of the talking. He wasn’t eating as well. It was only his Japanese companion who was eating.

A minute after Hubs left, I heard the western guy said “it’s none of my business but I’ll say it anyway”. I found this weird but of course it’s also none of my business if he acts weird or not. And then in a flash he was already standing in front of me and saying something to me. Because of my surprise, it took me a while to understand what he was saying.

I had to shake my head to clear it from the shock and asked him to repeat what he was saying (for the third time):

it’s mackerel. The English name of what you’re eating – it’s mackerel.

When he saw that I finally understood what he was saying he then went back to his seat.

Meanwhile I had already recovered from my shock of him approaching me. But now I have a different worry. That i wasn’t supposed to eat what I was eating.

So then I called out to him.
Me: you helped me a lot in here. I wasn’t supposed to be eating this fish Thank you.

Guy: why not? Why are you not supposed to eat it? (yes he’s pretty confident)

Me: Because pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat mackerel.

Guy: Oh….. Well, congratulations anyway.

Me: arigatou. (smiling)

I still finished my fish though because I realized I’d be eating it for the last time for the next six months.

Thank you stranger, for intervening which could be life saving. I’ll pay it forward next time. Hubs and I had a good laugh about it later on but really sometimes, it helps to care even when supposedly “it’s none of your business”.

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