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Appetite for eel surges on Day of the Ox

The Yomiuri Shimbun

A chef grills eels in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, on Saturday.

The Yomiuri Shimbun Unagi eel restaurants across the country were filled with diners on Saturday, the “Day of the Ox,” when it is popular to eat grilled eel to help people survive the heat and humidity of summer.

In Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, customers lined up at the Shibuya Matsukawa eel restaurant before its opening at 11 a.m.

On the day, the restaurant prepared about 1,000 servings of domestic eel from Shizuoka prefecture, among other areas — about four times the amount usually served. The restaurant’s chefs started preapring eels from around 6 a.m.

In recent years, wholesale prices of eels have remained high due to poor catches of juvenile glass eels, stoking concerns that the popularity of unagi dishes may decline.

A 78-year-old man who visits the restaurant every year on the day said, “It is an annual luxury. I want to survive the hot summer by eating a delicious eel dish.”Speech

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