The seasonality of fruits, vegetables, nuts and fungi growing in the fields and mountains of Japan is fairly obvious to many of us who we are familiar with such places and foods.

The seasonality of the sea, however, remains relatively unknown even among the most serious food lovers. Despite having spent 28 years cooking in Japan, the most recent seven of them writing cookbooks, my education regarding the sea's bounty is still a work in progress. The fishmongers at my local fish market are my patient yet enthusiastic teachers, and under their tutelage my knowledge has grown exponentially.

Once the task of my husband, buying fish has become an exciting and eagerly anticipated endeavor. No longer lacking in confidence, I relish the opportunity to break down a squid to make shiokara or gut a fish to hang it out to dry. But even more than the sea's fauna, its flora enthrall me for their myriad shapes, flavors and textures.