Recently, seeing an episode of the Japanese series Shinya Shokudo (Late Night Diner) brought back some wonderful memories for me. Having grown up in Japan, my comfort foods were never grilled cheese sandwiches and blue-box macn'cheese. They were the simple foods that my mother made for me, including somewhere deep in the memory, katsuobushi on rice. The movie characters call this nekomanma - cat food, although I don't recall ever having called it that. I do remember that this was something my grandmother often prepared for me, perhaps more than my mom. That's why I have the immediate association with the old thatched roof house in Yokosuka, by the rice paddies.
Today, I buy the katsuobushi already shaved in large plastic bags. But I kept the old plane and box that is used to shave the dried hard whole bonito. I know that you can get the fish by mail order from specialty shops, but I've been too lazy. The high quality stuff in the bags works just fine for 99% of the foods I use it for. But for katsuobushi on hot rice with shoyu... well, I think I'm going to have to get the whole dried bonito!
Here's a link to the video segment from the series. Sorry, no dubs/subs, but that smile says it all: