In the not too distant future, people around the world WILL be eating whale meat.
When you check the total volume of water required to maintain farming globally there is no possible way to produce enough animal protein. Vegetarianism, organic, well that concept will be a dream for most, a luxury for the few.
Imagining the future, I can see certain people, who used to rant and rave about anti this and anti that, dining guiltily on “whale of the day” specials at restaurants. But more likely whale protein will come in the shape of pills or a powder.
On this issue I don’t like whaling. I can probably make up some elaborate logic to back up my statement, but in the reasoning behind it all, there is none. I simply prefer to see whales and dolphins swimming in the sea, rather than lying on my plate. Whales and dolphins understand play and quite happily swim along side boats just for the fun of it. They are living, thinking mammals.
Hold that nod and smile. On the other hand, I find the Sea Shephard group with their “heroic” stunts as incredibly tasteless actions.
In 2007 I wrote about Japanese “whaling research” in my Japanese blog,
The reason why I wrote that was while I was staying in Melbourne earlier that year there was a boat anchored, impounded actually, at Docklands. It was the Sea Shephard and they were inviting the public onto the boat. I researched about whaling and Japan and discovered some surprising tendencies.
The first thing that struck me was that most Japanese don’t eat whale meat. Japan consists of so many regions, which were originally independent countries, each with their own delicacies. I learned that whale meat was eaten in several regions but was not the norm.
Then, why the hell are they so crazy about whaling?” I wondered.
On December 26th, 2007, my post about whaling didn’t attract that many people. (Because of malicious attacks that happened a few months after writing this I removed the post.) There were something like only 400 views per day then. My blog was originally about English version PC games explaining the backgrounds of games and so on. The population of English gamers is small in Japan because of the language barrier. Anyway I tried talking about whaling to my Japanese friends back in 2006 too. Back then I didn’t know anything about it, but I noticed that Japanese naturally believed that the anti-whaling sentiment was a form of racism against Japanese. That simply wasn’t true. My Japanese friends drank heavily, usually made silly jokes and laughed so hard they fell off their stools in restaurants. Whaling wasn’t high priority in conversation. They would just say, “we don’t eat whale meat here any more.”
Japan as a country is being swindled by its own government employees. Everyone is party to this. Japan is the epitome of east Asian countries, with its corrupt government. Let me give you an example, arriving at Narita airport if you take the Limousine Bus to your hotel you pass through a toll gate. There is a sign saying US$20* one way.(Using US currency to make it easier to calculate. You’re welcome.) US$20 for thirty miles. If you glance back at the toll booths you will see teams of six people working. One of my Japanese friends found out an interesting fact about these toll booths and told me that there is a law which allows each team leader to earn US$70,000 per annum. They make elaborate systems to pocket tax money “legally” or they set up positions for themselves in three or four associations in one area such as “Trucking Association,” the “Truck Safety Association” and the “Truck Delivery Association.” The employees of these booths are retired government workers made up from these associations. These entities are 100% owned by the government. They do not give a damn about their own people. Government employees view Japan as their cash cow.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, doesn’t have as many lucrative avenues to pursue in creating extra budget, profits or bonuses as other ministries in Japan. In this sense it is the poor cousin to the other ministries. But one of their most profitable income resources is, I think you know by now, whaling. They will protect that at all cost.
The Japanese tripped themselves up in their own dishonesty in the name of “whaling research.” They should have argued with the International Whaling Committee (IWC) countries with reason instead of lies. Probably the best strategy would have been to stop deep sea whaling completely when the anti-whaling countries came up with the proposal of coastal whaling. Japanese didn’t go for that. Instead they declared “we reserve the right to catch whales for scientific research. We are doing nothing wrong.”
If the Japanese keep going on about their right to hunt whales, researchers, will probably start leaking the secrets of what the ministry are doing. For example, somewhere in the Pacific Ocean there is a giant fishing net floating on the surface, a runaway net. It is trapping everything in its path, dolphins, and other sea life. This net was made to catch tuna in a more efficient way, but the plan didn’t work. Even now, it keeps on killing. Then there are the mysterious Japanese government “unofficial” officials scattered about the Pacific Islands, just what they do is a mystery.
Whaling versus anti-whaling rallies are more harmful to Japanese than anything else. Japanese twist the issue into a form of racism against them and then lash out. One small department in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is successfully painting Japan as an aroggant whale hating nation. If that was their intention, they were very successful. Their intention was to maintain a budget to keep their department going but at the colossal expense of hateful backlash of a nation, this does not make up for the small monetary gain of a minor department.
Oishinbo is a multi-million selling gourmet manga series in Japan written by Tetsu Kariya who lives in Sydney. The manga is drawn by Akira Hanasaki. The manga is all about food and it’s actually quite good. I have read probably about 40 out of the 102 volumes. Most of what Japanese say about whaling is a parrotted copy of what the hero, Yamaoka, says in this manga. Yamaoka goes on about how the “Western people” try to humiliate the Japanese eating habits. The “Western” characters in the manga enjoy calling Japanese names and saying things like, “I’m protecting the whales and the dolphins from you yellow monkeys.” This particular manga in the series appeared 20 years ago. In the manga it shows how eating whale meat is unique to the Japanese cuisine. Whereas in actual fact according to history the tradition of eating whale meat died off in the early Showa era, the 1920s. Modern whaling which most Japanese consider traditional started as late as in 1946 just after the Pacific war under the strong “advice” of American GHQ of the Allied Occupation of Japan to supply protein to the Japanese people. Japanese were starving and whale meat was the easiest source of protein for the masses.
In an email from a very nice young Japanese primary school boy, he asks me, “Why did Australians chose the leader of Sea Shephard as their Prime Minister? Do they really hate us that much?” Oh my friend you are very much misinformed or confused. Though I should admit Mr. Rudd does act like one. I reply to the lad. I have to tell him that most Australians, New Zealanders, and Americans want to be friends with Japan. People are trying to understand the Japanese. Trying to understand the differences is so hard. We just don’t want to see our other friends being slaughtered for nothing in the name of scientific research.