Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
Lately I started frequenting a bar a few minutes walk down the road from my apartment. The customers there are pretty much all regulars, but the staff are super friendly, so even though I've only been there 4 or so times I feel like I'm a regular too now.
Anyhow, one of the regulars is a sushi chef who runs a small restaurant a 30 or so metres further down the road. He pops along to the bar for a drink of shochuu (Japanese spirits) or awamori (Okinawan spirits) after his restaurant closes each evening. I am a big sushi fan now after living here in Tokyo for 3 years, so after hearing the bar staff recommend the restaurant, I dropped in this evening after a work out at the gym.
Aaaah! Beer is a fine thing after a quick 5 km run! But the sushi... oh, the sushi was fantastic. I've not been to that many good quality sushi restaurants, and this is probably the classiest place I've been to. The menu had quite a range of options, depending on how much you are looking to spend. Being my first time, I went mid-range and ordered a "chuu-chirashi" - medium grade fish basically, piled on top of rice. Doesn't it look fabulous?
I had a brief chat with the chef about whether he had any whale meat on the menu.
"Whale meat... no we don't have any today. Can you eat it?"
"Everything in Japan is new once, so I've come to be able to eat anything".
I mentioned that despite being a New Zealander I was quite comfortable with Japan's stance on the issue.
"The western media tells people in my country that you Japanese want whale meat so much that you're prepared to drive the whales to extinction."
This put a smile on the chef's face, and drew a laugh.
"Extinction?! How do they think we would we get any whale meat if we were to kill them all off?"
"That's right! That's what I always say", I told him.
"It's like everything," the chef agreed, "there is no issue so long as we take everything in moderation".