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David @ Tokyo

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".

David-san, as a New Zealander, shows nice comments after dropping in a sushi bar.Thank you.

Though there is so much to talk about whales at IWC or at meetings among nations ,I think there are little comments from Japanese citizens .

What is the whales to Japanese?
Please give me some space to talk about it.

To the Japanese middle-aged man like me,whales are nice meat;low fat,much protein and much nutrition.

Before the commercial whaling moratorium,the whale meat was of our daily food.

In those days,elementary school served school lunch for pupils.Whales were used for the lunch.Boys and girls enjoyed the fried whales ,tasted with soy-sauce,some sugar and Japanese liquor.(nowadays this lunch is back,promoted by our goverment)

As the supply of beef and pork was not enough, to some extent,Japanese families were obliged to eat whales.At supper, mother served whale steak or stew
once or twice a week,I would often say " This is not beef,I am fed up with whales !"

What I would like all people to know is the enough supply of beef does not mean we need not eat whales.Because actually whale meat is delicious. It gives us a lot of kinds of Japanese dishes- it is an important part of Japanese food culture.

We often hear GP Japan members say most of the Japanese do not eat whales.Disgrace indeed.

This is absolutely wrong.

Only 5000 memebers of the group
is releasing misinformation.
to gather donations.Very, Very minority.

Not we do not eat whales but we are disturbed by their dirty misinformation or the wrong news released by Anti-whaling countries.

Our basic understandings is we are harassed by anti-whaling countries
and Anti-whaling NGO.If we did not like to eat whales,Japan would already have abandoned whaling immediately.

What you don't seem to understand, David (and anonymous) in my particular support for anti-whaling on my blog of June 9, 2006 is that I don't have any objection with ones cultural heritage except where the "use", or abuse, of animals is concerned. Please don't be so upset at my anti-whaling position. I'm anti-meat! I'm anti-cruelty! I don't view ANY non-human species as a "stock" or "resource" to be "managed"! As a vegan for 10 years now I don't support any government or culture INCLUDING MY OWN if they condone the forced confinement and/or killing of innocent, sensient beings! And referring to Japan's "right" to kill for "research", to me there's a huge difference between being legally right and morally right!
(This posted on 4th Time's blog too)

OK, I fully respect that you oppose whaling on the basis of your belief in animal rights - I'm not upset about it at all :-)
The AR argument is the only "anti-whaling" argument I have ever seen that is remotely coherent and consistent, even though I disagree with the notion.

Still, I don't think that the Animal Rights movement will gain many new recruits if it's proponents go around:
- insulting the Chinese by comparing events of WWII to what is killing on a much smaller scale. More Chinese people were killed during WWII than whales during the entire history of whaling.
- describing nations that support the concept of sustainable use even when applied to animals as "rinky-dink" nations "of whores", as Paul Watson has done recently
- telling outright lies to the effect that whaling people wish to kill every last whale on the earth in order to make a quick short term profit (which is of course why the cow farmers slaughter their entire herd in a single season, to make money as fast as possible... Oh, wait....)
- resorting to violence

Even if these tactics do gain the AR movement new recruits, I'm not sure that they are the type of recruits that you would really be hoping for.

So I respect your opposition to whaling on AR grounds, but I still suggest that the AR movement should be able to do far far better than holding up Sea Shepherd as a becon to follow. Surely there must be groups that don't have to resort to racism, abuse, violence and lies to get the point across?

This was really what I was trying to suggest to you in my first comment.

> The mere terms are insulting to Nature!

I don't read so much into it, myself. As a supporter of the concept of sustainable use, I can tell you that to me "management", "stocks", and "resources" are simply words to describe how we humans wish to control our activities to ensure that the ecosystems around us can be conserved for future generations to benefit from, as we benefit from them today. Yes, what we are actually talking about is killing animals, blood will be spilt, although we aim to minimise the pain felt by the animals as much as possible. People who accept the concept of sustainable use have gotten past the fact that animal killing is involved, and use these terms to talk about how to ensure that the animal killing is *sustainable*. Sustainability is what us supporters of animal killing are aiming for, thus those words are used.

I can understand why AR-minded people find this offensive, but for people with a SU-mindset like myself, the focus is different to that of the AR movement.

> there are in fact other regulations Japan (and Norway) would be subject to and side-stepping to persue their goals!

There is no regulation that says that animals should not be killed under any circumstances, let alone for food, as far as I am aware. On the contrary, recent documents from the FAO seem to suggest the opposite. The world's human population is set to increase to something like 9 billion. This is the reality that we are facing here on our planet.
Were humans to go down the AR route in future, I thus have the following concerns:
- Will be enough vegetarian food available to feed 9 billion people?
- Will we have to destroy more natural habit (where animals live) to grow the stuff? Or should we be looking to ideas like this to completely solve the problem: http://www.highyieldconservation.org/ ? Will that be enough?
- Will people who live in remote, barren, icy parts of the world also have to eat vegetarian food instead of killing animals to obtain protein? If yes, how do we get the food to them? Or do we have to relocate them to places closer to where vegetarian food can be produced?

I must admit to not have having a detailed discussion with an AR-minded person on the topic for quite some time, so I'm a bit hazy on how this grand plan is supposed to play out.
Whatever our opinion is on Paul Watson, I think we should applaud him for not being a hypocrite since he is a vegan and not a common save the whales protesting person eating burgers and factory farmed products.

4th Time-san:

Just as David-san fully understands
your position,as I do.
That is your own opinion & position that nobody nobody is allowed to deny.Please,please have your own way.

As you are a vegetarian,I am a whale-eater.I, as a Japanese, have the right to eat whales because there are a large number of
people eating them in the world.
Under the authorization of IWC,
with our much power of both high technology and investment,Japan is responsible for the research of whales.

Some say it is not research.
But it is mistaken.or misled by
Anti-whaling NGO - I firmly believe.Note this.

You also have the right to
eat whales,unfortunatelly you
reject it with your decision.
Your own choice.

And you should look at the fact
so many animals are killed for food even a day.In order to let Japan stop whaling,to target the whales only is very unfair.

So do not disturb our behavior
any more,please.


I suppose you are a normal

You should NOT support the
The world regards him a

Think with commonsense.

I love discussing issues with people with different views than myself. I have had many discussions on whaling with Norwegian people. Mostly they are very friendly but last summer I met this guy who really hated Greenpeace, no, he hated Sea Shepherd even more. We had a very hot conversation!

Personally I am an animal lover , maybe some AR people won't call me that since I eat moose and reindeer meat( wild animal meat). I won't never touch factory farmed animal products, factory farming is the worst animal abuse I know much worse than whaling.

In my opinion AR activist should work more on issues dealing with small-scale organic farming, can't see something wrong with that, humans unfortunately are meat eaters.

On the whaling issue in my opinion it is sad for the whales and particularly for other animals that some people regard whales more worthy than other animals, this undermines the whole animal welfare movement. I love the whales but I love the cows as well!!


Unfortunately, I can't bring myself to applaud Paul Watson. Whether he is a vegan or not, it is clear that he is also a racist, a liar, and a violent person. For that he loses all his brownie points. For all the bad things he does, he would have to save a drowning baby (or an equivalent good deed) before I would applaud him. While you and I disagree on some things, you Ann, are a far far better person than Paul Watson.

I'm with you on the factory farming thing though. I'd rather eat free range animals than animals that lived their whole lives, penned up - their sole purpose to feed us.

> On the whaling issue in my opinion it is sad for the whales and particularly for other animals that some people regard whales more worthy than other animals

Yes, I have the same discomfort with such thinking.

>Personally I am an animal lover.

This is very nice.
To love animals is wonderful.
This is also a commonsense in the world.You should be proud of it!
In this point,I share the same feeling with each other.

But Ann-san,to love animal is one
thing, to applaud Paul Watson is
quite another.As a Japanese,I have the very mixed feeling if you are on his sides.

There is no country supporting
his his crazy behavior,though I do not know if there is someone who personally gives donation to him.

As David-san sometimes shows us,
Watson is sometimes arrested by
polices of Norway and Canada.
His members were also arrested by Japanese police in Taiji.

He is a terrorist.
To applaud the crazy guy means
the lost of your prides as an
animal lover.

I ask you not to do so.

Y/H and David,
I don't support terrorist acts, I'm a very peaceful person, I think you both have misunderstood me a bit;) . I just pointed out that the man isn't a hypocrite. I'm an animal lover but I think the violence that some AR groups are involved in are totally counterproductive, I'm a supporter of a peaceful dialogue.

In Sweden some insane AR groups are releasing fur animals into the wild, but this is just causing harm to the environment since the freed minks don't belong to our ecosystem and are destroying other animal's habitats.
And after reading David's and your comments on whaling I think I have got some useful information on how the Japanese look at the whaling issue.

Mmm, well, it seemed to me that you are trying to defend at least some aspects of Paul Watson's character. I think he is a dead loss, given his overt racism and lies alone :-)

I think all anti-whaling should openly spurn this dangerous clown. Ideally he should be prevented from taking to the seas, by somebody. If there isn't a law that can be used to prevent such people from their dangerous acts, there should be.
> And after reading David's and your comments on whaling I think I have got some useful information on how the Japanese look at the whaling issue.

Thank you, Ann!

Feedback such as this makes writing a blog worth while.

I don't expect that people who are against whaling will come to support the activity, but at the very least I hope that as time goes by, people who are against whaling can at least accurately understand where Japan is coming from.

There can never be a conclusion to the debate on the issue while one side has a misconceptions about the thoughts of the other.

It's a shame, but I really feel that the western public isn't served well by the media on this issue. A nice thing about blogs is that individuals can step in where the mainstream media has failed to meet it's responsibilites.
Regarding this Watson guy I have to mention also that he seems to hate Greenpeace as much as the Japanese, and he is really a nutcase boasting that he is the most hated man in Norway!!!

Well, he did quit Greenpeace because they weren't violent enough for his pleasing.

It's interesting really, because on the other hand Dr. Patrick Moore left Greenpeace, saying that they had left their environmental roots, prefering confrontation to cooperation.

"The Canadian left Greenpeace because he said the organisation had abandoned its environmental foundation, campaigning instead on issues like globalisation."

You can tell that I like Patrick Moore and have lots of time for him :-)
Another interesting intiative from him here:
Eugene Lapointe (who I know you don't think much of) was also invovled here.

I am glad to talk with you
because this talk is constructive to some extent.

Genarelly speaking,anti-whaling people tend to become emotional.
It is very difficult for us to understand how they feel- I mean,they seldom appeal with their own honest words.

In real,at Japanese BBS on whalings ,anti-whaling NGO persons
with some tactics,are releasing their propaganda,confusing pro-whaling people.They are really hypocrite.There is no honesty
in their behavior.

I respect your position as an animal lover because I know you write with your own words as an Sweden citizen.At least,you are more honest than pumpkinheads seen in Japanese BBS.

But,as David-san points out,I sincerely suggest you should not refer to Paul Watson to appeal your
positions as an animal lover.

Paul Watson is a criminal.
All he has to do is to go to jail for himself,not to public roads.

Ann-san,please look into David-san's comments carefully as to his criminal history.

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