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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



Kujira kushiage

A 19 year old staff member at my favourite local bar recently recommended me another local establishment - a kushiage (deep fried goodies on a skewer) joint about 5 or so minutes further down the road. I didn't remember ever eating at a kushiage restaurant before, so was keen to give it a try.

Other bar patrons apparently visit this joint quite regularly, and a couple of Friday night's ago, another regular, Shima-chan was also up for it so we trotted off down the street to have ourselves a feed. When we arrived inside I found the place half occupied by what looked to be uni student age people maybe in their very early 20's. Maybe seating for 20-25 people in all. Very much a young person's establishment, in the same mold as much of the rest of this town. Still in our 20's ourselves, we weren't too out of place, and Shima-chan knows the guy who was running the place on the night, being a regular here as well.

One of the items on the menu was (oh you guessed it!) "whale". Pictured here with hand-drawn graphic and all, selling like pretty much everything else - cheap at 150 yen - this joint is likely priced at the student market I figure.
There was no sign of the Japanese nationalism that is apparently supposed to be behind the urge to eat whale meat amongst this crowd. At kujira-ya in Shibuya, where they have what seems to be pretty classy whale meat cuisine, you usually find yourself sitting across from Japanese who look rather well-to-do, with fewer younger people. There's probably a level of truth in what they say about the younger generation not having developed the same taste for the meat as their parents, but I wonder how much the role of price plays here.

Anyway, back at the kushiage joint, I tried several items on the menu including the whale (which didn't really taste like the whale I have had before), and found the menu on the whole wasn't much to my liking - but when you're paying 150 yen per item I figure that's to be expected.

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