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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



Hakodate food festival

Here's another English translation of a Japanese article from Brain News Network, a site running out of Hokkaido (Japan's northern most main island). This story is actually from October 2, 2006, but I only just found it recently:
Licking lips over "Gagome Kelp noodles" and "Barbecued whale" - Food Stuffs Genki Festival opens in Hakodate

10/02 (Monday) 24:00

On the 1st, the "7th Food Stuffs Genki Matsuri" was opened, and bustled with many city residents keen to get their hands on local food items.

The "Food Stuffs Genki Festival" is conducted by 8 food stuffs producers and industry groups, which make up a council for the invigoration of the Hakodate regions foodstuffs trade. Each group carefully selected the very best of their products to the event, selling them on the spot.

Appropriately for such an event held in Hakodate, where whales are hauled and landed, many whale based products were on offer. The freshly fried whale meat croquettes on sale were so popular that it couldn't be fried quickly enough to keep pace. Also, whale bacon priced at 1,000 yen per 100 grams - half the usual price - sold like hot cakes.

Also, the southern Hokkaido speciality product of udon noodles using gagome kelp, popular for it's healthiness, was available for taste testing at 100 yen a bowl. The event visitors formed a line to make their purchases, and slurped up the light green coloured noodles with lumps of kelp.

At the ceremony held ahead of the opening, Hakodate Mayor, Hiroshi Inoue greeted the event. "This event is a collection of not only marine products, but also agricultural products, and is being held to bring out the energy of Hakodate. Together lets steadily put our powers together and keep Hakodate lively."

One visitor to the event said, "It's good be able to see such a variety of locally made products. The prices are cheap, and I hope there are more such opportunities as this in future as well"
If I'm translating that correctly, it was 1,000 yen for 100 grams of whale bacon, not 500 yen for a 100 grams - either way, it's still kind of expensive if you ask me.

Anyway, this event is similar to that which was held recently in Ishinomaki. During my New Year holiday I also visited a local producers event in Matsuyama, Ehime prefecture. There was no whale there, although some whale meat products are on sale at Matsuyama airport. Kochi profecture, on the other side of Ehime, apparently had whaling operations working in Tosa bay in the past, and this was where the souvenir product was from. These days some fisheries operators in the Tosa area conduct whale watching operations during the warmer months of the year. The product on sale at the airport was made from a smaller cetacean species, the harvest of which is managed by the Japanese government.

The e-kujira site has news from the 6th festival in Hakodate.

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