Bring back vigor to "Whale Row"This is how the headline from the article dated 2009/02/05 reads.
Restaurants in Noge district, Yokohama city aim to create a speciality with new menu development
In Noge district of Yokohama city's Naka ward, there is an area lined with restaurants for common people, and there the restaurants are cooperating together in an effort to create a guide map and new menu items. Noge became lively after the end of WWII when a "Whale Row" of restaurants serving whale meat formed there. The restaurant operators there today are looking to liven up the area once more with whale.
The Whale Row was located in the vicinity of Sakura River New Road, in front of the JR rail station of Sakuragicho. The New Road was made by filling in the river there. In those days, the riverside was packed with restaurants selling whale cutlets and so forth, and the air was thick with the smell of cooking whale meat. Supposedly it was packed with people as at that time of food shortages whale was a precious source of protein. But with the filling in of the river, the "row" disappeared, and the increase in diversity of food, along with the banning of commercial whaling for resource conservation [says the article], shops dealing in whale dwindled.
The arrival of the Black Ships [of Commodore Perry] led to the opening of Yokohama port 150 years ago in June, and this event is regarded as resulting in the USA choosing to establish Japan as it's base for reprovisioning it's whaling vessels. With that historical background, last year 9 shops developed speciality menus such as gyoza and Japanese style curry using whale meat. In a taste testing event these items were popular, and as such the "Noge Restaurant Association" decided to expand the menus through the whole area.
According to the plan, a "Noge whale map" illustrating all the restaurants in the area with whale cuisine will be produced by April. With whale meat limited in distribution volume, the association aims to purchase whale meat on behalf of all shops, so as to ensure whale is available at cheap prices with stable supply.
On January 30, a whale meat taste testing event and cooking lecture were held. The article quotes a Mitsuo Ono (69) who runs a sushi restaurant as saying, "I think I'll use the red meat for nigiri (hand-rolled sushi) at my shop". The head of the association, Masanobu Tai (53) is quoted saying "There are people who are against whaling, but whale cuisine is Japan's precious food culture. I hope that we'll be having people say 'Let's go to Noge, and eat whale'".Noge has a web page with more information about the plan and the recent cooking event (in Japanese) at the link below:
June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 January 2010 February 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 February 2011 March 2011 May 2013 June 2013