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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



Noge "Whale Row" in Asahi news

Tena koutou again,

Isanatori let me know about this article here in the Asahi's Kanagawa edition, covering latest developments with regard to this project. (I wrote a bit about it before here.)

Visit the original page to check out the picture of the juicy whale cutlets, but here's a summary of the story:

- A group of shops situated in the Noge area in Yokohama city is working on a project to promote their district with whale cuisine.
- The "Whale Map" which was being prepared is now completed.
- A total of 30 restaurants are participating, with traditional menu items such as bacon and cutlets being served in izakayas and western style eateries, and sushi shops and cafes have introduced new recipes for their menus.
- The participating shops have also secured a bulk distribution route for good quality whale meat.

The article covers the background of the story (see here), some of the new recipes being created, etc.

However, Masanobu Tai (53) who is a member of the co-operative notes that "the biggest problem was securing whale meat". "Commercial whaling was put on hold in 1987 ... ", the article continues, "... leaving only research whaling left. Domestic whale meat supply, which peaked in 1962 at 220,000 tons, had decreased to 4,000 tons in 2007 (Fisheries Agency figures). Whale bacon too became a luxury, and not often seen at the dinner table."

The article says that until now apparently around 50 shops had been serving whale cuisine on their menus. "Each restaurant was ordering in whale meat independently, however this time a new bulk supply route has been secured. The town has made a framework for serving whale."

Mr. Tai was surprised that they were able to muster 30 shops to join the co-operative. The article elucidates that "whale meat that the co-operative orders in is frozen at sea, and isn't thawed out until it reaches each shop. At around 4,000 yen per kilogram, it costs about twice the market price, but compared with whale meat that is thawed out during it's path through the distribution chain, the meat is said to have much less smell, and better flavour."

As for the "Whale Map", it is set to be laid out at main Keikyu train line stations from the end of this month. Restaurants that are featured in the map will all share a common logo. And they have plans to hold a cooking contest at the Noge district's annual "Daidogei" event.

* * *

Good luck to them!

Pictured are a couple of dishes some friends and I enjoyed at an unrelated Shinjuku restaurant (Hatsumomiji) back in March this year.

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There is such a wide variety of whale servings.. It can get confusing sometimes for non Japanese.. What would you recommend for a memorable whale experience?
What would I recommend ... a little bit of everything!

Seriously though, it all comes down to the individual.
Enjoy it while you can.
The sea shepherd will cripple the commercial whaling industry within the next few years.
Good luck to them.
Oh look a Sea Sheep groupie.
Must be a young'un; he hasn't yet figured out this has been going on a looong time.

Watson will die and people will still be munching on whales.
Plus ca change and all that.
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