Report from Taiji: December 28
A trainer sprays iodine on the tummy of a dolphinIt seems too good to be true that eight days have passed since the dolphin hunters have seen their banger boats. It’s been very quiet around Taiji this past week and I imagine some of the fishermen have left town to spend time with family outside the Wakayama Prefecture. However, Mr. Private Space is still hanging around the Fishermen’s Union biding his time until he can kill again. This morning, his ever-present cell phone, complete with a little dangling charm, was perched in front of his face like usual. I wonder who he spends so much time talking to and texting with. It’s a bit strange to think that these men can text. We perceive them as hideous barbarians that have no education and absolutely no personal skills. Yet there’s someone out there that cares enough about Private Space to text him all the daylong.
We like to think of the Japanese people as uneducated and uninformed but stop and think about where the majority of your electronics come from and this perception is no longer the reality. I’m a professional photographer and the equipment that I use on a daily basis back home in the United States comes from the country that I am calling home for the next three months. Where would I be if the studio I work in wasn’t complete with a Canon Mark 1DS, lenses, filters, and all of the necessary accessories that are involved in being a professional? If the United States alone boycotted Japan, where would that leave us? According to my online research, a few of the major items that the United States imports from Japan each year include cars, yellow corn, penicillin, and artificial human body parts. Consider the products you use in your daily life and take time to find out where they come from. What you discover might surprise you. Some of the top Japanese companies are staples in the typical American lifestyle such as Nintendo, Casio, Canon, Nikon, Epson, Sony, Bridgestone, Honda, Nissan, and Subaru. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where no one is truly considered a local until they drive a Subaru, a car imported from the country that kills dolphins.
A barbaric statue
welcomes visitors to the
Whale MuseumWhile I can see the potential, I’m personally torn on the issue of boycotting. It would be like telling Americans to stop shopping at Walmart, it seems like too much to ask. On the other hand, we have the power to effect enormous change. If consumers as a whole were willing to make small personal sacrifices by determining which companies they will support and adapting their buying habits, it is quite possible that such mass public pressure on Japan could once and for all stop this madness. The most important thing anyone can do, boycott or not, is to become a conscious consumer. Be aware of what you’re purchasing, where it comes from, and what toxins may be inherent in the products you buy.
Here is your opportunity to become a Cove Guardian. To join us in Taiji (voluntarily, and completely at your own cost and risk), write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back to you, but please be patient. We cannot keep an eye on the Cove and answer e-mails at the same time. Contributions to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to keep our official presence here are needed and welcome. These contributions cover the costs for transport, telephone, equipment, supplies, food, and lodging for the official Sea Shepherd representative. We will remain here through the end of March and will return for the next season in September 2011.
Thank you to the citizens of Japan who are weighing these issues and beginning to take a stand to solve them. Thank you to everyone who is on the frontlines of this war. This is a war to save ourselves from ourselves. Without your calling and writing Japanese embassies and your own governments, there will be no change. Keep it up! Every time dolphins are pushed into the Cove, let them have it. Every time there is blood in the water, let them have it. Make good consumer choices. Inform everyone you know about the tragedy here and how it is linked to the captive dolphin trade. All who patronize a dolphin show have blood on their hands.
For the dolphins,
Dolphins perform in their holding pens at
Nicole, who will be assisting me during the next three months, will share her experiences while in Taiji on her blog.
Rupert Imhoff, who is also assisting with this campaign, has started a YouTube channel of video taken during his time in Taiji.