Report from Taiji: January 16
A craftsman shows Nicole and Nao his wares at the marketI love good days in Japan, and today was a very good day. The banger boats again stayed in harbor due to gale winds. The weather has turned bitterly cold, with the winds making it nearly unbearable, and as I type this, the walls of the hotel sound as if they will be torn from the frame at any moment. In these freezing cold high winds, snowflakes twist and turn as they find their way to the ground and I still can’t quite believe that I am watching it snow in Japan.
We have an amazing Japanese girl with us at the moment named Nao and today she introduced Nicole and me to all things Japan. After spending some time at the Taiji harbor, ensuring that the dolphin hunters were definitely not going out today, we headed to the Katsuura market. I would say that it is similar to a farmers market but that would be misleading. This was definitely a fish market. The smell of fish was overpowering and each little booth was cooking up a different type of fish. There was only one craft booth, complete with the sweetest elderly man and his handmade bamboo trinkets.
Food is cooked for locals at the Sunday marketAfter the market, we went to an arcade that bombarded your senses with loud noises, bright colors and all types of flashing lights and spinning signs. Nao showed us a typical Japanese photo booth and I really don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it before. This photo booth could probably conquer the world if it had a desire to. To start, it was almost the size of my hotel room and had lights and screens everywhere. The entire back wall was a green screen and the choice of backgrounds was astounding. There were two additional screens with pens that you used to draw on the photos with. That strip of photos will be one that I cherish forever.
A mid-afternoon trip to the grocery store proved to be very educational and the Cove Guardians were happy to now be able to expand a bit on the food we consume. Not being able to read packaging makes shopping very difficult, so we stick to things we are familiar with; white bread with peanut butter several times a day every day gets old very fast.
We are hopeful that the weather will continue to worsen, the banger boats will continue to stay in harbor and the dolphins will be left to peacefully migrate past the shores of Japan.
Spread the word. Raise awareness. Speak out.
Dolphin Base: From the United States, dial 81-0735-59-3514 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com. 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,
|A swordfish sits on ice at the Katsuura
|Squid dry in the sun at the fish market
Nicole, who will be assisting me during the next three months, will share her experiences while in Taiji on her blog.