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Monday, December 27, 2010

Hanging with Taiji locals

I am second from left.  Hanging with locals from Taiji and Kii-Katsuura!

Some residents in Taiji and the surrounding area put their guard up when they see Westeners. Perhaps they have had some activists here who have behaved very aggressively over the dolphin drive issue. It is horrifying what happens here...but controlling one's anger and channeling it in a constructive way is perhaps a better approach; so that we do not alienate local people who are also against the slaughter. The community is tangled up in a very messy issue and to help the dolphins I think it is important to be sensitive to the local people as well; the people and the dolphins are interconnected. In the future, (I prefer to be optimistic) many dolphins are going to have depend upon the goodwill of the people of this community, not on the few of us who come and go.

Last night I met up with some local friends. We went to a popular restaurant in town for dinner....I always ate here last year as they made me feel at home and at one point, they were the only restaurant in town who would serve me.

As soon as we entered, everyone turned to look our way...was hoping to go unnoticed....but as soon as I whisper anything in English, all heads turn.

As we looked at the menu (I pretended to not read Japanese) my friend's husband looked at me deeply, slightly smiling, trying to find his English words. Our table of four waited for him to speak...he then blurted out "do you like whale meat?". My jaw dropped in disbelief that he was asking me such a thing! I may as well been shot in the heart with my expression on being asked such a thing. Not sure if his wife mentioned my position on this.   Or if he was amusing himself with my feelings on this issue..however, his wife became very upset with him....expressing very loudly that she was not impressed with his behaviour. This caused a little stir in the restaurant  and the restaurant owners threw over a glance of concern. To have my friend speak up for all to hear against eating whale meat in a Taiji restaurant made me very proud of her.

We then went on to order a bounty of vegetarian dishes which were sumptuously delicious. Before leaving the restaurant, the owners chatted with our group and my friend translated that the son of the restaurant owner said that " he remembers you from last year and that you are invited back anytime...and that he will prepare for you many vegetarian dishes". 

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