Saturday, 16 August 2014

Australians have chosen-part 1(オーストラリア人の選択に含まれぬ日本人 -第一回)


When I started this blog I had a vague idea that I might be moving out of Sydney, but I had not yet given up on my future in Australia.  After all I have invested a big part of my life trying to win their trust despite the racial difference.  However, over the course of my blogging journey I realized that the decision had already been made for me.  

Among the champions of anti-whaling are Australians, but not those to whom I had plucked up the courage to speak the truth about it, or at the very best the facts that had been revealed to me.  Contrary to general belief, whale meats are not considered delicacies in Japan.  It is poor men’s beef.  Apart from a very tiny part which may fetch a decent price, the rest of the whale is pungent, tough and inexpensive.  I know this because our family once fell on hard times and I had to be relocated to a public school where subsidized lunch was provided so that the students would not be undernourished.  To some children the school lunch is still the only source of their protein intake and this is where whale meats are regularly served.  There have been reports that some parents could not even pay up the cheap subsidized lunch fees to the school as an undeniable proof that poverty exists everywhere.  I remember choking on my first bite of the gamey meat but I was not alone.  One former Prime Minister made a slip of the tongue and revealed that he did not care for whale meat, much to dismay of his political party that needed to keep up the appearance of being on people’s side.  But this was a man who could afford the top class Wagu beef.  

A few year later my father’s fortune improved and I was back in a private school and back to the main stream that no longer knew how to prepare whale meat properly.  I cringe every time I hear the news of scientific research conducted on poor whales, but a section of people who were born into the whaling industry will find it difficult make a shift to other type of work due to structural nature of conservative Japanese society.  It might be possible, but the outcome would not be in their favour.  Therefore, the whalers will fight tooth and nail so they can keep providing for their children.  That is natural as parents and how can I condemn them knowing that whale meat has saved a poor section of Japan including my former class mates?  I cannot be indifferent towards the people who are worse off than me just because I got out of it for now.  It is sad but money talks in the real world.  The Norwegians, another whale consumers, that I have met reckoned that they are left alone because of their oil reserve which is coveted by European nations.  Is it true?  What do I know except that Japan is a vulnerable country with very little natural resources? 

Therefore it was a big relief to find that every Australians who listened to my dilemma reacted sympathetically.  They could also tell that I was an animal lover judging from the way cats and dogs warmed up to me.  I was hopeful of building a positive relationship with Australians.  However, anonymous postings on social media told quite a different story that entailed repetition of JAPs.  To be continued.

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  1. 私はずっと公立でしたが、鯨肉が給食にでたことはなかったなぁ。大人になって東京の居酒屋で食べた記憶があるので、珍味なのかと思っていました。捕鯨反対イルカ漁反対の運動、ドイツでも一時期話題になって、日本領事館への抗議やデモもありました。そういえばノルウェーやアイスランドに対してはあまり攻撃していなかったような。

  2. お久しぶりにお話できて嬉しいです。お察しの通り私は世代が上の人間ですから給食事情は違っていました。貧富の差が大きい地域という事もあったと思います。反捕鯨運動の効果、そしてバブルを経て世界中から美味、しかも高くない牛肉が輸入されるようになり需要が減ったのでしょうか?でなければ昨年報じられた倉庫で余っているクジラ肉の記事の説明がつきません。居酒屋で召し上がったクジラ肉は一頭から僅かだけとれる希少な部分の筈ですから珍味としてお値段も良かったかもしれません。反捕鯨派から見れば鯨のほとんどを捨てるだけの無意味な殺生を日本人がしてきたと誤解しているようなので自分が体験した事をいつかは書いておいてもよいかな?と思いました。