The town of Taiji in Wakayama prefecture is conducting another dolphin hunt, and the animal rights activists are sending out press releases to the international media. Once again, we see headlines about the dolphin “slaughter,” and calls for protests against Japan.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy has joined those who are speaking out against the dolphin hunt. How did she get her message out?
She didn’t call a press conference and tell the Japanese media. Instead, she used Twitter. It was posted in both English and Japanese.
Her expression of “concern” appears to be based on the “inhumanity” of the method used to hunt the dolphins. In pointing out the U.S. government’s opposition to that method of hunting, she might leave some readers think that America might support the hunts if they used a more “humane” method. In fact, the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 effectively outlaws the hunting of marine mammals in America, regardless of the method used to kill the animals. It doesn’t make any distinction between endangered an un-endangered species of dolphin: it is simply illegal to kill them. It is also illegal for Americans import whale meat that was obtained through Japan’s IWC-sanctioned hunts.
It would be better if dolphins could be killed in a quicker way that didn’t cause as much pain and suffering. But the adoption of a more “humane” method would probably have little effect on foreign opposition to dolphin hunts. It all seems to come down to a cultural view that dolphins are super special animals that should not be hunted.
On February 23rd, the city of Mito held its 12th annual Natto eating contest. Speed eaters tried to finish a bowl of fermented soybeans as quickly as possible. The bowls contained no rice. Contestants were allowed to drink water.
The 62-year-old woman in these videos came from Oita prefecture to visit her kids, and ended up competing in the contest. She won by downing a 210 gram bowl of natto in 48.67 seconds:
The winner of the male section, a 26-year-old Ibaraki native, won by downing 350 grams of natto in just 22.08 seconds.
Volunteers wrapped nori around about 1.1 tons of vinegared rice, carrots, and shiitake mushrooms to create the massive roll. It was then sliced and served to about 2,000 people.
The roll was 21 meters long, approximately the same length of 40 cm/45 Type 94 naval gun of the famous battleship Yamato, which was laid down at the Kure Naval Arsenal in 1937. The roll had a diameter of 31 centimeters, making it not quite as wide as the Yamato’s gun. The Yamato museum is one of Kure’s main tourist attractions.
Here’s some good news for farmers in Fukushima prefecture. Thailand will be selling peaches from Fukushima:
After the March 11th disaster, many countries banned agricultural imports from Fukushima. Thailand is the first country to accept them again.
The peaches are grown in Date, about 60 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Tests found them to be free of radioactive contamination.