Monday, 29 November 2010
I have eaten whale. It was delicious.
I did not know what it was until I had finished eating it, so I neither ask nor care for redemption. Through an alcoholic haze I asked my supervisor from the Kasukabe Board of Education what I had eaten, as one often does with unidentifiable swimmers. His answer, "鯨", took my brain a moment to process. Ahh... I see.
Wikipedia has a balanced page on the subject. The short version is: everyone is full of $#!+. The Japanese argument that the whale hunt is traditional, so they should be able to kill hundreds of whales anywhere on Earth by calling is 'research', is full of $#!+. The anti-Japanese argument that nobody should kill any whales at all is full of $#!+. If humans were not self-justifying liars devoid of meta-cognition we could have a reasonable discussion on the issue. Instead, I will imagine a rational entente between the Japanese government and their opponents. Do not wait for it to happen.
A Rational Whaling Entente
Japanese traditional whaling existed at a similar level to other maritime nations' whaling, which is to say it justifies a limited and local industry. Limited whaling by Inuit in N. America no more justifies factory whaling in the southern oceans than the traditional catch in Japan does. Scandinavian nations take a number of unendangered whales, so Japan will also limit itself to unendangered whales: meaningful penalties will accrue to corporations which kill endangered whales, even if 'by-catch'. Arguments against whaling based on sentience would also ban the consumption of other mammalian products, and possibly some cephalopod products: vegetarianism and veganism are 'red herrings'. It is well known that Japan has huge frozen stockpiles of whale meat, that cetacean protein is an irrelevant portion of the typical Japanese diet, and that the modern Japanese whaling industry could not survive without government subsidy. Thus the Japanese government is responsible in this way, and in vote-buying from other nations in the Whaling Treaty. That the structure of Japanese bureaucracy and the 'Amakudari system' perpetuate this idiocy is not a justification for behaving outside the norms of the international community.
Whatever. You want to know how it tastes. Think prime rib crossed with good tuna: mammalian, but pelagic. That was meat, such as in the picture. The blubber, or muktuk, is also sold, such as seen in the picture on this page. I have no idea what that is like, but it's sold as 'whale bacon' in my neighbourhood.