As the great Mark Twain once said, “Go to heaven for the weather, Hell for the company.” So at least I will be in good company. You see last night I ate whale. We went to a conveyer belt sushi restaurant in Daito. As an aside the name of this place is, “Let’s Fugu Sushi Time”. It was really very delicious. As I was feasting on the usual treats of tuna, salmon, fishes I don’t know their names but looked good, along came a plate that Dan identified as “whale” I ordered him to grab it so Anna and I could eat it! (Add Katie to the list of people going to Hell for whale consumption)
Whaling for consumption purposes is internationally illegal. Japan gets around that by killing a certain number of whales a year for “scientific” purposes (you can kill so many a year for science, because biologists value life so much they have to kill). After the science is all done, Japan sells the carcasses to be eaten. I don’t know how to feel about this. For one thing whale has been a traditional item eaten by the Japanese for thousands of years. Whaling for food is what not made the whale so endangered. That was caused by the West’s acquisition of whale oil and bones. I find it annoying that the problem is largely due to the West, and now the West forces other nations to suffer for its mistake. But at the same time, it is a problem. Regardless of who “started it” whales are a highly endangered. They are also a highly intelligent species that countries probably shouldn’t go around killing. So it is probably wrong that I ate whale, but I don’t plan on making a habit out of it. Besides, like the whale’s death, I ate it FOR SCIENCE!
Whale tastes a bit like good tuna. It is really dark red, a good texture, not a fish taste at all. I can’t say it was particularly good though. That’s the big reason why you probably shouldn’t kill whales. If they tasted delicious, like mind bending good, then it would be tougher. But whale isn’t super. It is good, but it isn’t super. I preferred the tempora bamboo sushi. I will pass on whale next time I see it. My curiosity has been satisfied, and it wasn’t that great.
The next item we ate, which again I am not sure why it is a delicacy, is fugu. Fugu is the blowfish that if it is prepared wrong will kill you. The liver (of the males) and ovaries (guess which sex those come from) have a toxin that will do you in. Dan told us that if you feel your mouth going numb you should drink a lot of soy sauce to induce vomiting. Of course being a hypochondriac I instantly felt my mouth going numb, so I bit my tongue to make sure. We had our futu deep fried. It wasn’t very good. Pretty standard fish, really. I am not sure why ancient Japanese people ate some fugu, saw a few guys die from it and thought, “That’s too bad. But gosh darn it this is so good it is worth the risk!” Because it just isn’t that tasty, it certainly isn’t a delicacy. Now maybe deep fried is not the real medium in which to bring out fugu’s taste. But I think that it just isn’t that great a fish.
Now here’s a note to my parents: who are, no doubt, frantically calling to tell me to never eat fugu again. The risks are very slim. Most of the cases are from people that prepare the fish by themselves. All stores that prepare fugu have to have periodic checks and all chefs have to get recertified to prepare it. You are more likely to choke on a bone or be stung by a bee and die than die of fugu poisoning. But, like whale, I think this will be my one and only fugu experience. Not because of fear for my own life, or fear for the life of another intelligent creature, but simply I prefer things that are tasty!