Monday, May 25, 2009

The Significance of The Fish

I did a little thinking today about that tuna. I pondered how long it must have lived and how good it must have become at feeding on smaller fish. I wondered how many lines it had been on the end of - and broken off - before it met its end with a rope tied to a boat.

Then I went to the significance of the fish to Zamami.

Last night, after the party ended past 11pm, the fisherman reboarded his boat and took off for Naha. When you've got a fish that big you want to get it to market as soon as possible. So this morning it was officially weighed in at 257 kilograms, or 567 pounds. Today it was on a plane to Japan and tomorrow morning it will go to the auction block in Kumamoto.

That fish will then travel to a restaurant or, more likely, a few restaurants. Tomorrrow night many Japanese people will be eating it as sashimi for dinner. They won't know where it came from or what story it carries, just that they are paying a nice price for nice fish.

If you are a visitor to a Japanese fish market you will see tuna like this and many more a few steps down on the size ladder. But without the perspective of what it takes to catch one, it's hard to appreciate the story, or even imagine it. Zamami understands, which is why there were 60 people who brought beer and aomori (Okinawan sake) and were playing drums and the sanshin when the fisherman arrived at 10:30 last night. It's a big deal here. And it's how markets such as that for sashimi impact families and communities [and fisheries].

1 comment:

naomi said...

dave, so nice to live vicariously through your experiences! love your posts, so keep on posting!