zaterdag 26 januari 2013


We had a horrifying week. Over and over again the hunters came back with a pod of dolphins that was killed in the cove as other dolphins were taken captive. For me it was sometimes hard not to lose faith....  Last week the succesraid of the hunters was close to a 100 %. The only time they didn't hunt and caught dolphins, was because it was raining.
And that, while some time ago, the killerboats came back with a pod, maybe only just twice a week !!

Drying squid
This has everything to do with a cold undercurrent in the ocean near Japan, which makes the squid come to the surface, followed by the dolphins in their wake, feeding on them. The killers know that and have an easy time finding the pods. Over and over again, they were in hunting formation within an hour, or 2.
Prove of the overload is in the small fish shops. There is squid everywhere.

So today the boats stay in. I have a mixed feeling about this day off. Of course, we are all very happy that the cove stayes blue, that there will be no dolphins taken captive or be slaughtered today. But the dolphins (and us) only got this present, this day to breathe, because the "fishermen" had so many kills this week, that they had the privilege to take the day off.

So i guess now i have time to wright some more about Japan.
Because i am in a beautiful country and the nature i see around me is often breathtaking !
The part of Japan were we stay, is just as it looks on the map, a big rock, sticking out of the ocean. Everywhere their are mountains, covered with trees. In the valley's  there are small towns, connected by two-lane roads and tunnels. In no country in the world, i've seen so many tunnels, they are litterally everywhere, carved through the mountains. It must have been a lot of work making them, the mountains are solid bedrock.
The country is surrounded by a beautiful, crystal-clear ocean, absolutely awesome !
On the moments that we were free, we had the time to enjoy some of Japans beauty. We visited a few Buddhist temples, usually build high on a mountain and therefore only reachable by stairs, lots and lots of 'm ! :) They are all places of silence and serenity, very peaceful.

Temple entrance
Stairsway to. heaven ?

I've also been to a Japanese cemetary, not small like most of them in my country, but a huge one ! It was a whole valley covered with marbel urns containing the ashes of the deceased. The Japanese people cremate their loved ones. Also here in this huge valley, peace and serenity. Amazing.

So many urns

Also amazing, (but differently) are the warehouses and supermarkets in Japan. My friends back home know that they are not my strongest point (to say the least...) Not nearly as big as here in Japan, i can easily get lost between the shelves, leaving me staring for minutes to just óne product, not knowing what to buy because of the overwhelming supply.
Can you imagine me in a Japanese superstore, where big is BIG, hundreds and hundreds of meters of shelves, millions of products, everything written in Japanese and nobody to ask for help because of the English ? I hope you can.
So i came back out with enough grocery's (ánd a headache) to help me through my last days here. So i won't have to go back there. Éver ! ;)

BIG !!
Everywhere !!

On lítterally évery corner in Japan there is a vending machine, where you can buy your pops, soda, beer and even hot coffee in a tin can. I posted a photo of one. And where my country is flooded with trash cans on every 50 meters, here there are nóne ! Every time i have to bring back my trash to the hotel, where i can get rid of it.

Hot, black, with sugar
Something else that has amazed me are the bathrooms here. In my country, it's almost unthinkable to find a clean public toilet. But take it from me, the Japanese must lóve their bathrooms !! The bathrooms are so clean and shiny, you could almost eat from the floor, with heated toilet-seats, all kind of jet streams for...well, you know what, and of course some music in the background to make your stay even more comfortable. Clean towels, washing tables and big shiny mirrors. And even the ones "in the middle of nowhere" ! Amazing.
"Average" Japanese bathroom ! :)

Strange to me is that so many people in Japan are wearing those little white masks. First i thought that it was to prevend catching some virus from someone else, but later i learned that it was because someone who wears one, has a cold and doesn't want to infect others. Right the other way around ! But then, half of Japan must be sick. Policemen, busdrivers, schoolkids, people in stores, hotels, at the airports. Só many are wearing these funny things.... Strange.

But what has struck me the most of the Japanese people, is their kindness !
They are always ready to help you, even though most of them speak very poor English. They greet you on the street, always with a nod and many times with a smile.
When they serve you in a restaurant or help you in a gas station or a store, often they do not walk...they rún ! It's their way of showing their respect for you. 

It's crazy to say that all Japanese people are bad, just because of what is happening here in Taiji. I am absolutely sure that there are many people who don't agree with the atrocities here and i actually have spoken to people in Taiji who said that they dislike the cruelty that is done to the dolphins ! It is only a handful of people who get rich by the dolphin trade.... And they can keep making their big money, because dolphin shows around the world are paying those huge prices for live dolphins. It is very doubtful the dolphin hunts would stay profitable, once this trade was ended.

I hope the people of Taiji realize that if they would change from a dolphin hunting- into a dolphin watching town, everybody here could benefit from these wonderful animals. Imagine the thousands and thousands of tourists coming here all year round, enjoying the beauty Taiji can offer ! And leave the dolphins and whales where they belong, in the ocean.

No boats leaving harbour today !

The best thing for us to do, is never visit a dolphin show and tell everybody around us why they shouldn't buy a ticket. Most people still have no idea what  blood-red story is behind that "happy" dolphin smile...!

Thank you for your support and for reading my blog.

With love,