Just had a delicious meal of locally-caught Mountain Whale ribs!
The mountain whales were raiding the village gardens more heavily than usual recently, I lost all my sweet potatoes, half my pumpkins, and half my taro, and most of my neighbors suffered too. All up and down the river I've noticed a lot more garden fences going up recently.
My neighbor set a trap at the place at the bottom of the mountain where they come out of the forest to raid the gardens, and over the past month 4 have been caught. We don’t have a hunter in our village anymore, but one from a nearby village comes over, and, wearing his official hat and armband dispatches the beast with one shot.
Afterwards the tail is cut off and taken to the local town hall where a bounty is paid. In our town its 3,000yen (30 USD), but in other towns its more. The mountain whales are classed as a pest because of all the damage they do to gardens, hence the bounty.
I’ve met plenty of town and city-dwelling Japanese who have never eaten Mountain Whale, but it can be had in the towns, albeit at a high price.
We eat it regularly, and have yet to pay anything for it.
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Friday, November 23, 2007