Last Friday Night In Japan

We are the world, We are the Children, We are the ones who make a brighter day so lets start giving, There’s a choice we’re making… Yes, We’re saving our own lives-Michael Jackson

I’m writing all of this, while we are on the train back to Kii-Katsuura (Taiji). My emotions are very raw and I apologize if I cross any lines. Please understand I am not only talking about Japan, but our global community, the citizens of Earth. And this is my blog, where I have the right to voice my opinions and feelings.

We have finished all our endeavors here in Tokyo. These last three months, and these last three days… have changed me forever.

I want to go back to just eating candy, getting through school and hanging with friends, aware, but not effected… but I don’t! I can’t, I won’t!

I want to cry because I am so frustrated with how horrible and greedy humans are to/with this planet! But crying won’t do a damn thing!

I’m happy my eyes have been so opened about this world, at my age…. I’m not complaining. I’m confused. I’ve taken in a lot in a short amount of time, and today was actually the first time I really cried in the three months I’ve been here (slaughters and all!) and I’m still holding more tears back while writing this. I have tears of disgust, all our ignorance and greed, thinking we own everything. But I also have tears of hope, even though I think it could be too late to save the oceans now! (Wow I sound sappy right now).

My Log of events

Saturday Evening:

It was probably about 7pm and my dad called me into his room to tell me that Paul wanted us to go and see if we can find the Nisshin Maru, the Japanese whaling fleet’s factory ship. There was an article that came out in the Japan Times, which said the factory ship was still in Innoshima. Knowing we had to go to Tokyo on the 1st, we left immediately. Plus we didn’t know how long it would take to find it; there are several giant industrial shipyards around the coastline of this particular island.

I started packing for Tokyo and the two days for looking for the ship… I had to organize my room because I leave in less than a week after we get back, and there will be lots going down when we get back. I can’t function in a messy room. We got our tickets for a 7am train the next morning. We left Thomas in charge of showing Cove guardians around, who were showing up while we were gone. He took our phone, and we brought the Iphone.

This all had to stay secret, the Japanese Whaling Fleet did not need to know that we were going in search of their factory ship. I then realized, we couldn’t pretend to be in Taiji for only two days (again this was all in the best interest of the dolphins and whales, not to just lie to people) when I’m doing instant updates all morning long. So I posted that the phone was broken. I want to thank everyone who offered to send me a new one, and called the Cove guardians on the ground asking for updates so the world could know what was going on, as it was going on. That was really wonderful!

Sunday:

We got to bed REALLY late, and we were up at 5:30, said goodbye to Thomas who was going to Taiji alone, and we headed for the train. The poor lady who was running the front desk at that time, she saw us leave with suitcases, but had paid for our rooms that are still in Katsuura. She was so confused, but smiled and waved goodbye. I really like those women!

We climbed the stairs to the ticket counter to figure out what platform etc we needed to go to. The train station is very small, only four tracks I think. Still it would have sucked to get on the wrong train.

We sat down on the benches in front of the track, and three pigeons were dancing, squawking and whacking each other with their wings on the telephone wires! They were so funny to watch, I felt like I was watching the three Stooges. Soon three became at least seven. All of them were running around bobbing their heads. So I pulled out a piece of bread I had, and ripped it up into very small pieces, then starting tossing a few at a time. They all starting dancing again and eating it all up, so cute!

When we made it to Mihara, we rented a car. You know they had sheets of paper that showed us what we were signing in Japanese, translated in English so we knew. You wouldn’t find something like that in the States, would you? I don’t think you would. It was very cool that they were prepared to communicate.

We just started driving for the Island, even though the toll roads were confusing us and the stupid EOS machine in the car was literally screaming at us, on full volume (we couldn’t turn it off or down!) in Japanese, we made it to the Island Innoshima.

Honestly, finding the ship was not that hard. You just had to be creative. I would have thought that a ship which is so important to the ICR and Japanese Whaling Fleet, that they don’t want Sea Shepherd to find, would have been a little harder to track down and get to?

We got on a side road (about as wide as a single US freeway lane, for two way traffic) and drove the coast until we found the first shipyard. Now we could see this huge ship (I mean huge, I felt like a grain a sand just looking at it.) it was called the Sunny Joy. It was the only ship we could actually see in the medium size shipyard. So we drove up cliffs and small mountains, but still could not see over this one large building! We were convinced that the Nisshin Maru was behind this large building, because when we drove down one hill, I saw the top of the ship. The cream and black steam pipes. But this could still be any ship… still we both had a feeling it was right under our noses.

When the hills weren’t working and we couldn’t see over that building, we drove around some more and found a dock. It was a ferry loading dock. Super small… one had just left, so no cars were around, and not one person was standing around. (We were not in SSCS clothes, too risky at the time we wanted to find this thing, and not start pissing people off just yet). There was a small dock next to the ferry one that curved out and looked straight in the direction we wanted to. So we walked down this trash filled dirt path, past all these run down sheds that looked like if you even breathed on them they would come falling down and land in the water. There was a sink, plant with a gas tank in it, and several tires. It was eerie and down right sad that this much pollution was just sitting over the water. I walked all the way to the end a little ahead of my dad and started snapping pictures of the black and cream death trap… sure enough it said ICRWhaling.org and Nisshin Maru. We couldn’t believe we found it so easily. And the whole scene pollution, the factory ship, and then all the beauty that surrounded such disgusted things horrified me!

But we wanted a better view of the ship! We noticed that across the water there was another island that would give us that view.

We decided to go to the other island, so we got first in line for the ferry. When it came we were waiting for someone to wave us on… the guy running the zoo of an operation started screaming at us in Japanese and pointing his finger at the boat… cars behind us were honking, so we drove on. This is not ferry docks like we know at home, it was an all men for themselves type of thing. First car on was the one with the spot, people were honking and pedestrians just walked through the zoo of bumper cars that meant serious business just to get on. It was nuts and very unsafe!

Once at the other side, there is was clear as day…. R E S E A R C H…. research my ass!

Now that we found it we left in search of a hotel for the night, because it was getting late.

Monday:

In the morning my dad went and got Mr. doughnut and we headed back to Innoshima. We took the Ferry to the other Island across from the clear shot R E S E A R CH… and set up to do a phone conversation with Paul, me filming in Innoshima, and Animal Planet filming in Australia.

Once we were finished with everything we needed to do in Innoshima we started driving for Hiroshima. We were only 60 miles and my dad has always wanted to see the A-bomb Dome, since his father fought in the war.

We didn’t get there until it was dark. Our hotel was kitty corner to it however, so we walked over and looked walked around in the dark.

Sunday was mostly driving and getting frustrated with EOS machine that still was yelling at us!

Tuesday:

Tuesday we walked around the A-bomb dome again in the daylight. I have a hard time comprehending what went on there… Lets just leave it at that. I hate war, what it does to families, lives (both human and non human), and the environment.

The rest of Tuesday was spent on the train to Tokyo.

Wednesday:

This was the day of my speech. It was at the FCCJ Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. We had a waiting room to get prepared and everything! It was actually a pretty big deal. We went into the conference room and there were 44 media people in there waiting to hear us speak. The moderator, Pio, opened up questions to the floor as well, most questions were about the operation No Compromise.

See my speech in Tuesday’s blog.

Later in the evening, I got to see for my own eyes Japanese citizens concerned about and standing up for ocean welfare! A meeting was organized and open to the public. 26 people came! That is over half the amount of Cove Guardians that have been here… everyone went around the room, told their story, why they are concerned, and what they want or are doing in any way they can. It was wonderful! So wonderful that even after we had been kicked out of the meeting room, we all went to a Vegan restaurant to continue the conversations. I met so many amazing people that evening… the group plans to keep meeting, and discussing things that they can do. My hope is that the group grows to hundreds… who will ask the government to stop whaling and over fishing. To be an example for other countries to stop over fishing too!

Thursday:

My Dad had a lengthy interview with a reporter in the morning. We toured a shrine and a beautiful park with some friends in the afternoon. ☺

That evening though, we went to a lecture at u University in Japan. It was about the Justice system and human rights, in Japan. “23 days that will shock the world”. I’m going to write out the notes I took from the meeting, and elaborate a tiny bit, but I really don’t have the time anymore to do what I wanted, we are almost to Katsuura.

Japan’s Forced Confessions: “Everyone Charged with a penal offense has a right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.” –You would hope/think. But in Japan,

If you are charged with a crime you have 72 hours of compulsory interrogation, no lawyer, no filming, (he talked about people who tried to kill themselves during this process). If you have still not confessed (even if you did not commit the crime) they will go to a judge. The judge will agree to let them keep you in jail for ten more days. The entire time you are tortured in mental ways. 99% of people convicted, are convicted because of confessions (even if they did not truly commit the crime). They keep the lights on all night, they give you food and water when they feel like it, let you sleep when they think you should, you use the bathroom when they want, and they will threaten you and your family.

If you have lasted ten days of this hell, then the police go to the judge, who is allowed to issue ten days more only. This gives us the 23 days that will shock the world.

Japan’s dysfunctional justice system: “A major task, for police is to make people confess. The suspect’s rights are as good as irrelevant.”

Sorrowful criminals are likely to get better treatment and sentence.

It is legal for the “prosecutor” to control what evidence he shows. We were shown nine cases of people who had either done over 30 years of time because the prosecutor withheld information that proved they were innocent. And one case were a man was actually hung after being accused of rape-afterwards a better DNA test came along, and it was proven that this man was innocent. He screamed his innocence all the way till there was no more breath. But no one listened to him. It was simpler to not look for the real criminal.

“There is a high possibility that some who were executed in spite of being innocent-the total number of such cases in the past has not been low at all.”

Shocking-I thinks so.

My reflections:

It’s Friday and we are on a train back to Katsuura. I have a lot running through my head. I am so disgusted at humanity— we take and take and take. We are greedy, selfish, destroying diseases to this planet!! From rock, to oil, to animals, to the sea, ourselves and everything in between; we just suck! Don’t get me wrong I love most people and I don’t think we are all these evil things… but we can’t help it. We are just built for destruction. Someone told me today, “Well maybe it is our fate to destroy everything”. NO! I refuse to let that happen! I’m sick of being told that I don’t know what I’m talking about because I’m just a kid… it doesn’t take an adult to know that they want their world to be a better place, that the oceans need our help more than ever, that they love the creatures that share this planet with us!

I could go on and on… but I think I might save it till tomorrow. I don’t want to say something that I will regret just because I am upset with humanity at the moment. Plus I don’t have time to cover everything I wanted to— we are ten minutes to Katsuura and it’s getting late. So I will elaborate tomorrow. For now I need to rest up for the Dolphins, I return to the Cove grounds in the morning.

Far, Fast, And Deep,

Elora Malama West

My Public Email: Eloramalama@gmail.com

Please read my dad’s posts at http://www.SeaShepherd.org

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15 thoughts on “Last Friday Night In Japan

  1. Fight the bad stuff. Never stop fighting the bad stuff. But focus on the good stuff. There is much more of it out there than most people realise.

  2. The intensity and utter realness of everything you’ve done in Japan, and no doubt in the future, shouldn’t be apologized for. I understand for the sake of being clear with your words in the point you are getting across to want to apologize for harsh words but in leu of the harshness you’ve seen recently it seems only fair. Maybe if these molesters had, or were more in touch with, their emotions and having real human reactions to such devastating and heart-wrenching acts we might be in a better place. Just a thought.

    I (and my mom Jeanette) really have enjoyed reading your blog everyday these past months and your conference statement was well written and eloquent. Not sure if you’ve thought about colleges with Environmental Studies programs but SF State has a great one (I’m about to graduate with a BA of Environmental Studies in Sustainability ad Social Justice).

    Keep your head up, you are an amazing person and the intense emotions you are going through shows your humanity and courage to live this life in awareness which I promise will be so much more fulfilling them going about it blindly.

    Take care!

    The light in me celebrates the light in you.

  3. You are the daughter I would like to have Elora…Your parents must be very very proud of you. You are our future..never give up!! Much Love and respect.

  4. Elora you are an incredible person with so much energy and dedication and insight. You are writing so well. Thanks for all your hard work and take care.

  5. It will be sad to see you go dear, I will miss your perspective of things, it is nice to get your view of things along with your father’s. You are very brave and I believe this will not be the last we will hear of you. Enjoy going home and try not to let this experience jade you, let it keep empowering you to save our oceans. There are not alot of people like you in this world, and that is very sad. I hope you have inspired more young people to care and stand up for all marine wildlife.

  6. Elora,
    Yes, some times the world seems like such an incredibly dark place, that is when you reach really deep inside yourself and find just a little more strength. You are much wiser than your years. You have seen things many of us will never see first hand. You have been our eyes for 3 months and that has been a very tough job for you. You can never go back to being that innocent person you were, you are now a young lady with a purpose! Sometimes we don’t understand things when they are happening to us, it is later that we see the entire picture. You have been chosen to be the voice for the Dolphins in Taiji. You have an ability to come home and tell your story, to tell their story ( the Dolphins). You really are making a difference and you will continue to do so as long as you choose to. The oceans and world are better because of you, you are a gift. Please continue to update all of us that been following you. I would love to see how the world embraces you after Taiji! Please let us know , we have grown attached to you. My daughter is your age, and as a mom, I am very proud of you!
    God Bless you where ever life takes you, and thanks for all that you have done and continue to do!

  7. Hello Elora, You are such a wonderful person everybody should proud of you. All you have been doing in Japan are so much amaing work! Without you, I couldn’t stand up and do anything at all. Yes, I always fall into self-hatred being a human, and a Japanese. I hope every creatures on earth live together peacefully, not destroying, not betraying, not hurting others.

  8. From Sardinia – Mediterranean Sea, Europe -, thank you so much for your example of courage, passion and devotion.

  9. You have every right to raise your voice for what you think is right and wrong, it’s a world that you and others your age are going to inherit.

  10. I understand your dispiritness I think. You, like all of us, would have liked the killing to stop now. I believe you and your dad are the sliding rocks that have begun a landslide. We need to change this together, you cannot do it alone, but your effect on the Japanese I think is significant.

    I understand your disgust at Homo sapiens too I think. But know that our ancesters as they migrated around the planet from the rift valley largely learned, occupied and then protected a balanced relationship with their landscape. For instance on all continents first peoples co-operated with costal dolphins to fish together for mutual benefit. On all continents first peoples cultivated the forest maximising tree food & medicines output per hectare of forest.

    To perhaps restore some of your faith in our species watch ALL of the video messages from the Hopi Elders beginning with:-

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7cylfQtkDg

    I extend my gratitude to you for what you have done and will be doing. You are a starwalker. You have my support and thanks for voicing my thoughts and being my eyes and ears.

    Go far and fast and stay deep. Keep on keeping on.
    .

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