Taiji, Japan Blogs

Day 13

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Just some fun pictures to lighten the mood šŸ™‚ (except for the poor dead squid)

Though Today had no Dolphins once again (WooHoo for day 13!) there is lots I want to tell you! I’m so excited, I’m tired of having nothing to say! Well, I should start with yesterday I want to share with you the story!

So! Yesterday we drove to the Cove, like we always do, and waited for two hours watching the hunting boats coming in empty handed. A lovely sight that is! Anyway, we drove into the actual town of Taiji to the docks where the boats tie up just to make sure that all 12 were in. Well we stumbled across two dolphins being transported! They had moved the spot from across the holding pens to over next to the slaughter house/fishermen’s union. We set up on the parking area across the way and filmed for about ten minutes. Then we left! We don’t want to make the fishermen too angry because they are still upset about Blackfish. We decided then that we needed to follow that truck. So we drove to a place where we know the truck had to go because it is the only way out of Taiji that the truck will fit. We bought about 2,000 Yen worth of food from the circle K stop and rob because we didn’t know how long of a drive this would be. And honestly, we had barely had breakfast! I called my mom and told her to update you all on the “no dolphins” part of the story. But we really didn’t want it out on the internet that we were following them while we were following them, that would just be stupid! Haha. So about an hour later, we were hidden and ready for a long road trip. Sure enough the truck came around the corner, we let a few cars fall in behind it and this is where out 12 hour adventure started.

We took off following towards Osaka. We had guessed they were going to the Osaka airport. My dad and I just enjoyed the drive and tried to keep a visual on the truck. It really wasn’t that hard, the truck is HUGE and it has this little yellow circle with a smiling bear on it. After a while that stupid smiling bear really annoys you, I don’t know why. It was really hard whenever they would pull over to let cars pass, because we had to go past them and then find a small road on the GPS that goes off of route 42 and then connects a mile down the road. We would pull into there and either turn around waiting or drive to the other end and wait for it to come along, or give it a minute to get ahead. I felt like I was in some sort of spy movie, it was very strange and kinda fun! My dad has a lot of experience following people with his old job being a US federal agent, so it was cool to see him pull out all of his old police tricks.

A while up the road they stopped at a Lawsons to get food. So we went and got gas, then circled around to make sure they were still there. We pulled into a small street off of the main drag and waited for the truck to pass, like we had done several times before. Sure enough it did, and off we went… again. As far as we could tell, they still had no idea we were following them.

The truck drove for a few hours more and then pulled into a rest stop. We were freaking out now for two reasons! 1. this is the perfect time for them to notice us, and we can’t go anywhere else because we were on a freeway. Lets face it we don’t blend in and we weren’t sure if it was a truck stop or not! 2. This was so close to the Osaka airport… that it didn’t make any sense to stop. So we knew they weren’t going there at that point. The truck stopped inside, and no it was not a truck only spot thank god! My dad and I ducked down from our seats and I filmed them as best as possible. But I had to pee SO BAD! And here we were at a rest stop…. with the people that want to kill us! And we don’t blend in with all the other people running around. Of course, just then three trainers got out from the back of the truck, I was half way out of the car to dash for the bathroom…. I had to throw myself back into the car because now there were five of these men! And more eyes that could catch us! They were just airing out and getting water. They must ride with trainers in the back to keep an eye on the dolphins. Now. The two drivers were on the other side of the truck, two trainers were in the bathroom and one was in the back of the truck. This was my only chance! So I snuck out of the car and walked behind all the cars I could. I ran into and out of the bathroom when I got to the door, because I knew if the guys got in and drove off while I was gone, my dad was going to have to go. I would have been fine there was a grocery store across in the rest stop (it was a busy area which made it easy to hide behind groups of people) and I could have phoned for help. But still, I didn’t want to deal with that. The other girls in the bathroom looked at me like I was a freak (which I probably looked like running in and out). I was now walking back to the car, jacket and sunglasses on. I walked PAST two of the trainers but they didn’t even look at me, it was as if they didn’t see the one random western girl that walked two feet away from them. After a little while, we were all back on the road.

They drove past three airports! Where were they going!? They got off at a strange exit that looked like a back road. But it dumped us onto this very busy looking city street. We were in Osaka! Eventually we reached the place that took 7 hours to get to playing cat and mouse with the truck (that still didn’t notice us!) The Suma Aqualife Park. It was a dolphinarium that was SO excited to see it’s two new prisoners. We drove around the block to loose the truck in the parking lot. We drove into the parking lot, that had a “toll gate”, we had to pull a ticket to get in. The truck didn’t notice us still, they were busy being praised by the trainers. EVERYONE was smiling and laughing and jumping and hugging and gasping at the Dolphins. I wanted to throw up. And the worst part… many of them were women. I don’t know why the really bothers me, but there is something about this that just disgusts me. There is something so incorrect and unexpected about that.

We drove right past them… but they didn’t even look at us. This is why we think that they didn’t even notice us the entire seven hours. And I have to say… what we did was amazing. We are westerners in a place where there are no westerns, we are wanted by the fishermen and trainers, they know our car… and yet we managed to follow them for an entire day and they didn’t even know! I don’t like to toot my own horn, but that was incredible! Well, we know where those two dolphins are. Suma Aqualife Park, shame on you.

Driving back the GPS took us around the same downtown street in Osaka about eight times. Actually, it was us not knowing how to work the GPS, but I figured out when she said to do something that it was a warning, and we should not do it till it dings twice! That got us back on the freeway haha! But it was a very nice block with TONS of people, that part was frustrating. But we saw a different part of Japan, the city! On the road we stopped at a rest stop where you can by dinner from a machine! We bought noodles and french fries! It literally drops the box of food into a compartment and them microwaves it! It was crazy! And I should have filmed it, but I was too tired to even think about it! We made the entire drive back last night, but we didn’t have the truck so we made it back in much shorter time.

This morning we woke up really late being we didn’t get into the Hotel until really late. But we went to the Cove in time to see all twelve hunting boats come into port! So my dad and I got breakfast and came back to the room to tell the world! šŸ™‚ It was then that we got the call from the Leggs. John and Jackie Legg have answered the call from SSCS! So woohoo! Thank you guys, this is wonderful! Check our their blog, I strongly encourage you all to follow them too! šŸ™‚

We have four more people we are meeting tomorrow! So there will be eight of us for about a week and more people after that. But there is always power in numbers! Please come if you can!

John and Jackie wanted to go swimming in the Cove this afternoon. So that is exactly what we did. The water was colder than usual. But it warmed up. I have to be honest, for some reason this was really tough. The first swim in there was really difficult and none are easy to do, but there was something off. I think it is because I haven’t swam in there since the Slaughter happened and the place was just all that more real. This Cove is full of evil energy and you feel claustrophobic while you are in there. I can’t imagine being trapped in there overnight awaiting tomorrows horror (that I can only sense is coming).

While we were in the water, the police said something to my dad that we are trying to figure out. We understand with the language barriers that things can get confused but from what he said, “your action, *demonstrated taking pictures and typing*, internet, the fishermen do not kill dolphins”, we can’t help but think that this is working. They are getting so much bad publicity that they aren’t killing? YET! They are still hunting. Maybe because of the weather they didn’t fill their quota for the trade season? I am very happy with the thought they don’t want to slaughter while we are here because there will be someone on the ground till March. But I don’t want people to forget about this, just because this is what the cop said doesn’t mean that the trade programs are over and it doesn’t mean they will stop killing. We don’t know what that meant completely. They might get frustrated with loosing money and start again, and maybe the next time they catch dolphins they will just kill them. I don’t want these things to be so, but I need to throw them out there because I can’t have people thinking that this is over. Because its barley begun, the Cove brought the attention to this and now it’s up to us as a global community to end it. We can do this, but it’s going to take the Japanese people to make a change.

For the Animals,

Elora Malama

16 thoughts on “Day 13”

  1. I had to leave a comment so Suma got an email from me. I tried to be as polite as I could, which wasn’t easy.
    Just letting them know that the entire world knows about this and the word is being spread.
    Glad you made it back safe, what a great job and what an exciting trip! Without you guys, we would have never known what happened to these animals.
    Wouldn’t that be just wonderful…they stop the killing because of bad publicity!! I so wish.
    Hope you can get some rest, our spirit is with you!

  2. First, here’s 2 interesting articles from Japan Times:

    1. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20101006f3.html Matsumoto to meet victims of Minamata

    2. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20101005a4.html METI wants pop culture to be key export

    The smiling bear made me think of article #2

    Elora, as always, your posts are so informative and I feel like i”m riding along with you and your father. So many of us wish we could be there and we ARE there with you in spirit. Thanks so much for the information about Suma Aqualife Park. So sad and shameful of them. The mental vision of their excitement and cheering is sickening. I wonder what they would think if it were their own children?

    Great job once again! Get some rest. Welcome to the Leggs and thank you.

  3. Great job, Elora and Scott! How amazing would it be if they did cease the killings? They know what they’re doing is wrong and now the whole world knows too. But you’re right, it’s far from over. The captivity trade is a huge problem. And I believe that is a tougher angle, because a huge majority believe the slaughter is wrong, but so many, including us here in the states, partake in the captivity programs. This is why what you guys are doing is so amazing. You’re showing the world the connection. Thank you guys šŸ™‚

  4. Thank you Elora for the amazing updates, dont believe a word that they are done killing for good, but at least done killing for the time being which is amazing.

  5. Wow! You & your dad are quite the team. That was some great detective work there. You guys amaze me. I don’t know whats worse, the slaughter of the dolphins or the capture & transfer of them to “prisons”. It all needs to end and, as you now, it will never end as long as there is a demand for them at aquariums & swim with dolphin programs….and restaurants & stores that sell their meat. People must put an end to patronizing places that have captive dolphins & whales for show. Keep up the fantastic work!

  6. Hi Elora (and Dad)

    I like the bit about the smiley bear… hehehe. What great detectives the pair of you are. I wish I was there. Keep up the good work. I tell everyone about you.

    Whale hugs and dolphin kisses


  7. What a waste of time and efforts!
    I believe you don’t understand a single letter of Japanese. But the Suma Aquarium states on its Web site that their dolphins are from the sea off Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture. That’s not a secret or anything.
    I think you’d better study Japanese first before insulting the people and the country. Studying a language is an important first step to have better understanding of the country because that will give you a great opportunity to interact with local people and get firsthand information.

    1. JD,

      I am assuming you are Japanese or know the Japanese language. I wish that I am myself knew Japanese but I am only fluent in Polish, German and English. Yet once again I do not understand why some people choose not to reveal their true identity. It would be appreciated on this site as many of us do.

      That being said, the issue here is not about language. You say that Elora and her Dad were insulting people by showing a connection between Taiji and the dolphins presently at Suma but obviously what goes on at Taiji is tradition is it not? So, to some of us it is disgraceful to hunt dolphins for slaughter or captivity but to others it is tradition. So, why should anyone feel insulted? They should be proud. The purpose for showing the connection is because up till now most people weren’t aware of the actual way that dolphins are acquired and transferred for the captivity trade. I’m sorry but the majority of people in this world are self aborbed and selfish. I am including myself in that category. To that end, up till now a declaration of the origin of the dolphins by Suma Aquarium didn’t mean much to people but now it means alot. Elora and her Dad have documented the actual transfer from the capture site to the facility. Most of us knew nothing about how unethical and immoral this really is. And that my dear sir or madam, is not insulting someone unless they are ashamed of what they do. Then I guess they can feel insulted.

    1. Laurice,
      Thanks for sharing this link. There should be a requirement to list the origin. Funny how they choose to leave that out.

  8. Thanks Elora for a fascinating story. Even though this is a serious matter and your story revealing, I had to laugh at your sense of humor. As another reply stated, I felt like I was there with you as you gave the play by play. Good work. Stay strong and keep positive. You are making a difference!

  9. Elora, the fact that you had to sneak off to use the restroom totally reminded me of a certain musical from last summer! Remember – it’s a privilege. Sorry….just had to say it. šŸ™‚

    But, on the serious side, good work you guys. It must have been a really interesting and intense day. I would have been fun to see you and Scott in action!

Comments are closed.