Taiji, Japan Blogs

You’re Sour Face?

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So it turns out that I pissed off the second most powerful man involved with the dolphins in Taiji, he is the head of the fishermen’s union. I  didn’t know who he was the day of the slaughter. I thought he was a fishermen, he was certainly acting nasty enough…. He thought he would get to me by photographing me, so I just filmed him doing it. Eventually he gave up. So he was out-photographed by a sixteen year old girl……… But that later.

This early morning we did our normal run to the Cove and checked to see if the hunter boats were in. They were! This is day 15! They were not going out today because the water was very choppy and there is a festival everyone is preparing for, that is this weekend. The fishermen were hanging these very beautiful flags off of their dolphin hunting boats! It was very disturbing, I don’t know why. Here you have these heartless men that go out and slaughter innocence for a living, hanging these gorgeous flags off their hunting boats, and making everything look welcoming and friendly. Actually, Dwight and Sandra were talking about how they saw a commercial (in Japanese so they weren’t 100% sure) but the commercial was about how you can go out and see the dolphins on boats. The boats looked just like the dolphin hunting boats! Sick! I know. But just think, how much money they could make with tourists, going out to see dolphins in the wild. There is a man in Futo who does that now… he was very successful! You don’t need to slaughter innocence for a living! Honestly, it is inexcusable. Please don’t try to tell me about how they kill chickens and cows just a horribly, because I already agree! That is why I am vegetarian. I do not support the factory farming, and if you as Japanese people have an issue with that PLEASE by all means go over to the states and stand up against it! I’ll stand with you! — But back to what I was saying, they could make so much more money doing tours… rather than killing them all off! There ARE other options. And tourists would come, wouldn’t you? It’s beautiful here! I strongly encourage putting “seeing the Wakayama area of Japan” on your bucket lis, but not till this stops.

Breakfast was at our favorite tea and “tosta” (toast) place! Yoshiko was a dear and translated the menu for us! We found out we could get eggs and all kinds of things! It was wonderful! Thank you Yoshiko!

We were walking back from breakfast and Yoshiko noticed a sign in a window across the street. It was for Shark Fin Soup. Except it was Shark Fin Ramon Noodle Soup. All six of us were horrified! Jackie loves sharks, she was very disturbed. I was SHOCKED! I didn’t expect that, but then again, they sell shark meat in the local store there.

Off we went to the information place. I needed information on where to print a picture. We had a interesting plan (Steven, Yoshiko, and I) for today. And I needed a picture of mine printed, it was of the slaughter. The girls that work in the information booth took us to a printing place around the corner, but it would have taken all night to do. But Steven knew someone down the street that did it for me, free of cost! So sweet! It was there in the parking lot we debriefed about what we were all going to do.

The fishermen’s Union Building/My interview:

In the parking lot of the several stores near the print shop, is where we briefed on our plan. The plan was for my dad, Patricia, John and Jackie to stay in the parking lot across the street of the Fishermen’s Union (FU) to keep an eye on us. Yoshiko, Steven and I were going to talk to the head of the FU. I wanted to ask him three or four questions for a “rookie” interview. And that is what we were going to do. I had printed a picture of the blood pouring out of the Risso Dolphin bodies, and I was going to ask him to describe what he saw in that picture, I wanted to see his reaction and maybe (unlikely) his answer.

That is the plan in a nutshell. So I drove over with Yoshiko and Steven and we parked in the FU lot. I kid you not! I have no idea where he came from but the head of the FU came flying over screaming at us! I didn’t know who this was, I thought he was a fishermen. Because I recognized him, we had a camera battle the day of the slaughter! So I was surprised to see him again. Wasn’t surprised about the yelling, and the hand in my face the entire time! Then Steven said his name and I realized this is the man I wanted to interview…. The man who two weeks ago we had a camera battle! He was taking my picture and I was filming and so I filmed him taking my picture. He got very angry and slapped his camera down. I’ve been calling him sour face because his face always looks like he is sucking a salty lemon. Well he was the man I wanted to interview. That was NOT going to happen, In fact he said “why do you put stuff on the internet!?”. I didn’t have a chance to respond. It seems like we are really getting to them. They are ashamed of what they do and they are being exposed, of course they don’t like it.

It wasn’t until famous movie star “Private Space” showed up screaming “keep out” and pointing at his sign that my dad pulled me across the street. Things were getting tense. And we promised the police no trouble, we won’t break our promises. Once I crossed the street, the head of the FU calmed down and actually wanted to talk to Steven. It was me that bothered him so much. He must be scared of my message being a young girl. I can’t think of any other reason why he would be nervous around me. But we are obviously getting to him, I say we because you are all a part of this. When they read my blog, they read your comments. You have just as much input as I do. And that’s very important to me, that I have found a group of people who are behind this 100%. It’s amazing and nothing like what I ever dreamed!

Everything is in the VERY LONG video I am working on for youtube. I will post it later tonight. KahakaiGirl, also watch the video of our truck following adventure!

I had lunch today with Steven and Yoshiko, it was lovely! Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to Yoshiko today. I have to point out how brave this women is! She is Japanese, she is against the slaughter, she isn’t afraid to speak out about it or confront the head of FU… She is an inspiration for all Japanese, and especially Japanese women! Thank you Yoshiko for showing the fishermen it isn’t only westerners against them, and those of you nervous about coming out and speaking up… please don’t be. I encourage it! Get together and stand strong as a group… I know it’s not the Japanese way, but things change. And YOU can stop this. You could be those people who end this horror.

I got back to the hotel and everyone was talking to my mom on Skype! I miss you mom and Sabrina! Love you guys!

GUESS WHAT! I found the REAL chocolate bread! The one Matt talked about! The other one was chocolate bread…. but it wasn’t the one I was searching for! My dad found it and bought it at the same bakery! WOO! The search is complete! And yes… It was amazing! 😀

Today we were joined by Junior Montgomery from London England! Welcome Junior! Thank you coming and joining us as Cove guardians!

The rain is supposed to be crazy this weekend! The fishermen will probably not go out! So we can hope for at least two more days of dolphin free Cove!

For the Animals,

Elora Malama

25 thoughts on “You’re Sour Face?”

  1. Thank you all for keeping the light shining in Taiji! Wish I could join you there. Not sure I could handle it though. You are a very talented documentarian (sp?) Elora, and it’s a delight to read your reports, especially with all these good days for the dolphins. You have already been such a success! Very inspiring role model for all. XO

  2. Woo-hoo 15 days!! Let´s celebrate that!!

    The Oct. the 14th is getting closer and there will be protests every where. We´ve made some flyers and I´m working on dolphin origami and very shocking posters.

    What are you guys planning to do?

    1. I am making a sign and I will be wearing my SSCC shirt and hat. The forecast for Boston is rain. I was at first dismayed at being drenched, but I remembered who we are doing this for. Water is their home. A small plastic bag to protect my wallet shall suffice.

  3. Elora,
    I joined a Taiji dolphin slaughter protest yesterday in front of the Japanese consulate in Boston. It was a privilege to rally with the Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition (MARC) and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). I was amazed at the number of passers by that were both familiar with our cause and the ones that were completely clueless. Nevertheless, I just wanted you to know that there are those of us out here supporting your noble efforts.

    Warmest Regards,

  4. It is quite obvious that the Japanese FU (love that it stands for Fishermen’s Union~that is so funny) and other officials are reading your blog. They do not understand why you are writing about them and want you to stop. FU~if you are reading these comments too, then know that the rest of the world finds your activities shameful, brutal, senseless, horrific, and every year… people will come to Taiji and tell the world of your shameful secret. You need to bring renewal and healing to this town and all places in Japan that participate in coastal hunting of dolphins/whales. The time for this to end is WAY overdue. This is not about your culture or traditions. We are not being fooled by these claims. This is about ALL humans sharing ONE planet and the need to protect our oceans greatest creatures. If we cannot save dolphins, whales, and sharks… we will watch our oceans die, we will not be far behind.

  5. Great work, Elora! It’s very interesting that you intimidate the head of the FU. They hate the fact that a 16 year old girl is getting the word out to so many people, and in turn, those people are telling so many more. We can’t wait for October 14th. We will be in Los Angeles showing everyone possible what is happening in Taiji. Is it okay to use some of your pictures from the Risso dolphin/pilot whale slaughter for signs? Thank you for the awesome updates 🙂

  6. Elora, you telling the world every day what it is like in Taiji is priceless!
    Thank you-:)
    Give my love to Steven.

    Love from Norway (and yes, I HATE whaling!),

    1. You rock, Julie!! I love Norway but not the whaling or reindeer meat either. Alt for Norge! 🙂

  7. I didnt catch on to the FU thing till someone commented about it lol priceless indeed! It fits very well.

    Thank you so much for documenting so well and being so prompt on letting us all know what is going on.

    My 6 year old daughter and I read your blog every morning while she gets ready for school (grade 2). Shes home sick today and is snuggled up in bed with her dolphin stuffy.
    Every March her school holds ‘Project Fair’, instead of just science projects the children can do projects on just about anything. Last year her project was about our family and the olympic torch (2 torch bearers in the family), this year she has desided her project is going to be on Taiji and the slaughter of dolphins. I am crossing my fingers the school doesnt try to censor her at all. She has been taking notes from your blog and facebook so she can ‘provide REAL information’ as she puts it.
    You have been a huge inspiration to her and our entire family. And shes very proud that you had the courage to try to speak with the FU, she says she would have pee’d her pants lol

    1. That is really cool Christina, I hope your daughter can do her project on dolphins without any censoring by the school. Remind them that education is the key to raising aware and free thinking adults who can lead our world into the future. Elora did a project last year for 4-H at the fair about shark finning. It was an educational display and quite graphic but it was well received and she even won a cash award. I saw many young kids looking at it and so shocked… one little boy said “Dad, come here… Look at this. Did you know about this?” It was as if he was upset that a dirty secret had been kept from him and he was really shocked… but in a good way. His dad said yes, it is really awful… hopefully he will also grow up to right the wrongs of the world.
      peace for all Her creatures,
      (Elora’s mom)

    2. Hi Christina,
      My stepdaughter is also doing her 5th grade project on Taiji and how important it is to save the dolphins. She has found Elora’s blog to be a huge inspiration. It’s so nice to hear that your daughter, being only 6, understands how important this is too and wants to share it with her classmates 🙂

  8. Happy tears are flowing while I sit here at work on my lunch break. I’m SO glad you & your dad are there, and you started this blog to get the most updated information out. They probably don’t like you because they know how powerful you are w/ your words & pics on the internet! That’s funnt (well kinda) about how that guy turned out to be Sour Face. LOL Thanks for bringing us this most important news, but also keeping it light w/ nicknames & stories of chocolate bread searches! We all appreciate how you let us mourn with you guys there when there is a hunt, but also let us laugh with you on your adventures there! Keep on keepin’ on!


  9. Another wonderful blog. Thank you, Elora. It makes me feel so much better knowing that all of you are guarding the Cove. Wish I could join you all but I am there in spirit! Take care.

  10. I wish u the best luck in the world and maybe one day we all these people what are so lazy in doing something good and positive for this planet, we’ll have the strength and take action against these killer bastards. I can’t keep my angriness away from these fishermen what call them selves human beings. Best from a Romanian what lives in Sweden.

  11. It’s an honour to with you here in Taiji xxx even if you didn’t share your chocolate bread we still love you 🙂

  12. If the fisherman would eat more sweet chocolate bread they might forget the salty looks they have on there face and be sweet to the dolphins aswell. 🙂

  13. You are an absolutely inspiring young lady and it is so amazing to rread your reports from the Cove from someone of your generation..believe that you are making a difference..the dolphins know they have a friend at The Cove.

  14. Elora,
    I got up early today, eager to read your and Steven’s updates on Taiji. I always read with such a mixture of emotions….sadness, anger and grief but also happiness, excitement and hope for change.
    For all you have done so far I salute you. You are making progress in a way that is peaceful and intelligent and your compassion is so admirable.
    This senseless slaughter of mammals that are second to human beings with intelligence has to end soon. It’s not a matter of tradition or culture, it’s a matter of not subjecting such magnificent gentle creatures to unadulterated terror, agony and death and if anyone uses the old ‘Leave us alone this is our tradition’ arguement again, please tell them it is not a valid arguement……for we used to sacrifice our own children in the name of tradition until we evolved and realised it was wrong. This practice is too, deplorable and something that needs to be put back in the backward past where it belongs.
    At night I dream of the dolphin, I still cry when I think of their distress calls and the bloody nightmare they endure in Taiji. Please don’t ever stop fighting for their beating hearts Elora, and I hope Japanese people can find the courage to do what is right and join you in saying no to this evil trade. If Japan end the hunt I will bring my family to Taiji to admire it for it’s beauty and it’s dolphins swimming in that beautiful Cove as they should. Until then though, we will step up this fight aganst greed and exploitation of the worst kind. Many hugs and best wishes to a very brave girl I look up to in awe, and thank you for all that you do.

  15. I read your post and thought about it all day. I thought about that guy. I will admit I felt sad for him for about 2 minutes. I kept thinking that it must be difficult for him to see his life work being challenged. It’s hard enough to be criticized by your boss, but by the world – you can only wonder if this man sleeps at night.

    Then, of course, I thought “He can end this anytime he wants”. If he is struggling through this, then it can be over today. Now. Surely he knows that by ending it he will be hailed a hero world-wide. People will come to Taiji only to support his decision and to celebrate him and thank him. I personally will come and spend my money into the economy of Taiji and encourage everyone I know to do the same. What is important to realize is that this is NOT a fight over power. It’s not about anyone changing tradition. It’s about animals. It is about doing what is right! I welcome criticism about the treatment of cows, pigs and chickens. I don’t eat meat either because of how those animals are treated. I too join that fight in protest.

    I can understand the hardship it must be to admit you are wrong in something. We all have been there. Change is hard but no one will be more supportive than the very people fighting this dolphin hunt!!! There must be something that screams to these fishermen that what they are doing is wrong or they would not be trying so hard to hide it. Hiding is an admittance of doing something that is completely incorrect. I know there is a lot of pride in the Japanese culture, and rightly so. It is rich in tradition and glory, but even the Japanese know when to call foul when something is amiss. Chiune Sugihara comes to mind during World War II. At the time, he stood up for what was right and now is hailed as saving thousands of lives during the Holocaust. Sometimes it is more important to stand up for what is right than for what is the status-quo.

    I know this is a book but I had to vent… 🙂

    We will not give up the fight for what is right!!

  16. Thanks so much Elora for your courage and strength. Please let Yoshiko know that we also appreciate her for her courage and certainly understand the position she is in. You both along with the others are in a position to be a part of what could be wonderful change for everyone involved. Not only do you help the potential for the entire community to benefit from tourism but also possibly consider the unique opportunity their particular cove can offer for rehabilitation and release of cetaceans.
    Am wondering if because of the unique geology of the area, is it possible for Taiji to have a local educational/academic facility specializing in marine biology? One could imagine endless possibilities for the entire community.
    You mentioned that the man from the fisherman’s union wanted to talk to Steven. I would also like to applaud this gentleman for offering the possibility of discussion because I believe that was not an easy thing for him to do but a necessity to move this cause forward.
    Thanks so much to everyone!

  17. Hiiii…ill be there as soon as possible to be at service ..congratulations for your love and courage ..you are example for this generation and the oldest ..keep doinnnggg– more people will follow..peaceeeee

  18. For al the people out there let me say

    I AM SOOOOOO PROUD OF YOU!!!!! you are all doing a great job, wish I could join you but we need people over here too, don’t give up it’s worth fighting for!!

    Love you guys xxxxx

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