Tag Archives: Japanese whalers

比田井隆

20 Feb

It snowed again in Tokyo the day before yesterday. There was only a few centimeters of snow on the ground when it stopped snowing at around 9:00AM…and it was all melted away by that afternoon.

But I took a few photos of the snow with my cell-phone camera while I was on my way to work.

At the train station

The weather was much nicer yesterday and this week’s forecast says it’ll be sunny everyday. 🙂

I considered writing a post about:
the news that the Australian government is trying to force Japan to end it’s whaling,
or about Toyota Motor Company‘s recent problems with massive car recalls around the world and the news that the company’s president will be traveling to America soon to testify before the U.S. Congress,
or that the Japanese Olympic team got their third medal yesterday…this one in Men’s Figure Skating (Click here to see Japan’s 2010 Olympic medalists…and here to see the total number of medals each country has so far.)

But there’s enough written on the internet about all of those stories already.

I want to write about someone that you probably haven’t heard of.

「比田井隆」 (Takashi Hidai).

He’s a member of Japan’s 2010 パラリンピックス (Paralympic) “Wheelchair Curling Team“.

「比田井隆」 (Takashi Hidai)

Do you know what the パラリンピックス (Paralympics) is?
It’s the Olympics games for athletes who are physically handicapped or blind.

These games are sometimes confused with the “Special Olympics“…which are the games for athletes who are mentally handicapped.

I think the athletes who participate in both the Paralympics and the Special Olympics are amazing.

As I said Takashi Hidai will be participating in the 2010 Paralympics Games, which will be held in Vancouver, Canada from 2010 March 12 – 21. Shortly after the “regular” Olympic Games are over.

I heard about Takashi Hidai in the Japanese news.
He’s 75-year-old. The oldest person to ever join the Japanese Paralympics Team.

When he was 31 years old, he was working in Tokyo as an electrician on a construction site when suddenly a crane fell over on top of him and fractured his spine…paralyzing him from the waist down.

He credits the love of his wife and daughter (who was three years old at the time) with helping maintain his positive attitude after his tragedy.

About ten years after the accident, someone at the physical rehabilitation center that he was a patient at suggested he try his hand at archery.
His family agreed that it sounded like a good idea so he bought a bow and practiced earnestly.
He enjoyed it alot and became skilled at it and in 1980, he entered the National Archery Competition…competing against non-handicapped archers.

About five years ago, an acquaintance who participated in a local Wheelchair Curling workshop suggested Mr. Hidai try it.
He doubted that he would be able to maneuver his wheelchair on ice at the age of seventy…let alone compete in such a sport against people forty or fifty years younger than him.
But he went ahead and tried it and found that he really enjoys it…not to mention, excels at it.

Mr. Hidai also went to England in 2005 to compete in the World Archery Championship.
He said “Being 70 years old (at the time), I was really surprised to make it to the World Championships!”

But fate dealt Takashi Hidai another blow.
His daughter, whom he said constantly encouraged him with a smile, died nineteen years ago of cancer.
She was only 28 years old and had just became a mother only six-months prior.

He wishes she was still here to encourage him when he plays at the 2010 Paralympics in Canada next month.

Sea Shepherd

7 Feb

Do you know the group called “Sea Shepherd“?
They are an American anti-whaling group. Their leader and founder is Paul Watson. He has become infamous in Japan.

Unlike the group “Greenpeace” who protest and petition groups and laws that they’re against, Sea Shepherd actively follows and attacks whaling vessels.

It is often said that Japan, Iceland and Norway are the only countries that practice whaling in modern times. But in smaller numbers, Inuit Eskimos in Canada hunt whales, as do some islands in the Caribbean, Greenland, Indonesia, The Netherlands, Russia, and Alaskan Eskimos in the United States.

Even though these countries hunt whales legally with permission the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the Sea Shepherd group follows whaling fleets with the intention of disrupting them in an attempt to end whale hunting.

Japanese whalers, in particular, are targeted mainly because they get past the international ban on commercial whaling by conducting whaling for “scientific research” purposes (with the extra meat being sold to restaurants and supermarkets), (Norway and Iceland simply ignore the commercial whaling ban), and because Japan hunts more whales than other countries.

Personally, I think 鯨肉 (whale meat) is tasty.

鯨肉 (whale meat)

鯨肉 (whale meat)

But, like most people in Japan, I don’t eat it often. And I have heard that there are an over-abundance of whales in the world’s oceans…but I’ve also heard that they’re close to extinct. I have no idea which statement is accurate. But if whales are almost extinct, then I certainly support an end to whaling.

But I don’t support the Sea Shepherd group. They’re actions at sea are dangerous and put human lives (both whalers’ and their own crews’) at risk.

It was reported today that the Sea Shepherd‘s flagship, the “Steve Irwin“, rammed Japanese whaling vessels last Thursday in their attempt to disrupt their hunt.

The "Sea Shepherd" rammed the "Yushin-maru".

The "Sea Shepherd" rammed the "Yushin-maru".

Whales are beautiful creatures and people in most countries could never imagine eating one…but that alone doesn’t mean they can’t be eaten by anyone.
As I said above, I’m not sure whether whaling should be stopped or not…but I am sure that the Sea Shepherd‘s dangerous actions should stop. Greenpeace has better tactics…getting the laws changed.