Ebisu is a popular food hub located in Tokyo and is currently hosting an annual food festival but with quite the controversy. Despite efforts of activists to ban the whole concept of whale hunting, this restaurant is promoting whale meat at their food festival with the idea of introducing the people to this different flavour.
“With so many foreign tourists visiting Japan now, we would like to show how we really feel,” Takashi Furui, one of the executives of the event said at a press conference for the festival launch. The Guardian reports that 13.4 million foreigners visited Japan in 2014, rising in number compared to 10.4 million the previous year. The source states that 12.9 million foreigners have already made their way to Japan currently citing preparations for the 2020 Olympics. It is said that about 30 restaurants in Ebisu are serving whale meat as part of their festival.
The reactions have been mixed, about the serving of whale meat and Canadian visitor Betty Lidington told AFP, “I don’t believe I would do that unless I was absolutely starving and there was nothing else to eat, I don’t really want to, and I won’t miss it if I don’t taste a whale.” But a French tourist was more open to the concept saying, “It doesn’t shock me to eat different kinds of food and meat, I could try some, maybe, yeah.”
When we think Japan, we usually think Sushi, but this controversial food culture has definitely generated some mixed feelings. We don’t know if we’d be a fan, but would you ever try whale meat?