Japan plans to have a whale of a time

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The Bug’s in-house investment and financial adviser can always be relied upon to deliver top tips to our readers on a range of matters – monetary and otherwise.

Dear Morrie

This is a bit outside the realm of financial advice, but I don’t know anyone else to ask. You see I’m concerned about the latest news that Japan is going to quit the International Whaling Commission and start commercial whaling again in their own waters.

As if it isn’t enough that over many years they have been killing thousands of whales each year in the name of “scientific research” (pictured above) while members of the IWC.

Now they are intent on defying any IWC bans and can catch and kill as many whales as they like.

Just what can be done? I don’t know what I can do to help stop them.

Whale Watcher
Hervey Bay

Dear Whale Watcher

I know exactly how you feel and since reading the news the old Morrie has been working overtime trying to think up ways to skewer the Japanese before they skewer more of those magnificent sea creatures.

I’ve never understood why they want to harvest whales. They seem to like the way they taste and, having tried it myself while in Tokyo, it’s hard to fathom.

A few years back I was in Japan on a business trip lining up agents for a tourist venture I was planning. I’d had the idea of organising holidays for Japanese war veterans coming to the Pacific region.

My idea was to show them the sites of their major and humiliating defeats or places where they hideously tortured Allied soldiers, that sort of thing. It all stacked up in my mind as a pretty good little earner.

I’d even registered a business name here — Tora Tora Tours — but it all fell apart when I repeatedly got the cold shoulder on my trip to Japan.

Anyway, that’s when whale meat first passed my lips. I was at a loose end one night and thought I’d shout myself a slap-up traditional Japanese dinner. So I asked at my hotel and they recommended a restaurant not far away. So I picked up the phone to book a table and a geisha girl for the night.

Now, here’s a confession the old Morrie has to make. I’m not usually one to carry a grudge, but it’s always been a practice of mine to make dinner bookings at Japanese eateries for 7.45pm.

Invariably they ask to confirm the time and it’s always with a sense of satisfaction I can say: “On the 24-hour clock that’s 1945.” Yeah, sure, the joke has bombed a few times and I accept it’s not politically correct but I only do it in memory of my Uncle Alec who died in Changi.

Admittedly it was from a heart attack in a fire escape stairwell at Changi Airport in Singapore in the late-1980s while getting a blowie from an off-duty Taiwanese air hostess, but it’s all part of Asia isn’t it?

Anyway, back to Tokyo. I ended up at the restaurant and what a disappointment it was. It seemed this joint — whose name I can’t write or pronounce in Japanese but I think translated as the Blubber Hut — specialised in whale dishes.

The trouble started at the door when some old oriental chook in a silk dressing gown and lily white face bent down to take off my shoes. Thinking of Uncle Alec, I mistook her intentions and unbuttoned and dropped my strides, and whipped out Mini Morrie.

Apologies made, she led me to the table and, bugger me, there’s no bloody chairs. Not even a spare sake barrel to plant my arse on. So she gestured for me to sit my bum on a cushion on the floor.

I asked about the geisha girl I’d booked. The old bird stirred a cooking pot on the table with chopsticks and swiftly picked something up and shoved it in my mouth.

As she did she explained in broken English that she was the geisha, then asked if I’d like another morsel of whale steak.

Well, to put it bluntly she was more geezer than geisha and no amount of sake and Suntory chasers could make me want to see her wooden thongs next to my futon in the morning. And as for the whale meat, I spat that out, flung a few yen on the table and got out of the place quick smart, going back a few moments later only to collect my shoes.

Ever since that night I’ve developed a dislike of the idea of eating whales and would do anything to stop the Japanese harpooning them and slicing them up and throwing them on the barbie.

So I’ve set up a special fund to conduct a massive re-education campaign in Japan that will eventually see demand for whale meat dry up — a lot like that old geisha.

I envisage it being a fairly intensive and lengthy campaign. That means it’s going to cost a motza. So if you want to help, just send a donation — one or two Ks at the bare minimum — to my new fund and I’ll get things moving at my end.

Send a cheque made out to Caring Australians Saving Humpbacks.

Bugger it, to save your time and mine, just make it out to CASH.

I’ll be in touch.


Morrie Bezzle is chairman of Hero She Ma Harpoon Explosives Pty Ltd, chief executive of In For The Krill Bait Boxes, and general manager of Sherpa Flensing Gurkha Knives (Kathmandu) Pty Ltd.