Ocean pigs

I ate ocean pig a couple of months ago in Asakusa.  The red juicy flesh, fried dark brown and tender, was chewy and tasty, although pricey. 

My tour group makes break for freedom yesterday lunchtime in Shinbashi.

I remembered ocean pig yesterday lunchtime.  I was in Kaba, a Tottori chain restaurant in Shinbashi.  Salaryman in white short-sleeve shirts were wolfing down their teishoku (set meal).  Cheery, genki waiting staff spoke Tottori dialect, all shouting out “dan dan” (thank you) to leaving customers.   

Looking at the menu, I spotted Yamakujira, this literally translates as mountain whale.  Yamakujira is an old Japanese term to describe 4 legged mammal meat – particularly boar.  Calling the dish mountain whale was a way of avoiding upsetting the non-meat eating Buddhists.  

A mountain whale advert, making hairy boar eating respectable.

Changing a name to create a new image is a popular idea.  In Japan, tuna is also known as sea chicken.  Horsemeat becomes cherry blossom.  A bath shared with a prostitute used to be called a  Turkish bath; then after complaints from the Turkish embassy, it became Soapland.

It`s not about changing the content, just the name.  In the UK, to improve it`s image, the disaster-prone Windscale nuclear plant changed it`s name to Sellafield.  Perhaps Fukushima should become Sunny Funtime Lovepeace Valley.  It`s either that or come up with a new name for radiation.  The current one is too frightening.

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