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Vincentians experience taste of Japanese culture

Vincentians  experience taste of Japanese culture

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by Jason Browne

Activities to mark Fisherman’s Month continued last Friday, with ‘Japan Day’ being held at the Fisheries Division at Little Tokyo.

The showcase of Japanese Culture included a ‘tea ceremony’; the writing of names in Japanese symbols or Kanji;{{more}} and two volunteer students from the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) modelling Japanese traditional wear, the kimono, which was a big hit with the students.

Sushi and sashumi (Japanese fish dishes) were served, accompanied by sauces made with locally caught fish. Another fish dish, the Nanbanzuke, consists of fried unseasoned robin or skip jack, soaked overnight in vinegar and soy sauce. The entire fish is eaten from head to tail, the bones being softened by the two parts vinegar and one part soy sauce concoction. The dish can be enjoyed with onion, celery or pepper.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT, senior fisheries officer Lorenzo George said some persons were “sceptical” of the raw fish, while the school aged students seemed more receptive.

George said this “speaks well” towards the future of Japan Day and overall, the day’s activites were “well received.”

The connection between Japan and SVG goes both ways, as SEARCHLIGHT learned.

Mitsuhiro Ishida, Japanese marine biologist in the Caribbean Fisheries Co-Management Project, CARIFICO, highlighted the 35th anniversary of Vincentian/Japanese collaboration. In his seven years in the region, this was his first Japan Day, which he said he enjoyed, though he was visibly tired. He commended the steady work of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), along with Japan Overseas Cooperative Association and its volunteers in facilitating the work which was on display for Japan Day.

Speaking about the day’s activities, he recalled the students’ enthusiasm about the Kanji writing, Japanese yoyo exhibits and the kimono wearing students from the Technical and Vocational Division of the SVGCC.

“They will never ever forget about this ceremony, that I believe…

“They are where the future of our relationship exists.”

In comparing the cultures of the Caribbean and Japan, Ishida describes the region as “more relaxed” than the “hustle and bustle” of Japan.

A new convert to the taste of black fish crisps and Caribbean rum, he, however, recognized that “the sense of work is the same….. when we work, in the Caribbean, everybody works together, and hard to the same objective…”

He made mention of the relaxation time he uses to look at the ocean and enjoy calypso and soca. Through the exposure to the Caribbean, he is learning to “work hard and play hard.”

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