Today my parents, The Penpal, and her family had plans to visit a few local places together. I collected my parents in the morning at their hotel and brought them to my apartment to wait for our rides. My apartment wasn’t all that interesting, so we wandered across the street to check out the small supermarket.
Visiting a supermarket in a foreign country is always an interesting experience. You really get a sense of the differences between cultures by what’s available at the grocery store. My parents were interested in the tiny shopping carts (by Canadian standards), the different assortment of fruits and vegetables, and the rows of boxes that I couldn’t read. We ended up in the fish section, which was about double the size of the meat section. This is almost exactly the opposite of a typical Canadian supermarket.
My parents were looking at all of the different fish options available, when my mom came across one package with a nice dark red colour that we hadn’t seen before. She asked me what kind of fish it was, and I was actually able to read the label; “iruka”. I calmly told my mom that she was looking at dolphin meat.
(No, I’m not posting a picture!)
My mom didn’t think that was particularly funny, and asked me to tell her what it really was. I told her that she was seriously, honestly, looking at a package of dolphin meat. It’s not a common thing to find in the supermarket, but not unheard of in a country that is okay eating just about anything that comes out of the ocean. My mom was suddenly no longer interested in hanging out in the fish section!
I’m personally not sure how I feel about the idea of dolphin meat. It’s hard for me to come into another country and say that they shouldn’t eat certain animals when I know that people don’t approve of the animals that are commonly eaten in Canada. The one thing that I do know is that after two and a half years in Japan I was a lot less shocked by the idea than my poor mom!
Like I said, visiting a supermarket in a foreign country is always an interesting experience.