Saturday, April 10, 2010

It's the gastronomy, stupid

Inevitably, a week in Tokyo always has a lot to do with food.

Not only because the issues that bring me here rarely haven't got to do with living marine resources conservation. But also because the majority of the city's restaurants and food stores are an aventure for one's Western taste buds and eyes.

Here this week I coincidentally ran into Patrick Ramage of IFAW who took me to his favorite Tokyo restaurant, called Kaikaya by the Sea a few blocks from Shibuya square.

A very nice, crowded place with excellent cuisine japonaise. But what I found most remarkable, and unusual in Japan (or in most fish restaurants in the world), was the decoration with slogans that looked almost like the walls of a Greenpeace office. See this photo for example:

No Ocean ---> No Earth
---> No Fish
---> No Life
---> No Kaikaya ---> No Money
No heaven <----

Very good: with these seven words, the restaurant manager captures the essence of environmental economics (and environmental ethics -- that's the heaven bit), all put very simply.

I was told the manager can't guarantee that all the fish he cooks and sells is from sustainable harvesting, but he's trying. And if it was more readily available, that'd be his choice. Of course, because no fish ---> no life ---> no money ---> no heaven. Hell!

Japan is hosting this year in Nagoya the Conference of Parties to the Conference on Biological Diversity. Maybe the Kaikasa manager with his blackboard should be invited as a keynote speaker on Day 1 of the conference.

[I'm glad I've written this post, because next time I'm in Tokyo I wont need to chase up Patrick to ask him to remind me the name and location of this place]

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