Whaling Season & Whale School

Opening Day of whale season!
On June 20, whaling season began in the small town of Wada, on the tip of the Bōsō Peninsula, a hundred miles southeast of Tokyo. The start of whale season is a community event that includes ‘Whale School’, the hunt itself and a public flensing (cleaning) of the whale. After the flensing, the town feasts on the first whale of the season. Mr. Yosinori Shoji, President of Gaibo Hogei Corporation, LTD, leads these events (photo 1).

Photo 1: Wada town map and display of three Baird’s beaked whales, Berardius bairdii, Wadaura train station. 

Shoji-san comes from a family of whalers. A fire in the 1930’s burned the local temple and so obscured the history of his family and of whaling in Wada. [In Japan, temples house the town’s records, much like churches in Europe.] As a young man, Shoji-san spent several years in Seattle (University of Washington) and Los Angeles learning the seafood business. He eventually returned to Wada to take over his father’s whaling company. Continue reading


Hello from NAU@GCC

Hello GCC students! Did you know that Northern Arizona University has a location right here on your campus offering a variety of bachelor’s degree choices? This means you can continue learning, without ever leaving. Awesome, right?

Starting this fall semester, we will have two new degrees: a BAS in Administration and a BA or BS in Interdisciplinary Studies: Technology Management. Continue reading

Enko Matsuri: Kappa Festival, Part II

The small town of Nankokushi lies east of Kōchi City, Shikoku Island. Nankokushi is famous for its centuries-old Enko Matsuri (mythological creature e.g. kappa, festival). This January the festival was recognized as a significant part of Japan’s intangible cultural heritage.

Enko Matsuri takes place the first Saturday of June. We went this year to witness the event and to find answers to our questions: What is the purpose of the festival? And why is it held the first Saturday of June? Finally, I hoped to learn more definitely: What are Kappa? We arrived at 1 p.m., June 4. The answers to our questions emerged over the course of the event and into the night. Continue reading

Hope for the Future

There’s not much power available and if so, the internet is usually down, so I’m writing quickly!

We have been working at orphanages non-stop. We helped build a play ground, the only play ground here and the kids went wild.  The kids have no idea about “stranger danger” because most just want to be loved and touched.  They dive into your arms not caring who you are except someone who will hug them. Most have some illness, infection, and all definitely malnourished.

Darol and I are traveling the next few days with a man named Zachriah, who is a paraplegic. He began an organization that restores dignity and independence to the disabled. We are supplying wheel chairs, building ramps, giving wound care and supplements to help boost the people’s nutritional status and immune system. The number one killer of the disabled here are pressure wounds and urinary track infections.  Each with the proper equipment and nutrition can alleviate that.

Our hope as a team in the future, is to begin an out reach to supply nutritional supplements and sustainable nutrition to those suffering in addition to equipment much needed such as wheel chairs, etc…

We spent a day in the local hospital and for a few moments my heart broke and I felt discouraged. One pregnant woman was paralyzed because of lack of B vitamins. She lost use of her hands and feet three months in to her pregnancy due to nutritional deficiency.  Most of the time, it can be permanent damage but we are supplying the nutrition in hopes to restore her independence. Her husband left her because of her disability; she has no family, can not feed herself, can not take herself to the toilet and is about to give birth any day now.

My how we waste our good food in America. I am thankful for what we have there and it is my hope and desire that we can all begin to appreciate the abundance of health we could have if we only chose to respect our options.