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Kelp!

JAPAN | Wednesday, 11 September 2019 | Views [24]

Harvesting Kombu kelp,  Cape Nosappu, Nemuro

Harvesting Kombu kelp, Cape Nosappu, Nemuro

OCHIISHI NATURE CRUISES SAIL ONLY ON WEEKENDS.  Their website is so poorly translated from Japanese that we had to drive all the way to Ochiishi to get the bad news.  This would have been our last chance to get a good look at a spectacled guillemot.  Bummer! 

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            Ezo Fox                                         Sitka Deer

So it was back to the Shunkunitai Bird Sancturary.  The cranes were still out on the mudflats and we saw five more on the drive to Nemuro this morning, so that makes at least ten, 1% of the cranes in Japan.  We also saw an Ezo fox and a dozen Sitka deer, including one fawn.

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                  Cape Nosappu Lighthouse

On the off-chance that a guillemot or two might drift near shore, we drove out to the lighthouse/bird hide at Cape Nosappu.  It's surprising with the Kuril Islands dispute and all, but road signs on the Cape are written in Japanese, English and Russian.  It would have been another disappointing drive except for the kelp harvest.  Twenty or thirty nearly identical boats were working just offshore collecting long strands of kelp.  

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              The Kelp Fleet at Cape Nosappu

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                        Think I've got a big one

Kelpers, two men to a boat, manhandled long poles deep into the kelp beds and twirled the kelp like a fork-full of linguine.  Then they muscled the slimy mess into a pile of kelp already in the boat.  From what we could see, when the boats were filled, women would wade neck-deep in the water, unload the kelp and spread it out for drying.  

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          A Woman's Work is Never Done

I thought the the stuff would be used for nori, the brownish-green wrapper on sushi.  No, nori is seaweed, kelp is kombu.  Evidently there is a difference!  The kelp is spread to dry then compressed into bricks.  It is used in cooking as a stock and like nori, it is packed with vitamins and minerals.  The kombu from Cape Nosappu is especially prized.  Yum, yum!

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    Kombu drying in the Sun

Now we've learned something new.  And so have you!

 

 

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