Normally the sea fisherman's job is a tough one, with lives often at risk in the constant hunt for food.
Normally the sea fisherman's job is a tough one, with lives often at risk in the constant hunt for food. Because of the demand, the elusive octopus is one of the most sought-after delicacies in many parts of the world. Japan as the world's largest fish-eating nation, consumed a lot of them. Even though it is important, in one part of the country the search for the octopus is literally child's play.
SYNOPSIS: On the northern coast of central Japan it look like a fisherman's nightmare, with rough seas lashing the rocky shores. But even here, in an area notorious for long cold winters, the sun sometimes shines...and when it does, the local children go octopus hunting. The first part of the job is to catch some crabs for the bait, and there are plenty around the rock pools. The helping hand of an experienced adult is sometimes needed though, to show exactly how it is done. with the live crabs tied to the bait pole with thread, the young octopus hunters set off for deeper water. The technique may look a bit unkind to the crabs but in fact they sometimes live happily ever after. They are only used in a decoy role, to tempt the wily octopus from its lair.
The octopus is a favourite food in this part of Japan, just as in many parts of the world. And, like everywhere else, it requires patience and cunning to catch one. Because the sea is usually so rough they spend most of their time lurking in small caves in the rocks. But on clam days they come out for food, such as small fishes and shellfish. When the baited poles arrive, they go for the crabs and are aught with a harpoon. But the catch has to be made on the first jab, because if he gets away, the frightened octopus will not be seen again.
Up comes another one. The harpoons many be crude - just another along stick with a hook at the end - but they are obviously effective.
Even when it is out of the water, the octopus is still a slippery customer, and the young fisherman has to hang on tight. And the catch has to be watched all the way because it frequently tries to escape. Successful bids are rare, though, and most octopuses end up in the usual place - on the menu, alongside crabs like the ones that caught them.