How does everyone feel about tsukamidori (つかみ取り)?

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How does everyone feel about tsukamidori (つかみ取り)?

Post by Zakiyama » Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:22 pm

Tsukamidori is catching fish by hand usually out of a pool or tank, sometimes out of the river. Sometimes water is fed into the pool from a nearby river, sometimes it's just tap water, which weakens the fish and makes them easier to catch.

We recently got an invitation, and, after literally researching release of stress hormones in fish in response to being chased around in grad school, it wouldn't be fun for me anymore. When my kid is older, if she wants to join, I will won't stop her.

I've done tsukamidori before, I get it, it's fun. You are about to eat them anyway. They are just fish without "higher cognition". And they taste awesome!

I guess, especially since becoming a parent, my already high empathy is even higher, and I would feel better not seeing living things under unnecessary stress.

I'm not judging, I'm just curious how everyone feels about it?

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Zasso Nouka
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Re: How does everyone feel about tsukamidori (つかみ取り)?

Post by Zasso Nouka » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:42 am

It's a tricky one that, I'm sure it's not a pleasant experience for the fish but at the same time it's probably somewhat comparable to what cows, pigs and chickens experience on their way to the abattoir or fish caught at sea as they are pulled out of the ocean. There's no getting away from the fact that if you are going to eat meat then the creature you are eating has been through a bit of a rough time before it got to your plate.

I guess at the end of the day it's all about personal choice and what you are most comfortable with. Before coming to Japan I used to be a vegetarian but would never have dreamed of criticising someone for eating meat anymore than criticising someone for choosing to be a vegan.

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Re: How does everyone feel about tsukamidori (つかみ取り)?

Post by gonbechan » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:57 am

It is certainly less cruel than those poor goldfish at matsuri.
At least they get eaten and not just taken home in a plastic bag and then 90% of the time left to die in said bag or a jam jar.

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Re: How does everyone feel about tsukamidori (つかみ取り)?

Post by Zakiyama » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:03 pm

gonbechan wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:57 am
It is certainly less cruel than those poor goldfish at matsuri.
At least they get eaten and not just taken home in a plastic bag and then 90% of the time left to die in said bag or a jam jar.
True! Japan for sure is not at the frontier of animal rights. I'm seeing more and more the matsuri goldfish around here being replaced with bouncy balls or toy fish. Maybe it's getting impractical to use goldfish, yay!
Zasso Nouka wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:42 am
It's a tricky one that, I'm sure it's not a pleasant experience for the fish but at the same time it's probably somewhat comparable to what cows, pigs and chickens experience on their way to the abattoir or fish caught at sea as they are pulled out of the ocean. There's no getting away from the fact that if you are going to eat meat then the creature you are eating has been through a bit of a rough time before it got to your plate.
Very true. Every animal meant for food will have at least one bad day. I have come to terms with that. When we eventually get livestock, I want to make a point of habituating the animals, and even making positive associations, to aspects of the slaughtering process. Like getting them used to the trailer and being transported.

I guess I'm hung up on the killing-as-entertainment aspect of tsukamidori in a pool full of tap water. In a river seems a little more sporting and closer to a hunting type of killing.

I want to foster a respect for life such that killing for food is a solemn practice that invokes gratitude towards the animal. Tsukamidori is billed as a fun activity for children to play with the fish, at least in this village. It was organised by the health center as a parenting group event.
Zasso Nouka wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:42 am
I guess at the end of the day it's all about personal choice and what you are most comfortable with. Before coming to Japan I used to be a vegetarian but would never have dreamed of criticising someone for eating meat anymore than criticising someone for choosing to be a vegan.
Well said! This brings up my other concern. I am happy to quietly not participate and let everyone else, including my family, do what they enjoy and are comfortable with. I'm hesitant to share with the parenting group the reason I didn't want to participate. I don't want to make them "wrong" or feel judged. On the other hand, it's likely has never occurred to them the fish are in distress or what example this sets for their children about killing. I also don't want to increase the wall of cultural differences that already exists between us.

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Re: How does everyone feel about tsukamidori (つかみ取り)?

Post by gonbechan » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:23 pm

Japanese believe that fish do not feel pain or have no pain receptors.
Even though research has shown this is not true, there is still heavy debate among Japanese.

https://macaro-ni.jp/35055

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Re: How does everyone feel about tsukamidori (つかみ取り)?

Post by Zasso Nouka » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:38 am

Zakiyama wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:03 pm
I am happy to quietly not participate and let everyone else, including my family, do what they enjoy and are comfortable with. I'm hesitant to share with the parenting group the reason I didn't want to participate. I don't want to make them "wrong" or feel judged. On the other hand, it's likely has never occurred to them the fish are in distress or what example this sets for their children about killing. I also don't want to increase the wall of cultural differences that already exists between us.
I honestly think this is an excellent approach. If folk are genuinely interested and curious as to why you don't participate and open to learning more they can ask you and you can then use that opening to broaden their thinking. If it hasn't even occurred to them then you won't run the risk of making them feel wrong without them understanding your underlying thinking.
Zakiyama wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:03 pm
True! Japan for sure is not at the frontier of animal rights. I'm seeing more and more the matsuri goldfish around here being replaced with bouncy balls or toy fish. Maybe it's getting impractical to use goldfish, yay!
So true, so true. Yet there are changes happening and by slow degrees. Some supermarkets are starting to promote free range eggs now and sellers like PAL System and others also promote ethical choices, we get some lovely beef from a farmer up north that raises all his animals free range rather than shuttered up in tiny stalls their entire lives.
Zakiyama wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:03 pm
Very true. Every animal meant for food will have at least one bad day. I have come to terms with that. When we eventually get livestock, I want to make a point of habituating the animals, and even making positive associations, to aspects of the slaughtering process. Like getting them used to the trailer and being transported.
That's an awesome approach to aim for and hopefully one day it will become more widespread for animals to be treated that way.