Hajimemashite. Julian Garrison to moushimasu. Connecticut no Westport to iu
machi kara mairimashita. Nihon no anime wo mite,nihongo ga kirei de omoshiroi kotoba dato omoita
koto ga kikkakede, nihongo no benkyou wo hajimemashita.
Welcome to 自己紹介(Jikoshoukai), or self-introduction. Japanese has a variety of different structures and forms for different social situations, and this is one we’ll be using a lot. Here, I used “Keigo,” which encompasses both honorific and humble forms, and specifically I used the humble forms in introducing myself, where I’m from, and why I’m interested in Japanese. We learned Keigo this past year in second year Japanese at Bowdoin; meanwhile, Ethan (who was abroad) and Karen (who’s in first-year Japanese) are basically getting a crash course in Keigo today and these next few days. がんばる！Good luck!
Our readings for today, “Four-fold Disaster” and “Endless Modernization: Fisheries Policy and Development in Postwar Japan,” were both authored by Satsuki Takahashi, who we’ll actually be meeting while we’re in Japan. As for lecture, Professors Amy Johnson and Olaf Ellers (in my mind, the dynamic duo of marine biology) talked to us about fisheries and population growth models, using the readings as a springboard and Maine’s cod fishery as a key example. Put simply, fisheries around the world, regardless of species, have followed the same pattern: a period of high harvest rates, followed by decline as regulators and scientists alike try to figure out sustainable quotas, then a crash and collapse of the entire fishery. Rinse and repeat. You’d think we’d learn by now? Today’s discussion also had echoes of our discussion yesterday about how historians engage with the sciences; in this case, how do fisheries regulators and fishermen engage with scientists in determining acceptable catch limits. Turns out, scientists are often distrusted when it comes to things like fisheries; it doesn’t help that some models, such as the Maximum Sustainable Yield model, usually don’t work (since they fail to account for environmental variability). People simply, and understandably, don’t like being told where, when, what, and how to fish, especially when historically these fisheries may have operated just fine without regulator or scientist intervention. But technology advances and with it our ability to catch vast quantities of fish.
I didn’t quite get the chance to bring it up today, but community-based fisheries management, mentioned in “Endless Modernization” and a concept that came up a lot in several of my classes last semester, is also another possible strategy. It gets the fishermen on the ground involved with the research or monitoring and regulation of their own fisheries, alongside rather than at odds with scientists and regulators. If I recall correctly, Maine’s lobster fishery practices community-based management to quite a degree of success. I think it’s also interesting how this distrust of science could play into or inform my own project on aquariums and how they serve the dual purpose of engaging in conservation efforts as well as educating the public of the value of marine life and the oceans.
Edit (5/24/17): Almost forgot to include the questions for Satsuki Takahashi I came up with while reading the two readings, and also some that we came up with as a group:
- How do consumers and fishermen alike balance the cultural/social/economic value of fish with the sigma or fear of radiation-contaminated fish?
- What substitutes are available, or is it a matter of simply shifting to a different region for purchase/import?
- How does contamination (or fear of it) indirectly affect consumers (public and commercial) of fish? Economically? Mentally? Socially?
- Are there any regional specialties (of seafood) in radiation-contaminated regions and, if so, what are perceptions (consumer, fisher, commercial) of those? Are they valued enough as regional specialties to warrant the (perceived) risk?
- How do biology and ecology fit into this radiation-contamination story? That is, what biological and ecological forces are also at work?
- To what extent is there (fishermen) fear or wariness of regulation in Japan?
- What fisheries models are being used in Japan and how does radiation alter these models?
- If applicable, how do scientists or policymakers in Japan incentivize adoption of these models by fishermen? Is it enough to overcome any distrust?
As an aside, and before I forget, I was also interviewed by Tom Porter from Communications about my project. Apparently, Communications wants to do a piece on our trip before and during/after we leave for Japan. Pretty exciting! Hopefully I spoke loud enough…