I ate ocean pig a couple of months ago in Asakusa. The red juicy flesh, fried dark brown and tender, was chewy and tasty, although pricey.
I remembered ocean pig yesterday lunchtime. I was in Kaba, a Tottori chain restaurant in Shinbashi. Salaryman in white short-sleeve shirts were wolfing down their teishoku (set meal). Cheery, genki waiting staff spoke Tottori dialect, all shouting out “dan dan” (thank you) to leaving customers.
Looking at the menu, I spotted Yamakujira, this literally translates as mountain whale. Yamakujira is an old Japanese term to describe 4 legged mammal meat – particularly boar. Calling the dish mountain whale was a way of avoiding upsetting the non-meat eating Buddhists.
Changing a name to create a new image is a popular idea. In Japan, tuna is also known as sea chicken. Horsemeat becomes cherry blossom. A bath shared with a prostitute used to be called a Turkish bath; then after complaints from the Turkish embassy, it became Soapland.
It`s not about changing the content, just the name. In the UK, to improve it`s image, the disaster-prone Windscale nuclear plant changed it`s name to Sellafield. Perhaps Fukushima should become Sunny Funtime Lovepeace Valley. It`s either that or come up with a new name for radiation. The current one is too frightening.