Monday, December 2, 2013

Letter to USA Today: Travel to Taiji

UPDATE: looks like USA Today has pulled the piece promoting Taiji as a tourist destination that this letter was a response to. Will keep the letter here anyway. Thanks, USA Today!

Dear USA Today,

I recently came across your piece suggesting Taiji, Japan as a vacation destination, and I must admit my surprise at the piece, having been there twice myself.

Firstly, I think you do the town of Taiji a great disservice by completely ignoring the natural beauty of the landscape. It is one of the most stunning places I’ve ever been, with absolutely gorgeous mountains. The ocean views are always breathtaking, whether they’re clear, Pacific blue, the fiery orange reflection of sunset, or the deep, blood red of the daily dolphin slaughter that is perpetrated there from September to March.

Secondly, Taiji is plastered with signs forbidding photography throughout the town. I understand the town’s desire to prevent people from documenting the bloody process by which the aquarium you mentioned acquires its captives, but why travel someplace if one can’t share photos with friends at home?

I am also shocked you would suggest staying at Dolphin Resort, one of the key locations for activists opposed to the dolphin slaughter. For half the year, the hotel is swarmed with people documenting and reporting on the status of the captives in Dolphin Base, behind the hotel. The activists are absolutely polite and respectful, but traveling to the middle of a protest is not my idea of a vacation.

You also failed to mention local cuisine, a large part of any vacation. You noted that the adventurous can swim with dolphins, but completely neglected the fact that true risk-takers can eat them at the museum, aquarium and other spots around town as well. Since the dolphins served as food and performing at the aquarium are from the same family pods, that’s really the only way to get the full Taiji dolphin experience. Sure, their flesh contains dangerously high levels of mercury and other contaminants, but who worries about that while on vacation?

In short, Taiji has all the makings of a great vacation spot, but until they stop killing and capturing dolphins, the town will never be a true travel destination. Not only does every trip there fund the bloody slaughter of these beautiful and intelligent creatures, but the massacre and their desire to cover it up have made the town itself inhospitable to visitors.

Thank you,


Anonymous said...

Wow great letter!

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