September 14, 2018
Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Pref.- A group of five foreign men, mostly of Japanese descent, has started work to communicate the attraction of Japanese culture such as "washoku" local cuisine through hands-on experiences in fishing and farming.
The quintet, aged 17 to 23, includes fashion models and actors who hail from Brazil or have a Japanese or American parent.
The group has named itself "Ase Bound," a reference to inbound visitors and the Japanese word "ase," or sweat, suggesting that the members work up sweat in experiencing Japanese culture.
In late August, the members took part in fixed-net fishing with cooperation from the fisheries cooperative of Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo. After their ship set sail late at night, they engaged in sorting out catches into species, such as mackerel, horse mackerel and barracuda.
After finishing up the work, they were served with sashimi at the port. "I didn't know fresh sashimi is so delicious," said one member who had avoided raw fish.
The members said they hope to try fish cuisine that goes with dishes from their ancestral countries.
"We want to experience fishing at many locations and also try cooking," said Martin, the 23-year-old leader of the group.
They plan to tour production sites and major wholesale fish markets, while studying Japanese food culture broadly, not only seafood but also agricultural produce.
With visitors from abroad on a steep increase in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, one member said, "We want to highlight the beauty of Japan by publicizing the attractions of washoku and many areas on the Internet, mainly to people visiting Japan." Jiji Press
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