Sunday, April 27, 2008

Save the Asakusa seaweeds

Asakusa is just an old sector of Tokyo, which has nothing to do with marine lives.
Most of the tourists there may think so.
However, the name of the place means "Shallow grass". It can be interpreted as the reeds in the shallow water. Half a millennium ago, Asakusa was on the sea.

When they eat sushi rolls, people never think Asakusa was once well known for the cultivation of nori, the paper-like seaweeds wrapping the roll in their hand.
Now the wetlands at the river mouth of the Sumida have been turned into the reclaimed lands, and the sea weeds cannot grow there any more.
Asakusa nori is on the verge of extinction.

There are a few men in Chiba, the neighbouring prefecture to Tokyo, who are trying to revive the species in Tokyo Bay. Though it is polluted, its marine resources are surprisingly diverse. Those guys are unsung heroes protecting the endangered species.

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