Sakura Shrimps Fisherman in Yui: Hiroki Kubota-窪田弘毅!

A samurai of old? Hiroki Kubota-窪田弘毅!

The cherry shrimps spring catching season will be finished in three weeks before being resumed in late fall.
So yesterday, 23rd of May, it was high time I went looking for an old friend working half of the year as a cherry shrimps fisherman in Yui, Shimizu ku, Shizuoka City!

The cherry shrimps entry gate!

Although Yui has lately been incorporated into Shizuoka City it is still a bit far from the center of Shizuoka City, 5 stations away along the Tokaido Railway Line.
Once you get off Yui Station turn immediately to the right where you will see the Cherry Shrimps Gate at the entrance of Cherry Shrimps Street!

Have a look at the map conveniently set up near the station entrance!

Looking at the pictures you will discover there is lot to see in this little fishing village!

Now, be a bit nosy and you will find copies of old pictures on vending machines!

A fisherman’s life was really hard toil not so long ago, but they already knew how to enjoy themselves!

If you do not miss the entrance to the small (but nationally-known!) harbour past under the railway track you will notice this signboard!

It features a map of Suruga Bay between Omaezaki and the Izu Peninsula.
Every two days the departure time is clearly indicated, varying between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.!
The ships will be back between 10:30 and 12:00 p.m. depending upon the catch.

The ships, all owned by the Yui Cherry Shrimps fishermen Association are divided into four groups with a new destination every two days as well as a different departing order!

You will find two kinds of fishing ships inside Yui harbor:
The smaller cherry shrimps boats.

And the larger differently-equipped shirasu/sardine whiting boats.
The season and departing times are different for those and they do belong to another Association.

A grand view of the highly protected harbour from its land’s end!

The shirasu boats and private vessels are moored at the end of the harbor.

The Yui Harbor Fishermen Association building where the morning auctions are conducted! I will report there as early as 6:30 a.m. for my next interview!

The exit to the sea under the Tomei Expressway!

A view of the harbour from the sea’s end!

Both quays are dotted with accesses to fuel from where the ships can pump in their individual needs directly!

Ice is brought in bags in small trucks.

I finally found my man: Hiroki Kubota-窪田弘毅!
Hiroki is now a very young 43-year old samurai figure.
After graduating from Tokai University in Yokohama 23 years ago he decided to come back home and work as a cherry shrimp fisherman in Yui half of the year and spend the rest of the year abroad, Bali these days, to enjoy his passion: surfing!
He actually lost half of his right thumb this year in a surfing accident and still wears a plaster around his right hand and wrist!

It doesn’t matter how long you have been in the business, but you still have to go through a lot of very important chores such as oiling the machinery!

Checking the nets!

A last check to ensure the good unfurling of the nets!

Hiroki’s ship: Dai Ichi Wakamiya Maru!
Dai Ichi stands for “First” as the ships always work in teams of two with six crew on each ship!
“Maru” means “Ship”!

This little box is the privies!
They didn’t have it a long time ago!
The ships have been equipped with siphons only ten years ago to haul the shrimps from the nets held between ships!
The work had to be done with large baskets, ropes and pulleys before.
Hiroki assured me that the fishing has definitely become easier on the body!

Each ship is equipped with a stove constantly burning as the nights are cold at sea!
Hiroki’s crew mates, all great lads, invited to join me in the near future! I’m definitely tempted although the Dragon at home will probably disagree!

Checking one’s wet suit and personal belongings for a last time.

Waiting for the official start always announced over a loudspeaker.
Fishing is done only in the evenings of Spring and Fall when the shrimps rise from their usual depth under 200 metres to up to 50 metres below surface.
In Spring fishing is concentrated in the eastern half of the bay whereas in the fall it will be done in the Central part of the Suruga bay.

Still some time left to share a joke and a rumor!

Some mooring lines are already loosened and taken away.

Some of the crews are already putting on their fishing wet suits. Hiroki does seem to need his yet…

What may such men laugh about at such a time?

Our samurai does seem to be an old hand!

Getting the ice ready in the proper place!

Putting some of the protective buoys back aboard.

All ships are equipped with powerful radio and radar!

A last call to the girlfriend?

The last ships leaving!
Hiroki’s was one of the last that day as his ship would work in the nearby sea!

Hiroki’s ship leaving at last!

Speeding away!

Good luck guys, and have a good catch!


Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

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