Yesterday the annual katsuo Bushi (dried katsuo, dried bonito) auctions were held at the Yaizu Katsuo Bushi Suisan Kakou Kyoudou Kumiai/焼津鰹節水産加工共同組合 (Yaizu Dried Bonito Marine Products Processing Cooperative) in Yaizu City, Kamikosugi, 9-1.
It was a bit of an expedition as I had to go first to Fujieda JR Station by train and then take a bus down near the Shizuhama Air Force Base of all places and still ask my way there to finish on foot! (Fortunately I could use the Cooperative bus on the way back which took to the Yaizu JR Station!)
Although we are talking of marine products, we are still far from the sea and in the middle of farmland!
But I knew I had arrived at the right place!
I had arrived a bit late, and some employees were packing back some sold lots!
The dried katsuo is also called “himoshi”. Katsuo bushi means the himoshi processed into shavings.
I picked up a copy of the auction pamphlet that all dealers took with them inside the auction hall!
Mr. Kinya Hasegawa, the sales director who kindly authorized me to interview the auction!
The katsuo bushi emblem on the back of his “happi”!
Dried katsuo auctions are held in Kagoshima prefecture, Kyushu Island and Yaizu City every year.
The products on auction mainly come from both Prefectures but dealers come from everywhere in japan including Tokyo and Osaka!
The above batches come from satsuma, Kagoshima Prefecture, Kyushu Island!
Batch from Shizuoka producers!
More products from Satsuma!
A view of the auction upon entering the hall!
A simple explanation of the process.
I took good note for the next interview actually involving the process at a local producer!
The sample lots being aligned before being auctioned.
There were a total of 228 batches of dried bonito and a few of dried mackerel.
All in all more than 57 tonnes were auctioned on that single day!
To think that the auctions in Kagoshima prefecture are even bigger!
Each auction lot carries a leaflet marked with the name of the producer, the number(s) of the lot(s), and numbers indicating the kind of fish and its origin!
The dried katsuo comes in two types, covered with edible mold, or “naked”.
Dried mackerel comes only in “naked” state.
The order of the auctions is more or less according to the quality with mackerel coming last.
The Yaizu auctioneers!
It did require a lot of energy for more than 2 hours of auctioning!
Each participant held an auction pamphlet and auction slips with their company names printed on them.
Participants handed their price slip to the staff as each lot rolled in front of them.
The slips were then handed to the three auctioneers.
There were other staff on hand to record all the procedures of course!
Each auction was confirmed with three hand claps from the auctioneers!
The results were written down in chalk immediately for all to take notes!
The first time I see such a rolling blackboard!
An employee was waiting in front of the blackboard to take away the batches right after the auction had been concluded.
Then each lot was rolled down under the blackboard for disposal!
A green tea break was even scheduled during that heavy screaming work!
The lots being stored for delivery to the dealers!
A very Japanese tradition to close the proceedings: sake offered to some lucky lottery winners!
Incidentally the sake was Hatukame “Maru” Junmai Ginjyou by Hatsukame Brewery in Okabe, Fujieda City!
I wonder if the lucky winners realized how good sake was!
I would like to thank all the staff and kind participants for all their great hospitality and answers to my queries!
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