Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Anti-Fur Rally

On Sunday, Pamela and I woke up early (much to my delight after a night of drinking and karaoke with my cousin who is visiting at the moment...) and headed off to an anti-fur demonstration in Osaka. In case you are not aware, fur is big business in Japan. In fact, right now, it's everywhere. I can barely walk down the street without being confronted by a disgusting shop window display or some girl with a gross fur scarf on. I've never seen so much fur in my life and so little public outcry about it.
Anyway, this was the first protest that I'd been to in Japan and it was pretty good. Of course, since it was in Japan, we had to be well organised and supervised and it was hardly the rousing and energetic demo that I'm used to in the UK (albeit with a refreshing lack of police brutality).
Unfortunately, me and Pamela were not exactly in the best of moods. And when we arrived both of us instantly scanned and noted the number of leather items adorning the protesters. How ironic and yet how unsurprising for anyone who has lived in or experienced Japan for long enough. Actually, that's not fair - it's not just Japanese people that can't draw that parallel; it's about 80% of the people who are against the use of fur. Anyway, I tried to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and hope that perhaps it was pleather or another cheap imitation (because even I own a pair of boots that look quite like leather but are actually just a cheap crappy synthetic). Had we quizzed people on how long they'd been veg*n.... well, I think we may have been thoroughly dissapointed.

Here are some pictures from the march:

I chose to carry a placard with a message on one side and a picture of a skinned fox on the other. I caught a lot of people looking and turning away in disgust and Pamela spotted one girl who we think was crying because of what she saw. Of course, since fur is so popular here and part of the route took us down the busiest shopping area in the south of Osaka, there were a number of people wearing fur items. Some of them walked away, some of them covered the offending article and some of them brazenly stared, walked on and seemed unaffected. As with any protest, there were unfortunately a few asshats who made comments and I wished at that moment that I knew how to say "you have no heart" in Japanese. Honestly, I have no idea how someone can be confronted with images such as those on the placards and be unphased. But then again, how many people know the pain and suffering involved in the meat and dairy industries and yet continue to support them? *sigh*

After the protest, we headed off to Umeda (the northern center of Osaka city) to see our boyfriends' band. The show was sponsored by Thrasher magazine so there was also a small skate ramp in the hall they were using. In between band sets, me and Pam caught up with a member of Child School TV: the second band to play that day. Gome (that's his name) is pretty frickin awesome and not only did he give us each a t-shirt, since it had been our birthdays recently, but he also talked to us about how he really wants to become a vegetarian. We talked for a while about the best way for him proceed and agreed that first he should elimate all beef, pork and poultry from his diet. Then after that, he can start working on the fish thing (I'd say that fish is by far the hardest thing for a Japanese person to give up since it's in so many dishes and in so many forms). Well, later on, he went to Subway and came back to tell us that he got the egg and vegetable sandwich. I, so very unsuble that I am, let out a dissapointed sigh at this because I hoped he would have got the avocado veggie option. But for him, skipping the meat, was a big deal so I have to give him props for that. I guess we'll see how he does as time goes on. I think he really agrees with us but it's just hard to change your mindset after almost 28 years of thinking that eating and using animals is not only acceptable but not even a moral issue.

GxOxMxE - 頑張れ!

-- Sarah

1 comment:

Terra said...

Subway has an avocado veggie option in Japan? Wow, how progressive!

I know the non-vegan world can be depressing, but even making a few people aware that even one type of animal exploitation is in fact an ethical issue is a start, right? Of course there's going to be cultural inertia...but there's not much you can do except save your energy for the battles you can win, I guess.