Annual eel-eating day becomes pricey treat in Japan
Japan Today -- Jul 21
As people in Japan treated themselves to grilled eels on eel-eating day Friday, many were faced with a larger bill amid soaring prices for the endangered fish.

The domestic catch of juvenile eels for cultivation dropped this season to the second-lowest level since records began being kept in 1982, leading to a rise in the wholesale price of grown eels by about 30 percent from a year ago.

On what is traditionally referred to as the "day of the ox" in summer, which falls twice this year, on Friday and Aug 1, many people in Japan eat eel, typically grilled with sweet soy sauce, to honor an old saying which promotes the consumption of eel to help the body withstand the summer heat.

Waiting in line for Kawatoyo, a well-established eel restaurant near Naritasan Shinshoji temple in Chiba Prefecture, to open at 10 a.m., 40-year-old Takanori Matsushima said, "I love eel and I always eat it on the day of the ox, even if it is a little more expensive than before."

Amid heightened concern over the depletion of the population of Japanese eels, which were designated as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2014, debate over tradition versus conservation continues.

News source: Japan Today
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