President's column Vol.1

President's column

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少年の頃のあの豊かな海に戻したい 少年の頃のあの豊かな海に戻したい

The essence of this desire represents the passion for my outlook on life and serves as the driving force in my work.

This was about 40 years ago, probably when I was still in elementary school.

In the fall, my grandfather used to go to the neighborhood ditch and catch crawfish the size of my index finger.
In the afternoon on a fine day, he would pack the crawfish in a wooden box and head out to the ocean in Yokkaichi by bicycle with a fishing rod in one hand.

A couple of hours later, he would come home to show us the large mackerel that he caught, saying that it was big enough to feed everyone in the family.
The Ise Bay back then was truly a sea of fertility.
Sadly this is no longer the case.

The ocean had a hidden yet strong endurance beyond imagination and was brimming with vitality underneath the water.

About 20 years ago, at dusk in November, I spotted a school of Japanese horse mackerel for the first time in years.
There was a sense of urgency and I could tell right away that they were escaping a predator.
The predator was a finless porpoise, a creature related to dolphins.
The finless porpoise probably smelled a feast and came to the closed off section of the bay.
When the sun was just about to set, it caught the body of the porpoise and made it shine like a watermelon.

About five years ago, when I was traveling, I looked over from a plane on the Ise Bay that was no longer abundant with fish.
It was when we were about to land at Central Japan International Airport that I had to catch my breath.
I saw a family of finless porpoises taking a nap in the shallow waters.
I counted 7 or 8 of them and there were finless porpoises for sure.
It was offshore of Tokoname, not too far from the coast.
Apparently Ise Bay still had not lost its attraction for them.

Every year, I follow my grandfather’s practice of fishing at the nearest waters.
I usually fish at night, gazing at the electric fishing float, catching mostly seigo or young Japanese sea perch.
The name for sea perch in Japanese changes as they grow: from seigo to madaka and then to suzuki (which grows to become 60 cm (23.5 in) or larger).
Once every few years, I am lucky enough to catch a suzuki.

My evening ritual of fishing has started to display more of a variety in my catch.
Goby, different kinds of rockfish and chinta (alevin of black sea bream).
In recent years, I have seen gure (girella), alevin of parrot bass, juvenile red sea bream….
Many fish that usually dwell in the rocky shore are moving toward the canal on the land side of the industrial complex.

This is caused by the comeback of their prey such as sand worms, small shrimps and shellfish due to the decreased occurrence of the red tide.

These little creatures that become feed cannot thrive in just pure seawater.
They also need cloudy water from a river that contains a lot of nutrients.

This is what makes Ise Bay the perfect place for them to grow.
Ibi, Kiso and Nagara, which are three of the so-called class A rivers, flow in from the mountain ranges of Gifu and Nagano to bring an abundance of nutrients to Ise Bay.

Fish caught in Ise Bay

  • Sunset at Ise Bay
    Sunset at Ise Bay
  • Chinta
  • Young parrot bass
    Young parrot bass
  • Marbled rockfish
    Marbled rockfish
  • Red sea bream
    Red sea bream
  • Girella
  • Alevin of parrot bass
    Alevin of parrot bass
  • Rockfish

Although Ise Bay is starting to show some signs of recovery, it is still far from being the strong, fertile sea of 40 years ago.

Today, it appears as if Ise Bay is waiting for someone to lend a hand in removing the sludge that has piled up over the years due to human beings’ greed and ego.
It is suffocating and crying silently for help.

I can hear the cries but I have yet to respond…

There is something for which I have been dedicating all my efforts during the last 23 years.
What I have personally achieved so far may be very minor and insignificant.
But the development of the industry itself in Japan is quite substantial.
It probably is no exaggeration to say that it is an area in which Japan has become a world leader.
It is the field of medical nutrition.

To explain it in simple terms, medical nutrition involves the study of means to make food easier to eat for those who have trouble swallowing due to their condition and nutritional therapy appropriate for certain ailments.

Elderly people and inpatients with life-threatening conditions in Japan are most likely receiving the best nutritional therapy in the world.

Looking back to ten years ago, most patients that had difficulty swallowing were on a blender diet in which soft rice, miso soup and all the side dishes were blended up into mush.

I believe our resentment toward such treatment has led to the wisdom, passion and determination to transform the way in which hospital food is prepared.

People’s deep connection to Ise Bay, their compassion towards others, the artistry, wisdom and passion that they dedicate for the greater good.
Instead of crying in despair, I do strongly believe in our power to create a wonderful future.
After all, we are all one in our hopes.

October 2011

Author : Susumu Kawaguchi

Chairman & CEO

Nutri Co., Ltd

Illustrator : Nakajo Junichi