Friday, September 01, 2006

Dive, Dive, Dive!


Is this the latest Surfers Against Sewage stunt? What a novel way to collect garbage from the seabed, eh? No, of course not - this is an Ami (singular) doing what Ama (plural) have done for centuries - diving down deep for seaborne goodies such as octopus, sea urchin and abalone.

The Ama are a select, all-woman coterie of Japanese divers that originally dove for pearl oysters and then, when some clever clogs figured out how to farm cultured pearls, switched to diving for the aforementioned, much prized delicacies.

These outstanding Japanese ladies were considered better suited to the diving business than the blokes since, it was reasoned, they had more fat and greater lung capacity. It was only recently that these sea nymphs have shifted from diving in cotton robes to wetsuits apparently. Most of them actively diving in Japan today would qualify for bus passes here. Seems sad then, that this way of life is on the wane, like a lot of traditional fishing practices elsewhere.

I think I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so.

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