From Tokyo to Hokkaido
I have no experience doing anything with scallops except eating them. After visiting Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture in Japan, to a tiny town called Yakumo, I can now confidently call myself the “best worst amatuer” in scallop farming.
The Morning Scallop Buffet
If I were a scallop farmer, I would have to wake up at 2am to harvest the scallops I farmed out in the sea. Due to overfishing, wild scallops are sadly only a thing of the past. A true professional would need to brave seasickness with plastic and colorful overalls while collecting the gems of the sea. Thankfully, I only had to wait for the boat to come in with the goods at 9am!
The Bad: If you’re a scallop farmer, you need to wake up at 2am to go out to the sea for scallops.
The Good: You get to eat the scallops that aren’t big enough to be sold! The others weren’t brave enough to start shucking the scallops open right there by the port, but these two men in the pictures below jumped right in and snacked themselves full. I even had a tiny scallop to try. Luckily I only had one because lunch was… guess what? Fresh raw scallops with butter scallops on the side!
Fresh scallops for the picking
Sizing scallops up for the market
The Work Behind Scallops
When you walk into the scallops headquarters, you’ll see endless crates with strings of scallops, growing bigger and bigger until they can be deposited out in the sea.
Beyond the “crate room” are the “earring” stations where each scallop is gifted free “ear piercings.” Essentially, you’re going to make a hole in the shell so you can string it up.
The Bad:You must have quick fingers to keep up with this job. If you’re a sloth, perhaps you should find another job.
The Good: Yakumo has an annual competition where if you string the most scallops, you win some major green!
At the end of the day, I was pretty much a walking scallop due to the amount I ate throughout the tour. My fingers were starting to have an odor, but overall, an unforgettable experience!
About the author: Teresa Fong is Fiji-born, America-raised, and is currently working in Tokyo. She loves listening to podcasts about self-help and crime. Currently on a mission to improve her digital art skills, but a love for meeting with friends in new cafes gets in the way! She's currently eight months into an ab challenge, giving her some amazing lines that unfortunately disappear the moment she bends down. You can check her out on Instagram @imterryf.