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Kochi: Giant Katsuo No Tataki Sculptures at the Airport; Baggage claim also whets the appetite

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A giant sculpture of katsuo no tataki is seen on a baggage carousel at Kochi Airport in Nankoku, Kochi Prefecture.

NANKOKU, Kochi – Two large sculptures of Kochi Prefecture’s local specialty – a seafood dish called katsuo no tataki – have been mounted on the baggage claim carousels at Kochi Airport.

Katsuo no tataki is a traditional dish of lightly seared slices of bonito fish, served with green onions, garlic and ponzu sauce.

The sculptures were paid for through a crowdfunding initiative led by the tourism association in Nakatosa, a town known for its thriving bonito fishing industry.

Since April last year, life-size sculptures depicting katsuo no tataki – made by cauterizing with dried straw – have been on display on airport baggage carousels, making a striking impression on tourists. The latest ones are about 50 times larger than their actual size and weigh 12 kilograms each. They were set up on the airport’s two carousels.

The sculptures feature a plate with a diameter of 50 centimeters with three sturdy slices of katsuo no tataki. The fresh, translucent redness of the fish and the distinctive charred spots from the intense straw fire are a highlight of the pieces.

The design is enhanced with a generous garnish of locally grown garlic and green onions. The purpose of the sculptures is to entice visitors at the airport to think to themselves, “Let’s eat bonito today.”

That may have had an immediate effect. A 31-year-old woman from Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, who passed through the airport during a sightseeing trip, said, “It looks so delicious that I definitely want to eat it.”

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