When I lived in Japan I worked as a scuba diving Instructor in the Izu Penninsula. I really loved it there and miss it very much. In Japan, the ocean is divided into sectors and each sector is run by one of the fishing unions. The fishing unions decide where one can dive and also on which days. Whenever one pays for diving in Japan there is always a fee that is paid to these unions. A blanket rule when diving in Japan is that the divers can not take any fish, shell fish or shells. One day after I had finished diving I was in the Harbor area ready to take my gear off and I was approached by 4 elderly fishermen. They were very curious as I was the first foreigner that they had ever met. They asked me if I would dive in the harbor area for a type of shell called “Sazai”. These are barbequed and taste absolutely wonderful! I told them that the law in Japan was that I could take nothing out of the ocean. They all laughed at this and told me that this area was theirs and that if they said it was OK then I could do it but only if they gave permission and that they were waiting for me.
The sazai is everywhere and withing 10 minutes I had about 20 very big ones. After I got all of my gear off they were waiting for me in a type of hut on the beach with a big barbeque in the middle. Within no time they had all of the shells barbequed and while eating they passed around an enourmous bottle of sake and when it got to me I pretended to drink from it! When it was time to go they thanked me very much and there was one fisherman who had remained silent the whole time and then finally asked me if all foreigners had such big noses! I replied that mine was average and that there were many people with bigger noses!

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