• Closet Whale Eaters : Tokyo correspondent Bennett Richardson says that he's tried whale meat only twice during the nine years he's lived in Japan (this page). "It's not that common in restaurants. When you see it on the menu it's as a side dish or appetizer. It's frequently deep fried and looks and tastes a bit like beef," he says.
Tourists are often curious about it. Bennett recalls, for example, the second time he ate whale meat was when a friend from New Zealand, who was a member of Greenpeace, visited. Bennett took him to the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo - the world's largest. "We looked at the tuna catch and wandered around. Afterward, we popped into a sashimi place. There was whale on the menu. We had whale sashimi for breakfast," he says.
How did Bennett's Greenpeace pal justify the choice? "He said, 'Look, it's dead already.' Then he added, 'But don't tell anyone.' "
His secret is safe with our readers.
• Life Before Journalism : Staff writer Peter Ford had a soft spot for the amateur musicians strumming away on Paris during the Fête de la Musique (page 7). In a former life, 30 years ago, he earned his living as a busker in Paris, working cinema lines and Métro corridors singing and clowning. He recalls being arrested on the Champs Elysées one evening, and spending a night at the police station before being charged with "committing a musical audition on the public highway without authorization."
"That is perhaps why I enjoy the Fête de la Musique so much," Peter says. "June 21st offers a blanket authorization to absolutely anyone to make any kind of music they like, wherever they like."
David Clark Scott