Eel Day (Doyo no Ushi) is July 28. I guess I assumed that it was July 19 because that was the day the About.com article appeared. Oh well, at least this means that I still have time to enjoy eel on eel day!
Mainichi has an article about how eel prices are skyrocketing in Japan due to a low yield in eel fry this year.
The precise reason for the poor eel fry yield remains unknown, but some blame the irregular weather or shifts in the Kuroshio Current, while others say it could be the after-effects of earthquakes and typhoons that struck Japan last year.
Eel fry are not bred and raised artificially. Eel breeding involves catching fry from rivers and deltas from December to April, then raising them in farms for about half a year before selling them to eat. Eel fry’s mode of life remains unknown.
Eel traders have been hit by the double punch of expensive fry and more expensive oil, which has driven up the cost of raising those fry that have been caught until they are suitable to be sold to eat. Currently, eel is being sold at about 1,600 yen per kilogram, around 200 yen more than last year.
When Sean and I were in Japan, I believe we saw a show about raising eel fry. There were these pools, and divers went into them to show how the eel lived. That’s about all I got out of it, seeing as how my Japanese skills were next to nil. (Not that they’re any better now…)