Young woman becomes popular for her skill at slicing up tuna

Young woman becomes popular for her skill at slicing up tuna

On February 28, at the Osakana Center of the Itoman Roadside Station in Itoman, 18 year-old Wakana Nohara works cutting up tuna.

March 10, 2013 Masaki Umeda of Ryukyu Shimpo

Recently, an 18 year-old woman who works at the seafood market Osakana Center in the Itoman Roadside Station in Itoman, has attracted praise for her skill at slicing up tuna. Wakana Nohara from Ozato, Nanjo, has been cutting up three or four tuna a day from the middle of February. It is said that teenagers who can do this well are very rare, and a superior at work commented that he has never seen anyone with as much natural ability as Nohara.

After graduating from high school, last April Nohara started working at the Okinawan major food manufacturer Hokugan Co. She was assigned to Anmar in the Osakana Center where to begin with she worked as a cashier, sometimes helping to pack fish. She said, “I was really impressed when I saw the men slicing up the tuna, so I’d always wanted to try it myself.” Interested in how it was done, Nohara watched a co-worker cutting up tuna while she was working. She recorded exactly what they did on the camera on her cellphone and then practiced at home.

On February 28, Wakana Nohara (right) and her co-worker Shuzen Higa at the Osakana Center of the Itoman Roadside Station in Itoman.

In mid-February this year, Nohara asked if she could be allowed to cut up a tuna and showed remarkable ability despite it being her first time. Veteran worker Shuzen Higa was surprised at Nohara’s skill, saying, “I didn’t really concentrate too hard on teaching her, but the day after I showed her how to do it she was able to cut up a tuna by herself. It was hard to believe that she is a beginner.”

Tuna is a hot-selling product for fish merchants, and its price ranges from 2000 to 3000 yen per kilogram. That is why people who cut up tuna need to be very skillful at cutting the meat off the bone to avoid any waste. Nohara has already been entrusted with cutting up most of a tuna by herself.

“Some customers show great interest in her cutting up tuna. I hope that this will help make fish more popular,” said Higa.

Nohara said that when she started the job she never thought that she would work cutting fish. She is now capable of cutting up a tuna of about 20 kilograms and she aims to some day cut up a tuna that weighs more than she does. Nohara said, “It’s great when customers say that the tuna I cut up is tastes really good. I really want to push myself to be as good as the male workers.”

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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