Richard Ekkebus is not feeling well. The combination of a late night of whisky, an all-too-hastily eaten convenience store sandwich and the churn of the swelling seas threatens to turn his stomach inside out. We’re zipping through the chilly, rocky waters of the Genkai-nada sea off the northern coast of Fukuoka prefecture, swaddled in winter gear and bright orange lifejackets, eager to see the fishermen who are about to haul in the day’s harvest of Spanish mackerel by hand.
The workers appear in the distance, small figures clothed in bright yellow, green, blue and purple—vital pops of colour to easily identify them should they topple into the deep and unforgiving indigo waters. Our speedboat stops about 80 meters away; the engine switches off, and all that’s left is the sound of the waves and the anticipatory squawking of seagulls hungry for their morning meal. And then, of a nauseated Ekkebus succumbing to “feed the fish”.