When it's noticed, whaling plays fairly well in Japan to a national self-image of the bond with tradition (in a culinary instantiation) and of not being pushed about on the world stage; but it's hard not to sense the political opportunism. From outside, it looks like the (inscrutable) Japanese are wilfully disregarding international opprobrium and lack integrity and restraint. Or so it goes. This year's expedition will officially target humpback whales for the first time in over 40 years. Cue five months hunting constructions of Japan.