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Toku Oshima

1975. Qaanaaq.

When the time comes and I want to go fishing, I just go fishing when I’m not out hunting. That’s what I spend most of my time on.

In the summer and spring I work with machinery – tractor shovel, digging and so on. Otherwise, I’m out seal hunting. I was raised in a family of hunters, so it just came automatically to me. In summer, it’s just a matter of filling up the freezer with all sorts of different animals. It is mostly for our own consumption and for the family.

I catch everything – seal and halibut, whales, walrus and everything. Trout and polar bear if I meet one as well. There aren’t that many left who only live solely off of hunting, so you have to come up with new ways to get income. So I mostly get by on processing sealskin.

I live in a house we have renovated ourselves. We opened up our house because there is no place in town you can go to during the day. I’ve always dreamed of having a little tailor shop where people could come in and sew different things during the dark wintertime. I also volunteer teaching people how to sew in sealskin.

My mother is from Siorapaluk and my father is from Japan. My father is a hunter and still lives in Siorapaluk, where I visit him a few times a year. He said he wanted us all to get an education. So that we would always have something to fall back on if there is a bad catch, so I’m a trained electrician, but I live as a hunter. I also do everyday work with sealskin, and sometimes I help researchers with depth measurements in the fiord.

I don’t have any children. I am married to Kim, who is a carpenter and contractor. Kim and I only have each other. We’ve been together for more than half of our lives, so we’ve grown up together. As long as I have him, it doesn’t matter where I live. We have our own house and otherwise we spend most of our money on developing the city. That’s pretty much all there is to say about me, there isn’t much.