The octopus, a cephalopod with multiple and unusual uses. (Photo: Stock File)
What can you do with an octopus?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010, 21:20 (GMT + 9)
Depending on geographical locations and different cultures, one can find a variety of answers that would surprise anyone. First of all and as we're in the seafood sector, we may say that a Moroccan believes that its for "fishing", a Galician would use it for a traditional recipe and a Japanese person would make it into sushi whilst maintaining complete silence and no facial movements.
Also in Japanese culture, the octopus has been considered a sex symbol for a considerably long period of time, after a famous print by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) called 'The Dream of the fisherman's wife'. In Kiribati, the octopus is in fact a god called Na Kika, that actually formed the islands by pushing the earth up from the bottum of the sea using his tenticles. A similar story can also be found in Hawaii, where an octopus shaped god named Kanaloa, teaches magic and rules the underworld.
But there are also well-known investigators, writers and musicians that have used the octopus in different ways, such as Jacques Cousteau writing a book and a documentary, the famous Englishman Ian Fleming, writting the "James Bond" film starring the actor Roger Moore, and even the Beatles themselves dedicated a song to the octopus, sympathetically and rather questionably sung by Ringo Star. Strangely, the octopus was also used in the hit Canadian TV show "Kenny vs Spenny", when the two friends held a three day competition to see who could keep one on their head for the longest period of time.
Additionaly, a German decided to use one to "predict" sporting events, later resulting in Spaniards wanting to place one on their national flag as a tribute to "Paul" after their successful victory in the last World Cup, there were also many Argentines who wanted him to be executed as revenge for their defeat to Germany as they were consequently left out of the competition.
A story that you may not have already heard is one regarding the co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Gardner Allen, who named his famous mega-yacht "The Octopus", which includes an entrance for a mini-submarine at the stern. The octopus has also been used by famous designers to decorate a model and have even used the octopus as an artistic expression, as playground equipment, clothing, tattoos, desktops, screen savers and even expensive jewelry just to name a few.
So its worth our recognition that this cephalopod has achieved fame and popularity in numerous cultures and activities that has not been matched by other marine species. We could also not end this story without mentioning that they have dedicated a monument in the Paseo Marítimo de La Coruña. (Galicia-Spain)