I have never considered fishing to be a sport, at least not the way the word is used by most people. Perhaps the best way to put it, in my opinion, is how I once heard a comedian say it, “fishing is the only sport where the opponent doesn’t know he’s playing” (I believe this was said by Brian Regan, but can’t find the joke right now). But, at the same time I’m not sure there is another word that really encompasses what fishing is. It’s a leisure activity, it’s a hobby, it’s a way to experience and commune with nature, and yes, it can certainly feel like an outright sport sometimes. Even if the way I fish often involves climbing gnarly boulders or hiking for hours, I continue to hesitate on using the word “sport” to describe fishing. However, today I realized that an angler and an athlete have a lot more in common than I had thought. More specifically, I realized how the three pillars of an athlete’s life: sleep, diet and training, also affect an angler’s performance. Continue reading
There is a 15-hour difference between Colorado and Japan. They are one day ahead of us. While right now it is 10pm in Colorado, it is already 1pm the next day in Japan. Due to the time different and having just returned from the trip, right now I feel absolutely miserable.
I wonder how much of that “misery” is due to the time difference and how much it is due to many 15-hour long days in Japan. When I arrive in Japan I always feel fresh and ready to go. My main strategy to cope with jetlag is to focus on my breathing and meditating during the flight. It works well on the way there, but on the way back I am never able to do it; there are too many things going on in my head, too many ideas. And the 15-hour travel time between the last place I visited, Yamagata, and our home in Boulder was certainly not easy on my body this time.
You may have noticed I haven’t shared as much “live” content in our blog. I typically shoot images and videos and then work on content as I travel between different cities. I do well most years, just look at our “Japan” posts here. But, this time, in between places I was utterly exhausted from many early starts, long days and late evening beer, sake and yakitori outings. This trip was much more introspective and reflective than usual. That is not to say I don’t have a lot to share still, there are some highlights that are spinning in my head. For now I’ll share a brief journal of the trip as a whole:
As most of you are waking up, I’m now preparing to sleep. Tonight I will have a new sleep experience. After many nights sleeping in the countryside, to the sound of streams and crickets, tonight, for my first time, I will experience sleeping in a capsule hotel at the Tokyo Narita airport. Tomorrow morning I’m headed to China for a few days to meet with our factories. I feel more like I’m in a Sci-fi movie set. Luckily I’m not claustrophobic, and this doesn’t feel any smaller than the tents I use while camping. Only thing I wish for right now is the sound of crickets, a gushing stream nearby, the smell of a campfire and a sleeping bag. We will see how this goes. Good night…er…morning.
Was out filming with a TV crew this morning. We had a 6am start, yikes (contrary to popular belief, not all fishermen like starting that early). Caught plenty of fish today, but couldn’t take picture since we were in the middle of filming again. But as I brought this fish in I couldn’t resist but to pull out my cell phone. The film crew wasn’t particularly appreciative of me stopping to take photos, but I believe you will understand why I had to do it. This is an amago, a Japanese trout, one of the prettiest I have caught I’d say.
I’m currently on my 6th annual pilgrimage to Japan. My schedule this time is way busier than I have ever had it when visiting. There are many people I wish I could see but won’t be able to this time. Right now we are in the middle of filming for a Japanese TV show. It has been very difficult as the area we are visiting now, Kaida Kogen, is experiencing a lot of rain. We had to wait it out for most of the day today. Finally the weather have us a break and as the film crew got ready I caught a couple of fish that I was able to photograph. To my luck they were Iwana but of two different kinds: Yamato Iwana and Nikko Iwana. Wanna guess which one is which? I will post the answer here in a day.
Top one with whitish spots is the Nikko Iwana, bottom is Yamato Iwana, though David’s comments and links are definitely worth a read!
Hey everyone! We’re working on the 2nd volume of the Tenkara Magazine, which will come out in December. We would like to invite you to submit your stories and photographs for consideration.
WHAT we are looking for: The Tenkara Magazine is a tenkara lifestyle publication designed to inspire people to get outside, to show that fly-fishing can be simple, and to embrace the lifestyle that goes with a life of simple yet rich experiences. While there is a large variety of stories that will be in this issue, the theme this time is TENKARA+, the idea that tenkara can go well with anything (think backpacking, foraging, cooking, kayaking…..). We’re particularly interested in your TENKARA+ stories but will consider other topics you feel could be a good fit. Read some sample articles from the last magazine here.
HOW to submit: write to email@example.com with your draft or images.
NOTE: Please understand that this is primarily a physical, printed publication, and thus we have space constraints. We will likely NOT be able to accept all submissions this time. We will compensate for articles and images we can use
DEADLINE for submissions: September 10
We look forward to receiving your pieces for consideration for the second Tenkara Magazine.
I love how the Japanese have terms like “shower climbing” and “forest bathing”. The second, forest bathing, or shinrin yoku, is a new one to me, but it has been one of my favorite activities for as long as I remember. As Doug Schnitzpahn of Elevation Outdoors describes it, “In Japan the term shinrin-yoku refers to the act of getting out and simply walking in the woods and breathing in—both metaphorically and actually—the healing aromas of the trees. The term roughly translates as “forest bathing,” or, more romantically, as taking in the essence of the forest, walking quietly, aware.”
Yesterday, late in the afternoon, I went forest bathing. Continue reading
Tenkara net making may be a good summer activity for kids. But, it’s probably best to start early because of the long drying period – though you can get away with a short drying.
When I met Kyosuke in the Japanese mountain village of Maze, he saw the nets I made. They are a traditional Japanese craft that may be at risk of dying. He had seen nets before at the museum and with other anglers but never saw them being made until I found a branch and started working on one. When he arrived to spend the month with us here in the States, one of the first things he asked me was if I could teach him how to make a tenkara net. Yesterday evening I finally had the time to take him out to look for the perfect branch. We hiked for nearly an hour, I showed him what we were looking for (he doesn’t speak English, and I’m trying my best to speak only in English to him, so we had some challenges, but he got it). Continue reading
We often underestimate kids and what they can do on their own. At least I think I do, and sometimes I forget what I was doing as a kid too.
My wife and I are currently hosting a family from Japan for a month. We don’t have kids ourselves, but now we have a full house with a 1 year-old, a 9 year-old and their mother. I met the 9-year old Kyosuke a couple of years ago when I was spending a couple of months in the small mountain village of Maze, a town of 1,400 people. Kyosuke is a river boy, he likes to spend all his time in the water, and he loves fishing. When I first met him I taught him about tenkara, and also how to tie tenkara flies. But, in the small mountain town of 1,400 he doesn’t get a lot of exposure to the outside world. So, his mom decided to show him there are different cultures to learn from. But, as always, it goes both ways and we’re learning a lot by having them here. Continue reading