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Contest: What does tenkara mean to you? Win our new tenkara bamboo fly box

On March 10, 2012
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Comments (47)

UPDATE: Contest Winner(s) at the end of the post

What does tenkara mean to you? (Contest)

There are a couple of tenkara contests going around at the moment, like the one at Karel’s tenkaraonthefly.net, where you can tell your tenkara story for a free line holder.

To celebrate the enthusiasm of tenkara anglers, and the introduction of our new fly boxes, we decided to get in the contest bandwagon and give away one of our awesome new boxes.

Tenkara bamboo fly box contest

How do you win it? Simple:

The word tenkara is often taken to mean “from heaven” (“ten” = “heaven” and “kara“=”from”. But because of the way it is written no one knows for sure what the original meaning was. It is relatively open to interpretation.

If you were to give the term tenkara a meaning, what would it be?

Please post your response here in this format: 2-4 words for the meaning, with a 3-4 sentences on why you decided on that meaning.

My wife will pick the winning response based on: its philosophical meaning, likelihood that it could actually be used in relation to fishing, the logic expressed to indicate that likelihood or personal reason. She will not be given the name of the author of the response.

Contest ends on March 15th at midnight.

CONTEST WINNER
There were a LOT of great responses, and it was very difficult to pick them, but my wife had to pick one winner for the bamboo box. Margaret ended up also assigning a second winner for the thoughtfulness in the response, so Judy Cole will be receiving a copy of The Fly Fish Journal for the poem she wrote.

DAVID:
Synergy of simplicity and skill
Tenkara fishing simplifies the equipment needed to the basics. With skill the more you know the less you need. Synergy exist when two or more agents interact to produce a combined effect that is greater than the sum of the their separate effects. Simplified gear combined with skill creates a fishing experience that is delightfully satisfying or even heavenly that is greater than expected once experienced.

Judy Cole:
Tenkara – Joy in the High Country

Up the dappled trail
Through pine-scented air
On any day of our summery season

With packs so light, they can hardly be felt
A mere trifle on our backs

On still lively legs, we crest the moraine,
And view a sudden meadow
Vivid with riotous, lush colors of flower and grass that
Snatch our breath
We celebrate in the dancing, lambent light
sparkling off the meandering stream

Quicker than a marmot can steal your pack off a summy rock,
The rod is out and the fly on the water,
my husband already rejoicing, “First one of the day!”

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47 Responses to Contest: What does tenkara mean to you? Win our new tenkara bamboo fly box

  1. Randall Sakai says:

    Tenkara= from the heaven/from the Sky

  2. D Terry says:

    Tenkara = Fly fishing, simplified.

    Tenkara simplifies fly fishing by removing the extras (reel, excess of line and the need to manage that line), and, by encouraging the angler to concentrate on technique, to reduce or even eliminate the issue of fly selection. This allows the angler to devote ones attention to the overall experience of spending time on the water — catching fish (of course), the sounds of the stream as water flows by…nature.

  3. Thanh Vu says:

    Tenkara = Women’s Wrath or Nurture

    When you invest time to share, patience to slow down and commitment to see things through, rewards are at your feet. But when rushed, ignored or abused will yield a unwavering tangled mess.

  4. Steven Bath says:

    To me Tenkara truly means, Less is More.

    To simplify any endeavor, be it fishing or life, brings one to a state of clarity. Unclouded by the trappings of ‘too much’ you are free to see what is in front of you and focus on what is really important. Tenkara goes way beyond fishing for me… It’s a word that can bring balance to your whole experience.

  5. Lynn Decker says:

    Tenkara = acheiving the state of flow
    Being in Tenkara is being completely in the moment: one stream, one rod, one fly

  6. kyle black says:

    Simplicity equals sucess. The ability to fish without being distracted by you’re tangled line it reel…it allows you continuously devote you’re time to making that perfect cast, which may result in the perfect fish.

  7. Dylan says:

    Tenkara = Elegant Simplicity (or Elegantly Simple)

    I was looking for a simple, yet elegant way to describe Tenkara while trying to preserve the imagery of being “from heaven.” Then I realized that, by simply pondering the question, I answered it. And as a bonus, it works to describe Tenkara gear too (e.g. I hope I win that elegantly simple bamboo fly box.).

  8. Ty says:

    Tenkara is removing all the meaningless things from traditional fishing that makes the process enjoyably and allows one to be fulfilled both physically and emotionally with their fishing experience. Tenkara is Enchantment… of the purist level.

  9. Kyle Alldredge says:

    Tenkara = Zen Fishing

    Zen invokes meanings of enlightenment, self-realization, absorption, and meditative state. For me, tenkara carries a heavy dose of similar meaning for anyone who experiences it. I think it embodies the simplicity of getting out with nature and simplifying the process of doing something so enjoyable!

  10. Jay Wilhite says:

    Tenkara = Perfect

    Everything has its place, and in the places I like to go Tenkara is “Perfect”.

  11. Kid Riemer says:

    Mastery through Simplicity.

  12. David says:

    Synergy of simplicity and skill
    Tenkara fishing simplifies the equipment needed to the basics. With skill the more you know the less you need. Synergy exist when two or more agents interact to produce a combined effect that is greater than the sum of the their separate effects. Simplified gear combined with skill creates a fishing experience that is delightfully satisfying or even heavenly that is greater than expected once experienced.

  13. Tom says:

    Tenkara = Just me and a fish!

  14. Brian Green says:

    Tenkara = Fishing simplicity, functional beauty

    Tenkara simplicity provides freedom to focus on fishing, unencumbered by unnecessary gear or equipment. The beauty of the technique is such that anyone can quickly become functional with no prior experience.

  15. Steve says:

    TENKARA …. A Path To

    becoming one with the environment

    being not in the river but of it / in the here and now

    valuing intuition

    being predator but respectively so

    leaving it better than it was before you arrived

  16. george proctor says:

    Small is Beautiful. During the late 60′s a minimalist movement captured our imagination. To me, nothing better depicts that concept than the Tenkara rod.

  17. Anthony says:

    Tenkara = sound of water.
    The places where tenkara exists, for me, are inseperable from the sound of water. With tenkara, that sound is not spoiled by the sound of a reel or the sound of a fly line. It is only the sound of water.

  18. Chris Schatte says:

    Tenkara to me = the currents of nature
    I feel more in tune with the environment that I am graced to be in.

  19. Matt Donovan says:

    Tenkara = the lack there of

    a lot of japanese art and culture revolves around the beauty of what is “not pictured” wether it be calligraphy, sushi, bansai or flower arangement. for me the beauty and enjoyment of tenkara comes from what is “not” involved. And thats not just a reference to a reel :) its simplicity allows me to convert mere mechanic, into an artform. something that japan has a passion for doing.

  20. Mike says:

    TENKARA Clarity of fishing

    A simplified way achieve what trout fishing was meant to be

  21. Larry McCoy says:

    From the Heavens…for fish and man. Nothing else need be said.

  22. David Cox says:

    Tenkara means to me: “Without complications” it is a minimalist form of fly fishing that brings man closer to nature. It is a humbling approach to fishing my favorite High Uinta Mountain streams. Simplicity that still requires a great deal of talent.

  23. David says:

    Opps. Looks like I don’t read instructions very well. I forgot to add the reason for the choice I submitted.

    Synergy of Simplicity and Skill.

    Tenkara fishing simplifies the equipment needed to the basics. With skill the more you know the less you need. Synergy exist when two or more agents interact to produce a combined effect that is greater than the sum of the their separate effects. Simplified gear combined with skill creates a fishing experience that is delightfully satisfying or even heavenly that is greater than expected once experienced.

  24. Art Galicia says:

    TENKARA=Fluidity in Motion

    Everything about Tenkara simplifies what I have been trying to achieve while doing conventional or Western style flyfishing. That is to simplify my cast and gear so that I may enjoy and maximize my time on the water and ultimately do what we all want- Catch fish! Ease of use and the ability to move freely without extra gear is why I became intereted in Tenkara.

  25. Eddie says:

    Assimilation into the nature.

    Tenkara is not just an effective way of fishing but a way through which I can make myself part of the nature.

  26. Kyle Reed says:

    Tenkara = Heavenly Fishing

    For a fisherman what would “heavenly fishing” look like? For me, it would be placing your hand in a cool mountain stream and watching as a beautiful trout swims right into your hand. Tenkara is as close to this experience as most of us will ever achieve with rod, line and fly becoming the bridge between fish to hand, thus heaven to earth…

  27. Jay says:

    Tenkara = Fishing with a fly.

    Learning from current.
    Over gear, master the technique.
    On rod, line, fly. Fish.

  28. Brian Larson says:

    Tenkara = tenkara
    Thanks to our efforts it has become an English word meaning a historic Japanese means of fly fishing. All fly fishing can be beautiful and meditative. Many societies have used long poles without reels for fly fishing. Originally for gaining food and now for enjoyment as well.

  29. Bob MacDonald says:

    “From the Sky/Heaven.”

    From the sky…from heaven…fishing…feathered haired hook…all terms we know synonymous with the activity we call Tenkara. It is a simultaneous dual meaning word: 1) from the sky is the art, 2) from heaven was the enjoyment of Tenkara. Considering who was doing the fishing: 1) men 2), it was their livelihood. I think that the concept embodies the idea of the simplicity of all aspects coming from heaven or within heavens provision to supply the means to catch the trout for provision. Heaven provides the streams, the fish, the trees for the net, the flora for the flies the whole concept is that it is all from the sky and they approached as respecting what or Who from the sky they associated with the ability to put food on the table and enjoy the activity so much. The latter may be the most important to the fishermen the enjoyment of the actual activity of fishing in this manner that they actually did this for a living was from heaven.

  30. Scott Downard says:

    Tenkara = Simple

  31. Kevin Fricke says:

    Gods Gift

    Tenkara has been the simplest and easiest thing for me to learn so I could catch fish. It’s simplicity leaves me more time to enjoy what I love to do, fish. I have only been Tenkara fishing a year but it has brought me closer to family and friends, the real gift.

  32. Custheyder says:

    Tenkara = From heaven.

    The tranquility and perfection of heaven delivered by the simplicity of fishing. When everything is made simple it is easy to lose yourself and flow with the water. Delicate delivery of the fly with accuracy through timing is rewarded with a fish. At that moment everything works as it should and there is heaven on earth.

  33. Stefan says:

    Tenkara=Freedom

    For me it’s the perfect Sunday rest. Follow a small stream into the woods, bringing your tenkara rod. It’s you, and the stream, and the forest. So peaceful, so contemplative, so relaxing. It’s the core of freedom.

  34. Tenkara=a gift from heaven

    This gift comes in the form of wild water, wild country, and wild trout. It touches my soul and gives me peace and strength. It teaches. It’s uncluttered and it’s true.

  35. Kid Riemer says:

    Clarity of Mind

  36. Patrick says:

    Tenkara= Divine Healing.

    In a world encumbered with technology we are losinging our skills. Tenkara teaches us to rekindle and hone our natural skills. We can use these skills to travel further with less, see & do more, and leave smaller footprints.

  37. Melody says:

    Tenkara = soul extension

    We all come from water. Born from a womb filled with water, it is our life’s passion to commune with water in some way. Fly fisher people (especially people that utilize Tenkara wisdom) intuit the need of the soul to return to water.

  38. Mark Cole says:

    Tenkara – the essence of fly fishing

    The origins of fly Fishing are lost in the mists of antiquity in both the eastern (Japan) and western (European) traditions, but both share the same basic foundations – a rod, a line and a fly. Modern tenkara represents the essential elements of fly fishing in both traditions. Tenkara is not fly fishing simplified. It is the true, original style of fly fishing as developed independently in the east and west. TenkaraUSA marks a return to our fly fishing beginnings in the west and a continuation of the eastern Japanese tradition with all its advantages of simplicity, grace and skill.

  39. Judy Cole says:

    Tenkara – Joy in the High Country

    Up the dappled trail
    Through pine-scented air
    On any day of our summery season

    With packs so light, they can hardly be felt
    A mere trifle on our backs

    On still lively legs, we crest the moraine,
    And view a sudden meadow
    Vivid with riotous, lush colors of flower and grass that
    Snatch our breath
    We celebrate in the dancing, lambent light
    sparkling off the meandering stream

    Quicker than a marmot can steal your pack off a summy rock,
    The rod is out and the fly on the water,
    my husband already rejoicing, “First one of the day!”

  40. Judy Cole says:

    Tenkara – Fast and Effective

    “Quick, the Tenkara!”
    Alpine creek flashing with trout
    Ahh, one takes the fly

  41. Tenkara=Serendipity

    An angler may look to tenkara to catch more fish or fish in a different manner but in the end it breaks down some of the barriers that connect us in a deeper way with Nature and the objective we are pursuing, which are the fish. Simplifying how you fish allows you to observe and understand the connections going on all around you and you will eventually find things you never thought to look for.

  42. Dale Hewitt "257ROBT" says:

    Tenkara = Fun!

    I was on the several streams today and the word “fun” came to me because it was just that. One fly on two different streams and fish caught on both streams by my 8 year old who asked to use a Tenkara rod instead of spinning gear! A proud dad moment for sure!

  43. David says:

    Please thank Margret for choosing Synergy of Simplicity and Skill. I look forward to receiving the bamboo kebari box. It is not often that I win anything. However, sometimes the timing is perfect for something good to happen and the timing is perfect today.
    I spent an emotional weekend in Ohio expecting my Mother to pass away at any moment. She died this morning about 14 hours after I left to return to my home in WV. So, on a grey day thank you for the sunny Tenkara Smile. : – )

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