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Tenkara

Japan, day 1: Tea, Hachiko, and Telescopic rods

On August 28, 2012
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Comments (13)

Margaret and I decided to sit-out the 90 degree heat at a cafe, after an enjoyable day in Tokyo. It was an easy day, beginning with visiting one of my favorite shops in Japan – no, not a fishing store, but rather an excellent tea shop: Cha Ginza. They have the best tea I have ever tried and are a mandatory stop for when I visit Tokyo.

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Bags of delightful sencha and new tea pots purchased as gifts, it was then time to head to our next stop: Hachiko’s statue at the Shibuya station.

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The plan was to meet a longtime customer who started tenkara after finding our site a couple of years ago. He has since found in tenkara a new passion; “something that changed his and many other lives” as he says.

Our last stop were the Sansui fishing stores near the station. Sansui is a 110 year old fishing store, and they have 3 stores in the area, one dedicated to fixed-line fishing methods (tenkara, Hera, tanago, keiryu, and Ayu fishing), one for lure fishing and fly-fishing and one more focused on bass fishing. The visit was very pleasant. As I browsed the tenkara section, one of the sales clerks got very excited when he recognized my shirt, “Ahhh, Tenkara USA! Danieru?!?!”. He talked about how he had our site bookmarked an followed this blog. We talked about Dr Ishigaki and Mr Amano, whom he and another person at the store knew.

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I held a tiny tanago rod in my hand, it was beautiful, about 12 inches when collapsed and 2.2 meters opened. I asked if I could use that for tenkara, they laughed heartily, shaking their heads and probably amused with the question.

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We talked about all the telescopic rods available under that one roof. They sell rods of all lengths, sizes, weights and for several specific purposes. I mentioned how people tend to see any telescopic rods as tenkara rods, or assume tenkara rods are the same as bait-fishing cane poles. They asked if telescopic rods were not common and seemed to understand the difficulty in the task of teaching the differences.

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Then, two “gaijin” (foreigners) entered the store looking for tenkara rods. They were from Italy and had been hearing about tenkara in recent times, a method similar to their own Pesca alla Valsesiana. They recognized me and I proceeded to teach them the bits of tenkara I could at the confined space.

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Hopefully I will share some cool fishing stories, tenkara flies, and more soon. The dizzying speed of Tokyo makes me want to hop on the next train. Fishing can’t come soon enough.

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13 Responses to Japan, day 1: Tea, Hachiko, and Telescopic rods

  1. Craig says:

    Awesome, great and interseting tea pots, if you know what is the horn like extension off of the tea pot? Enjoy your amazing trip, I know need to find wehre my cousin is living and have hime ship some stuff my way.

  2. Jason Klass says:

    Awesome first day Daniel! It must be cool to be recognized in Japan. Hope you get out of the madness of Tokyo soon!

  3. Greg B says:

    That store would be dangerous for me. I could spend so much money there on a dozen different rods.

    Glad you’re enjoying your trip. Give Margaret a hug for us.

  4. Jun says:

    I am always reading your blog and glad to know that you had a great day today in Shibuya.

    I did tenkara fishing at the river “Azusa” in the suburb of LA almost ten years ago….
    I also tried tenkara fishing in the central park in NY two years ago. None of my friends in Japan can believe I did tenkara in the park.

    I hope you have great time in Japan and am looking forward to your fishing report!

  5. Once again, I am looking forward every day to some great posts from Japan on this blog. Thanks for doing this, Daniel.

    “We talked about all the telescopic rods available under that one roof. They sell rods of all lengths, sizes, weights and for several specific purposes. I mentioned how people tend to see any telescopic rods as tenkara rods, or assume tenkara rods are the same as bait-fishing cane poles. They asked if telescopic rods were not common and seemed to understand the difficulty in the task of teaching the differences.”

    I’d LOVE to see a detailed breakdown of these telescopic rods available under one roof in Japan. It’s such a unique thing, and I, like most Westerners, really do not have a strong grasp of the taxonomy that has been developed in Japan for telescopic rods. I don’t even know whether tanago rods typically cast line or throw weight or something else.

  6. Cliff says:

    Nice post. What’s it like to be famous the whole world over?

    Your visit to Sansui begs the question — when are the Japanese going to start selling your Tenkara USA rods and gear?

  7. Matt (statikpunk) Donovan says:

    I had never heard of Hochiko before so I googled it. what a great story. i think if I croaked my dog would follow the first person to give him a piece of bacon for the rest of his life :)

    ps speaking of rods, I am really hopping that you will get around to seeing how a bamboo tenkara rod is made :) I hope I hope

  8. Richard E. Brotzman says:

    Dan,
    Great first day trip, enjoy your stay. Reading some of your posts on first day I see you held a ting Tanago rod , that closes to 12″ and open to 2.2 meters. All I can say is WOW a rod like this would make a great micro fly fishing rod for very small streams and pan fish. Would you consider such a rod in your line up!

    • Hi Richard,
      Thanks for the comment. Though the portability is incredible, can’t say it is of interest at the moment as the function of the rod is very limited. I’ll be posting a video on the different telescopic rods shortly.

  9. Cliff says:

    Hi Richard,

    Chris Stewart (aka Tenkara Bum) has spent some time exploring Tanago fishing techniques and tackle. Might be worth sending him a PM if you’d like to know more.

  10. Jeff says:

    Dan,

    Thanks for the wonderful recap of your first day. Never expected to add to my cultural experiences via your website. Originally just stumbled upon your site and Tenakara, and it seems to have struck a deep chord with me. After much internal debate about which would be the perfect starter rod, days ago, I ordered my first Tenkara rod – the TenkaraUSA Iwana 12″. I’m anxiously awaiting delivery. Feel like a little kid waiting for a special present. Thanks for bringing a unique and wonderful gift to America.

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