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Daniel: Questions while in Japan about tenkara culture?

Tenkara is a new type of fishing to the US, and information (particularly in English) is sparse. This is the place to build a knowledge base of Tenkara.

Re: Daniel: Questions while in Japan about tenkara culture?

Postby Daniel @ Tenkara USA » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:52 am

Eddie,
Thank you for pitching in on the translation of the Uratanzawa place. I had just asked Osaki-san about the translation of the term a bit over an hour ago and was going to post when I got back home. It was interesting to learn about the term "Ura" v. "Omote" (Head v. Tails), which may be used to talk about 2 sides of Japan, or 2 areas that are "opposites" of each other.

Eddie, do you know of any tenkara stories? Or, tenkara related music, etc. I wonder how much of a tenkara culture there may have been in Japan but has been lost.

It's looking less likely that I will be camping at all on this trip. It really isn't because of the bears, though they have kept me from going alone. I have been busy with more stuff than I ever expected and camping just didn't fit in. Wish I could stay for a year this time!

Tomorrow Ayu fishing season starts here on the Mazegawa. It's incredibly interesting to see things "coming to life" today as people prepare and expect the ayu fishermen. The village suddenly has 2 new stores, and many buildings I have never noticed have a "siren" light outside their door indicating they are opening for business. Many of these places sell live ayu, which is used for decoy fishing. I won't be here tomorrow to witness the opening, as I have to drive to a tenkara event. I should see people fishing though, as tonight I saw a lot of cars parked on the side of the road waiting for the opener. I heard it's impossible to do tenkara fishing on the ayu season opener . Ayu fishing is a huge deal here, and I got to see it in a town nearby. It's like the professional bass fishing of the US, but done on streams, and in a very interesting way. One of the fishing stores I visited had a calendar with season opening dates for all the streams in the region....Exciting to see something like that, and will probably write at least once about it.
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Re: Daniel: Questions while in Japan about tenkara culture?

Postby Eddie » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:57 am

Daniel,

You seem busy enjoying tenkara, local cultures, and all.

As you wrote about うら and おもて, let me add some more about how that machine translation made such a translation.

The name of うらたんざわis pronounced as "ura tanzawa". "Ura" means back side, opposite side, or rear side. "Tanzawa" is a name of a mountain near Tokyo. So, "tan lining" must have made up of "lining" coming from "back side" and "tan" coming from "tanzawa". But I cannot figure out how "zawa" of "tanzawa" was translated as "Kanazawa", which is a beautiful town hundreds kilometers away from Tanzawa mountain.

Regarding stories and musics about tenkara, I am afraid I do not think there used to be one. Because tenkara has been done by a very few people. But there in an interesting picture book for kids written by Yamamoto Soseki. This story is on two amago anglers.

http://ord.yahoo.co.jp/o/image/SIG=12cn ... ceeb21.jpg

Regarding black bears, they are not very dangerous and their population is not so big as you think. This is just my guess, but only a few dozens of people are injured by them a year.

Ayu fishing is a much more big business than tenkara, and popular places are crowded with ayu anglers fishing side by side at intervals of 20 m. That in one reason why I do not do ayu fishing.

Mr. Amano is a famous ayu angler, too.

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Re: Daniel: Questions while in Japan about tenkara culture?

Postby dwalker » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:14 am

Eddie wrote:" tan lining" is just a mistranslation and is nonsense.
うらたんざわ テンカラビッグファイト 2010年11月13日 should have been translated as:
Uratanzawa tenkara big fight, November 13, 2010
"うらたんざわ" is a name of a place.
Eddie


Thanks Eddie. Oh, for sure I know I sometimes get translations that are complete nonsense. And sometimes have to completely abandon trying to understand the information on a web page.

However, most of the time after a bit of playing around with the terms, separating them etc, I can get to a place where the words are mostly correct ( maybe still Tarzan pidgin language as Daniel mentioned ) or I know the words in English are still completely wrong but I understand the concept or idea represented and can use the term to find new interesting related things. In the end words are just symbols of ideas. Doesn't matter how they are written.

I often find that cutting an pasting the Japanese terms into a new window, using the same translation engine, I get a completely different translation. As an example - today when I copied うらたんざわ テンカラビッグファイト into google translator , it partly translated as 'tan reverse', not tan lining. So it got a little closer to your explanation of Ura, meaning the reverse side.

It takes a while to understand things from a different culture. When I first moved to Hawaii I obtained a map of trails through the mountains and went for a hike. Where I got a bit lost as I had my first encounter with the the terms , mauka and makai, written on the directions for which way to turn. Those terms refused to fit directions on a compass. :? Mauka and makai seem a bit like the idea behind Ura. Mauka is 'mountain side or toward the mountains' and makai is ' sea side or toward the sea'. Depending on which side of the island your walking on, the compass direction completely changes.

Anyway, I figured out it was fishing on the same river. I just couldn't figure out if that is all it was or if there was more to it. The odd translation lead me to think it was perhaps fishing for a certain species of fish or fishing during a certain time of year, or something else.

Sometimes we learn more from our mistakes than from success without mistakes. :)

Sorry for the distraction down the wrong trail. :(
But thanks for the explanations. :)
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Re: Daniel: Questions while in Japan about tenkara culture?

Postby dwalker » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:30 am

Eddie wrote:...Regarding stories and musics about tenkara, .....
Eddie


I surprised there is not more of a literary tradition about tenkara fishing. There may have been few people involved, but many people over a few hundred years is time enough to have developed some written or oral traditions.

Anyway, sounds like there is only one Tenkara proverb. That proverb being the one that says "When the wisteria is in bloom it is time to start tenkara fishing. " or some similar wording.
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Re: Daniel: Questions while in Japan about tenkara culture?

Postby dwalker » Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:07 am

Daniel @ TenkaraUSA wrote:... I have to drive to a tenkara event. ...


My last question. I promise. And I will stop pestering with odd ball questions.
No or little tenkara art, apparently only one proverb.

How about games of skill for self practice or events for fun done at tenkara gatherings? Will there be any thing similar to the below exercises done at the event you will be attending?

Now and then I find web pages talking about Tenkara games or contest. Here are links to two I recall seeing. One seems to be something to be done alone to practice casting accuracy. The other a casting contest at tenkara gatherings. I thought perhaps there are other games or contest of skill done at tenkara gatherings or festivals or self practice exercises, besides the ones I have seen that may be common in Japan. At least it might be fun to learn Dr Ishigaki's casting contest rules. :)
That could be a good one because in the Tenkara Masters video the accuracy of the cast is emphasized as being of first importance over other skills. Or so it seemed to me.

The game involves casting a fly into a cup ( maybe a 4", 100mm, diameter cup , smaller ? ) :
Here's a picture from one site, where the aim seemed to be solo practice of accuracy.

Image

The translation is completely not understandable. Other than there seem to be points for hitting the edge of the bowl, or landing inside. The web page is one of those odd ones that doesn't display the Japanese characters, on my iMac, but google translate will translate the page into odd English and display Japanese when I scroll over the text. :? fwiw -

http://translate.google.com/translate?j ... 2Fpo5.html

This casting contest with a time limit I found on Dr. Ishigaki's web page. The rules for the casting contest are not understandable from google translate. But since I saw this contest on Dr Ishigaki's web site, the rules may be easily learned from him or perhaps he has demonstrated it at some of his seminars and those of you who have attended have seen it before. I couldn't determine distance to the bowl or if during the contest they cast in more than one direction. Since there is mention of 4 bowls, I thought perhaps they cast in more than one direction. Or may be there were only 4 players.

Here's the link, 6 and 7th paragraphs down from the top. All I could get out of it was winner cast most flies in the bowl in the last 20 seconds. But perhaps even that is wrong translation. Does it really mean 'last 20 seconds"? If so, then what goes on before that ?

http://aitech.ac.jp/~ishigaki/tenkara/2010/suekawa4.htm

Are there any other tenkara party games besides these or self practices common in Japan?

OK. That's it from me. Thanks for reading and responding to my questions.

Thanks,
D
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Re: Daniel: Questions while in Japan about tenkara culture?

Postby Eddie » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:59 am

Eddie wrote:Regarding stories and musics about tenkara, I am afraid I do not think there used to be one.


I remember one story, which is about a name of a water fall.

I went to Norikura highland (3-4 ours from Mazegawa) last year with our club members. There was a waterfall named Zengoro fall, which is named after a name of a lumberjack. Once upon a time, lumberjack Zengoro fished a plunge pool of a waterfall, hooked a tremendously large iwana, and was almost drawn into the pool. But he successfully managed to escape and went back home. Since then, that waterfall has been called Zengoro fall. I do not know he fished by tenkara or not, though.

http://translate.google.com/translate?h ... md%3Divnsm

Eddie

Iwana in the Zengoro fall.jpg
Small iwana in the Zengoro fall (a bit lower left from the center)
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Re: Daniel: Questions while in Japan about tenkara culture?

Postby jayfisher » Sat Jun 18, 2011 3:43 am

Rather than three separate posts, I'll combine them into one:


1. Eddie,
Thanks for explaining. Ever since I saw your slide show, I've appreciated your comments. You are a great resource here on the Forum. You, Daniel, and the others are helping to transmit the tenkara tradition to the West.

* * *

2. The words "Mauka" and "makai" in Hawaii and "ura" all bring back memories! It's been so many years since I've lived in Hawaii that hearing these words is like opening a closet of unused words. :) It's a reconnection and a very interesting experience.

* * *

3. This is a great discussion, full of enrichment and understanding. And that picture of the cup with kebari looks like it would be a great cup for tea, miso shiru, or sake after the contest. :)

-Jack
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Weather and fishing seasons?

Postby jayfisher » Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:09 am

Daniel and Eddie,

Daniel's post talks about the opening of Ayu season. And in his blog, Daniel talks about all the rain he's been experiencing recently. I've always understood that this is supposed to be the "rainy season" (tsuyu?) in Japan.

So this brings up the question of fishing seasons: How does the rainy season match with the best fishing seasons for different fish? Is the Ayu season best around the rainy season? For tenkara, when are the best times for different fish?

Thanks!
-Jack

Added: Picture of charcoal grilled ayu:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7e/Charcoal_broiled_Ayu.JPG
Daniel, have you had these? Looks like they'd go great with green tea or sake. :)
Last edited by jayfisher on Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Daniel: Questions while in Japan about tenkara culture?

Postby Daniel @ Tenkara USA » Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:25 am

Got a few minutes of online time before I go to bed and decided to pop in on this thread. I'm enjoying it.

About the charcoal trout, I really enjoy them. I don't have it all the time, it's probably my favorite dish and I'm in no rush to get tired of it. But, as timely as your question is, I just prepared some yesterday for lunch. They actually go great with beer!
Image

Today I'm participating in a tenkara event with Ishigaki sensei. There are about 15 of us here. It's been very enjoyable. It's 11:15 and we just finished dinner. I tried probing on stories and music, but no one knew of any. I confirmed the names of some old-timer tenkara anglers, and indeed Amano san (posted on the blog) is one of the longest known practitioners of tenkara. After dinner we had a fundraiser for earthquake victims. Towards the end they had a game of rock/paper/scissors and I won a Shimano rod, for free. As I already have a couple, and truly would have no use for it, I decided to hold an American style auction, selling the rod to the highest bidder. Was happy to raise more money that way, the rod went for $80. A Tenkara USA t-shirt and a couple of our sets of flies were huge hits.
I'm posting a few pictures on the blog today.
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Re: Daniel: Questions while in Japan about tenkara culture?

Postby dwalker » Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:22 am

Eddie wrote: I remember one story, which is about a name of a water fall......


Thanks Eddie,
Maybe the Japanese culture is not inclined to create folk heroes like Johnny Appleseed, Casey Jones, etc.

Yet I surprised that the natural world in which the tenkara fishermen of the past spent so much of their time did not inspire more stories about nature if not about the fishermen themselves. Even in the story about Goro the woodcutter fisherman, the story is just as much about the water fall and the giant char as it is about him.

善五郎の滝 Zen Goro Water Fall - a couple of different views.

Image
Image

These places ought to have inspired some sort of legends, or songs and every one likes a fish story. Even if they are a bit fishy ;) :

http://www.tengallon.jp/treck/taki/

http://www.tengallon.jp/treck/sengenootaki/

:)

Zen Goro on youtube.
Summer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9sUF7ubZ1s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j6pm2fOD3w

Winter, a bit different from water curtain climbing, ;)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGrRrRkIBts
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