If I have not posted anything on my blog for a month it is not that I am tired of this blog but I was gone in Japan and instead of blogging during my stay there I decided to live each day to the fullest. Now I am back in my country I have time to post articles about my experience of tenkara in Japan that will undoubtedly have a great influence on my tenkara in the future.
After one day and a half in Tokyo I did meet with Keiichi-san in Mito station from where we had planned to go to Tadami. I have been in touch through Facebook with Keiichi-san for about two years now but I never had the opportunity to meet in real life but I did not have any doubt about the fact that we would get along. When we did meet we instantly talk to each other like old friends! Out of the station we took Keiichi-san's car to Tadami where the famous Sebata-san was waiting fo us. IThe house where the Tenkara master lives is an old "bansho", a check point between prefectures.
We did arrive late in the evening but Sebata-san did welcome us warmly.
While waiting for our friends to arrive we had sansai lunch and drunk beer and sake with Sebata-san. We did talk about genryu fishing, sansai, the history of tenkara, Sebata-san's philosophy and I am really grateful to Sebata-san for sharing his knowledge and opinion with me.
Our friends did arrive one after one late in the night, once we were all gathered we went to sleep a little bit. At half past five we did get up and got ready to go fishing. It is rain season in Japan, my previous day in Tokyo was very wet and humid, but this morning the temperature was not so high and cloud custers clung to the sides of the surrounding mountains. The weather forecast was good so one could hope that we were going to have a very good genryu fishing trip. We did leave the village aboard a small van that dropped us after a thirty minutes drives on a parking lot along a small mountain road from which we will walk to the Kanuzogawa. Arrived on the banks of this beautiful stream we had breakfast. Tsurumi-san, Takano-san and I got our rods ready but we did not catch any fish on the last mile before the confluence of Kanuzogawa with the tributary that we had planned to fish during this genryu fishing trip.
Before we left his home Sebata-san told us that this part of the stream was dramatically damaged three years ago by floods and that the iwana population was slowly recovering. I did catch my first fish in Japan a few meters downstream to the confluence of Kanuzogawa with Akakuzure-sawa: a small iwana.
It was bout 10 a.m when we arrived at the place of the "temba", our base camp. We got everything ready and had breakfast. Onigiri and spaghetti were delicious!
Then we started fishing and wading upstream from the base camp. The average size of the iwana was bigger as we were going more upstream. Iwana are not trouts but chars. As I am not used to fish this kind of fishes I did ask my fellow anglers their technique and they were good advisors because I only had to do what they told me to catch a lot of iwana. But to me the best aspect of this genryu fishing trip was to meet them. Catching even more iwana in bad company would have brought me less pleasure than fishing with my friends.
I did fish during this genryu trip with only one kebari: the zenmai-dou.
We were fishing one after one, without any hint of competition. We were all happy to see each of us catching fish.
We had great times fishing together and the stream was very generous with us. The conditions were very good for successful fishing.
In the narrower parts of the stream there were still a lot of snow bridges and it is a few meters upstream one of them that I did catch a beautiful "shaku-gami" iwana. One "shaku" is a length of about 31 centimeters which is considered as big fish in this kind of mountain stream. This fish escape from my net just at the moment when Takano-san was about to take a picture! We were very surprised by the liveliness of this iwana. My friends congratulated me warmly for catching this very nice sized iwana.
As we were going further upstream the snow bridges were more numerous and higher. As iwana need cold water we were enthusiasts when climbing these snow bridges but had to be very careful.
By the end of the afternoon we did arrive at a very narrow spot with a very thick snow bridge and as we did not have any climbing gear Keiichi-san and Ito-san decided that it was time to go back to the temba. Japan is the sunrise country but also the "early night" country. I was filled by this first day of genryu tenkara fishing.
Back at the temba we picked up firewood and I also picked up zenmai along the stream. Once the fire burning we all relaxed drinking an ice cold Asahi.
Tsurumi-san cooked yakitori, chanko-nabe and ramen. We did take our time and did eat while discussing about genryu fishing, tenkara, fishing in France and many other topics related. We had a lot of fun during this evening in the mountains.
I will keep a very good memory of this genryu fishing trip.
After a few hours of sleep we were awaken by the unpleasant sound of rain slapping on the tarp under which we were sleeping. As none of us was motivated to go fishing under the rain we did take the time for a breakfast of steamed rice. Then we dismantled our base camp before heading the confluence of Kanozugawa and Akakuzure-sawa from which we were going to fish the upper part of Kanozugawa.
The fishing was not as good as it was the day before, perhaps because of the rain. We did catch only a few iwana during the morning. They were beautiful but it was really hard to meet success.
During this two days genryu fishing trip I think that we really had great times, has lot of fun, caught beautiful fishes in very nice places and all that in a very good atmosphere. Around noon the last iwana caught and released we did collapse our rods and begin walking downstream.
Back at the confluence of both streams we had explored we stopped along the stream to take our lunch.
This lunch made us he greatest good and gave us energy for the last miles we had to walk to Tadami. We will make a detour to a village nearby to go to the onsen because we needed to wash ourselves and also to relax after these couple of days with very few sleep.
Back in Tadami we had a memorable party with Sebata-san and other friends of his who share our passion for tenkara. Sebata-san is a great chef and he had prepared an excellent menu.
The evening was rich of discussions about all things tenkara and genryu but also was a great moment of fun as Sebata-san has a great sense of humor. He does not take himself seriously. We had not slept a lot the last couple of days but we wanted to enjoy this moment to the fullest and kept awake late in the night.
The morning we did wake up early to go fishing yamame in the valley and despite his back aches Sebata-san came with us. We watched him fish the first pool of the stream and I think that we all admired his wasting which is very delicate and accurate.
The fishing was very though the whole morning and I caught three small yamame, Takano-san hooked a big one but it managed to go away before being landed.
It was about noon when Sebata-san invited us to stop fishing and go eating soba noodles. After almost three days spent together it was time to part. Three days I will never forget.