Saturday, November 12, 2016

Tenkara in Japan with the Eiji Yamakawa

Fishing with the natives.

       Two weeks before departure it looked like it wasn't going to happen. I'd googled "Tenkara in Japan" in dozens of forms trying to make contact with a fly shop or guide to take me out for a day from Osaka. The only thing I'd been able to determine was that the fishing season sort-of ended in September but private stream fishing was possible until the end of October. I was surprised it was so difficult.
       But then reading the material sent by Overseas Adventure Travel, I discovered I was facing a cultural problem. The shy Japanese nature does not allow the easy connections Americans might expect with others with similar interest. You needed to be introduced by a mutual friend or acquaintance. Aha. Like the old days in US fly shops where you couldn't even buy flies unless someone vouched for you.
       Luckily, Daniel Galhardo, Tenkara USA, finally pulled my email plea from his junk mail and connected me with Eiji Yamakawa, a tenkara angler living near Osaka who, once introduced, was more than willing to take some time off and take me out on a stream in the mountain. The language of fishing is same the world over even without a common tongue. I've had a lot of fun engaging with native anglers for hours using only the props of our equipment, fingers pointing at the stream, and swapping rods and flies.