Outdoor Japan TRAVELER - Issue 47 - Spring 2013
Spring 2013, Issue #47 of Outdoor Japan's TRAVELER magazine features trail running, ultra trail running, mysterious islands, mad dashes, beach volleyball, sacred journeys and much more to help you have fun and stay active this spring!
SPRIN G ISSUE 2013 47 e h t g n i o G e c n a t s Di Okinawa’s Mystery Island Running Toward Enlightenment GO OU T S I DE FR Warrior Dash The North Face Cup ACTION ■ ADVENTURE ■ TRAVEL ■ OUTDOORS H AIR IS ES ISSUE 47 - SPRING 2013 CONTENTS 10 12 14 15 FEATURES Warrior Dash Warriors come out to play! Cover photo by Yosuke Kashiwakura 21st Marianas Cup Beach Volleyball Festival OUTDOOR JAPAN TRAVELER Published Seasonally Publisher Outdoor Japan Inc. Editor-in-Chief Gardner Robinson Editor William Ross Business Development Director Luke McDonald Art Director Yuki Masuko Contributing Editors Wayne Graczyk, Shigeo Morishita, Eri Nishikawa Administration & Distribution Rika Cook Illustration Eureka! Translation Kumiko Kurosaki, Junco Mitsui, Tomoko Okazaki Contact Information: Outdoor Japan Inc. 6-6-55 Higashi Kaigan Minami, Chigasaki-shi, Kanagawa 253-0054 253-0054 6-6-55 The Long Way Around Cycling for Hope Back in the Saddle An interview with Sarah Outen 16 24 36 41 48 COLUMNS Going the Distance By Pauline Kitamura Okinawa’s Mystery Island Story & photos by Tim Rock The North Face Cup 2013 Japan Rock Tour Photo Essay by Eddie Gianelloni Running Toward Enlightenment By Amy Chavez Tel: (0467) 81-3212 Fax: (0467) 81-3213 Editorial: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: email@example.com Subscriptions: firstname.lastname@example.org Comments: email@example.com OJ Creative: firstname.lastname@example.org Building Snow Men By Chad Crowe 6 46 47 Inside Out Golden Week Photo Tips By Craig Yamashita 54 56 57 8 Upcoming Events Japan Angler Hurry Up and Wait By Abdel Ibrahim www.facebook/japantraveler www.twitter.com/outdoorjapan www.youtube.com/outdoorjapan On the Run Flower Power By Robert Self The Local Brew Koenji Beer Kobo By Bryan Harrell High Tide Koen By Mitsuharu Kume Cycling Japan A Journey Across the Bay 58 OJ Classifieds By Takashi Niwa ©2013 OUTDOOR JAPAN INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED. VIEWS EXPRESSED HEREIN ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF OUTDOOR JAPAN. Printed in Japan. 4 From the Editor Contributors, Columnists & Cohorts Extreme White Water Challenge, Oxfam Trailwalker, Cinco de Mayo Festival Lifestyle Directory Travel. Make deep turns. Ride your bike.Take a bath. Ride a wave.Take a walk. Climb something. Explore. SPRING 2 0 1 3 3 FROM THE EDITOR Gardner Robinson, Editor-in-Chief Contributors, Columnists and Cohorts S ometimes when we go to press with our spring issue, winter still has a tight grip on things. There have been a lot of good powder days this winter, but there is no question spring has sprung early. The cherry revelry is already in full swing (nearly two weeks earlier than normal) here in the Kanto area, and the spring buzz in the air is palpable. It’s bittersweet for us powder lovers; the energy is invigorating, but we also want to squeeze every last drop from the white season before the pink season arrives in Japan. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy some great days on the mountain before the resorts close for the season. Grab some sunscreen and your BBQ gear and enjoy some spring skiing. If you are looking for ideas to shake the rust off those winter legs, there is no shortage of options. Weekend Warriors can splash, crash and then have a big bash at the Warrior Dash. The Japan Debut kicks off in June. It’s good to see an event throw a party for competitors after the race, as too many times in Japan fellow athletes compete and then head home, missing the opportunity to share their passion and camaraderie with other enthusiasts. You can walk or run in April’s Oxfam Trail Walker, a great challenge for a great cause and, if you want to shed some kilos while gaining some spirituality, follow Amy Chavez as she takes on the Shikoku Pilgrimage on the run. We also welcome a new columnist; accomplished running and trail running coach Robert Self shows us how flower power can keep us moving on the trails this spring. If you really want to push yourself to the limit, follow our long-time contributor Pauline Kitamura as she gives us a look at this year’s Ultra Trail Mount Fuji. It’s not every day I get a call from my hometown pitching a story for Outdoor Japan. But when Chad Crowe mentioned he had been chosen to represent Portland, Oregon, the sister city of Sapporo, Hokkaido (the cities share the same longitude as well), in this year’s Sapporo Snow Festival, I was intrigued. A cartoonist and float designer by trade, and the fact he candidly shared that he had absolutely no experience sculpting ice, let alone in an international competition, sealed the deal. Anyone willing to jump into the fray with a sense of humor had our support. Check out his insider’s look at the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri from an outsider’s point of view. Shifting from snow to sand, our Island Beat Editor, Tim Rock, ventures out to Yonaguni in search of lost civilizations and hammerhead sharks. There is a mysterious aura around Yonaguni, and we were excited to go and have a look for ourselves. With low cost carriers running regular flights to Naha from Tokyo, Haneda and other cities, there’s never been a better time to go explore Okinawa’s islands. As we head into spring, we’d like to thank everyone who came out to celebrate winter at our Snow Splash events this year, and everyone who supported Japan and Outdoor Japan in 2012. As our columnist Mitsuharu Kume likes to remind us, the tide is rising…things are looking up. Go out and enjoy the season! Pauline Kitamura ポーリーン 北村 ティム・ロック Tim Rock エデイ・ジーアネロニ Eddie Gianelloni エイミー・チャベズ Amy Chavez チャド・クロウ Chad Crowe Craig Yamashita クレイグ・山下 2 ロバート・セルフ Robert Self Mitsuharu Kume 久米 満晴 6 アブデル・イブラヒム Abdel Ibrahim ブライアン・ハレル Bryan Harrell 4 Takashi Niwa email@example.com 4 丹羽 隆志 SPRING 2 0 1 3 By Craig Yamashita Illustration by Eureka! Translation by Aya Aoki Photo Tips for Your Golden Week Snapshots あなたのゴールデンウィーク写真ヒント ： Here’s a secret of the pros: Shoot for show, crop for dough. クロッピ ングが 肝 心で す。 GET ¥1,995 www.surfersjournal.jp 6 SPRING 2 0 1 3 SPRING 2 0 1 3 7 01 3 2 ING 47 R P S SUE IS RACES & EVENTS SPOTLIGHTS May 3-4 1 1st Annual Cinco de Mayo Festival Don’t miss the inaugural Cinco de Mayo Festival in Japan. Although it traditionally celebrated on May 5, the Japan event will take place on the weekend of May 3-4 is in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park. Mexican culture and heritage will be on center stage but the event will also be a celebration of all the Americas, showcasing countries from Canada to Chile, with delicious food, drinks and entertainment from Mexico, America, Peru, Brazil, Chile and other countries in the Western Hemisphere. Highlights include mariachi bands, salsa dancing, traditional dance and performances by Fabiola Jaramillo, a finalist in "La Academia," a Mexican version of "American Idol," and Oscar Lobbo, whose album hit the top of Latin Billboard chart for six consecutive weeks. Location: Yoyogi Park, Tokyo Details: www.cincodemayo.jp May 10-12 Oxfam Trailwalker 2013 2013 Oxfam Trailwalker is a challenging endurance event with teams of four covering 100 kilometers of trail in 48 hours. It is also a rewarding fundraising exercise. Each team commits to raising at least ¥120,000 to support Oxfam projects. In 2012, Oxfam Trailwalker took place in 13 countries. While physically challenging, teamwork is crucial as teams are required to start together, stay together and finish together. Crossing the finish line is rewarding but not nearly as much as knowing you are helping some of the poorest communities in the world. Registration is available on the Oxfam Japan Web site. Location: Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park Details: www.trailwalker.jp/en/ June 9-10 HOA HOA Extreme Whitewater Challenge 2013 Building on the success of previous years, the HOA Extreme White Water Weekend is gong big in 2013. Red Bull Kayaker Ben Brown will be back along with World Champion Erick Southwick, ensuring there will be no shortage of exciting paddling. This year’s event will once again take place on the Sarugawa (Saru River) in Hidaka on the weekend of June 9-10. There will be plenty of action on the river on both days with the extreme slalom, down river race and freestyle event. Everyone is welcome to join the rafting race, which features teams of six, but if you are coming solo, don’t worry, you can jump in a boat. All participants receive race T-shirts and there will be plenty of prizes for winners. Staying true to form, a big party takes place on the night of June 9 with DJs spinning and a special movie premier. The event is put on by Hokkaido Outdoor Adventures with the support of Pyranha Kayaks, Teva Footwear, Red Bull and Outdoor Japan. Location: Hidaka, Hokkaido Details: www.rafting-hoa.co.jp 8 SPRING 2 0 1 3 SPRING 2 0 1 3 9 “H ey boppers…” if you are younger than 40 years old, you may not recognize these obscure references to the 1979 movie, “The Warriors.” In the cult classic, a minor New York gang is unfairly blamed for a murder, and the members find themselves running across the city, trying to get back to their home turf on Coney Island. They face a myriad of obstacles along the way; not the least, every other gang in the city trying to take them out. Warrior Dash is just like this… well, minus the sultry DJ, people trying to inflict bodily harm on you and the bad late-’70s fashion. That being said, Warrior Dash provides plenty of obstacles for you or your ragtag team to navigate in a race against time. You will see some big hair and crazy outfits and there are other gangs out there chasing you around. So what is Warrior Dash? Is it one of those three-day adventure races for uber-fit endurance athletes? Is it a mad sprint put on by Hash Hound Harriers? Is it some kind of adult costume party in the forest? Perhaps it's a little bit of everything. According to race director David Scott who has helped bring the series to Japan, “Warrior Dash is the No. 1 obstacle racing brand in the world; it’s exercise and entertainment all in the same venue, a five-kilometer obstacle race over natural terrain, as well as a festival with music and great food for spectators and runners before and after running.” The course is designed to test participants’ stamina, strength, balance and dexterity. Some obstacles may challenge your fear of heights; for neat freaks it might be a discomfort with getting dirty. You will definitely have to walk or run, climb, crawl and jump. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself leaping over tires, mucking across a mud pit, climbing walls, tight walking a balance beam, jumping on the hood of a car or leaping over fire. Warrior Dash is held over two days with participants divided into “waves” (groups) according to their start time. Every half-hour a new wave of runners will start the W t u o e m co play! to dner By Gar Robins on … s r o arri 10 SPRING 2 0 1 3 June 15-16: Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest, Kanagawa June 22-23: Naeba Ski Field, Niigata July 27-28: Tokyo Doitsu Mura, Kisarazu, Chiba Web: www.warriordash.jp Facebook: www.facebook.com/warriordashjapan YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/WarriorDashJapan WARRIOR DASH DATES WARRIOR WEB CONNECTION five-kilometer course that takes from 30 minutes to one hour to complete. Race organizers expect about 5,000 Warriors to join each day. The first group will start at 9 a.m.; the last group at 4 p.m., so all the participants have plenty of time to get around the course and through the obstacles without any major delays. While Warrior Dash is personal challenge rather than a race, everyone will be timed, and the results are listed on the Warrior Dash Web site. “Warrior Dash is a ‘My Pace’ run. Experience tells us 95 percent of participants are interested in combining fun with their exercise, and five percent will want to time themselves against the clock and fellow competitors. Participants are welcome to run as individuals or in teams,” Scott says. Anyone 15 or older can enter Warrior Dash to run the course. Children with a parent or guardian are allowed in the festival area. In 2012, more than 500 people over 70 years old participated in the events in the USA. It is recommended you bring a pair of running shoes and a change of clothing. You’ll also need a ticket, available through the Web site. The cut-off date for buying tickets is one week before the event. Perhaps the best thing about Warrior Dash is the fun doesn’t stop when you finish your “race.” The festivities get going in the morning, featuring local and international food and DJs and live music playing all day. All participants receive a free beer (or non-alcoholic beverage). The fun, party atmosphere, combined with the opportunity to stay fit and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow racers, is all part of the formula that has made the USA events so incredibly popular. "So all you boppers out there…" grab your crew, channel your inner warrior and join the fun. It’ll be better than getting chased across New York City at night. "Warriors…come out to playeaay!" ✤ SPRING 2 0 1 3 11 p u C s a n a i l r l a a b M y t e l s l 1 o 2 V l a h v c i a t s e B Fe B ner R y Gard obins on t’s not every day you get a chance to play your favorite sport with—or against—some of the world’s top athletes. Yet for more than two decades, the Marianas Cup Beach Volleyball Festival has been inviting some of the top international and Japanese beach volleyball pros to the island of Saipan to play alongside amateur players in a friendly pro-am competition. A raffle is held the night before the tournament, and a few lucky players get to go into battle with a pro at their side. This year, the organizers moved the beach volleyball festival to neighboring Guam. The Beach Bar at beautiful Gun Beach hosted the weekend tournament, which included round-robin pool play on Saturday and a double elimination winner’s bracket on Sunday. The atmosphere I at the event is fun and festive, but it gets more serious the more you advance into the tournament; winning teams take home US$3,000 cash and a free trip to next year’s event. The Marianas Cup, however, is more than just a proam tournament. The organizers have worked hard to include a number of grass roots events to help grow the sport. This year a Junior Cup was held in Saipan, and kids events on both Saipan and Guam. This year’s pros, from Japan, USA and Canada, visited local schools and held clinics to promote the sport to the next generation of volleyball athletes. There was also an exciting exhibition match with the men and women pros from North America taking on the SPRING Japanese teams. The American men and the Japanese women each won decisively. The setting could not have been better for the pro-am tournament – there was plenty of sun, sand, spikes and saves, while the crowd sipped on cold drinks and enjoyed the action. On the women’s side, former teammates, and cup champions, Miki Oyama and Miyuki Matsumura squared off in the final, with their new partners. It was a tight, hard-fought final but, in the end, Miki and partner Angela Ishida proved too strong, winning 21-18 and preserving their undefeated run in the tournament. Guam local Manny Guarin paired up with American pro Tri Bourne and carried one loss into the men’s final 12 2 0 1 3 Photo b y Aman da Pule o against the undefeated Japanese team of Yoshinori Nakatani and Yuto Watanabe. Bourne and Guarin needed to beat the Japanese twice to take home the trophy. As a beautiful Micronesian sunset faded into the evening, so did the hopes of the Japanese team. Bourne seemed to get stronger as the matches wore on and, with Guarin finding his groove, the pair walked off the beach with the win and the cash. “The Marianas Cup was really cool. I love that there are so many people who care enough about the sport here and keep it alive, for themselves and the younger generations. I feel fortunate to have been invited, and I hope I can help to promote the sport in the same way once I'm done playing,” said USC graduate Bourne. While the crowd enjoyed the high-level of competition of the final day’s matches, what makes the Marianas Cup special is the fun, friendly atmosphere of the event. The tournament attracts a wide range of players, from weekend warriors, high school and college kids, to more seasoned veterans. Spectators and participants equally enjoyed the weekend, with parents cheering on kids, teams cheering on one another and lots of high-fives and smiles all the way around. The Marianas Cup is the longest running beach volleyball tournament in the region, and it is put on with the support of United Airlines, the Guam Visitor’s Bureau, the Marianas Visitor’s Authority, Fiesta Resort & Spa SPRING Saipan, The Beach Bar & Grill, Docomo Pacific, Miller Lite and many local sponsors. The organizers would love to see more teams come from Japan to enjoy a fun, active weekend in the sand. Next year’s event will head back to Saipan, so grab a partner and practice those sets and spikes this summer, so you’ll be ready to go. ✤ Northern Marianas Volleyball Association: www.nmivolleyball.org Marianas Visitors Authority: www.mymarianas.com Guam Visitors Bureau: www.visitguam.org 2 0 1 3 13 JAPAN ADVENTURES The Long Way Around However, like him they must ride unsupported and take 100 percent responsibility for their own equipment, including camping equipment. They also must help raise money for the HOPE International Development Agency and Community Works Japan. He suggests they pledge ¥100 for every kilometer pedaled or ask others to sponsor their ride. For the first leg of the journey, Lowell will be joined by Coast to Coast amigo Tony Torres who will be riding his “BBQ bike” as well as Prof. Yoshi Masuda who was featured in the short film “Yoshi's Blend,” and who will be hauling a mobile café and his gramophone. “We will be an odd and quirky convoy,” Sheppard predicts. Readers can support the ride by buying a Kindle version or audio version of Chasing the Cherry Blossoms, available on Crashbang Books. ✤ WEB CONNECTION HOPE International Development Agency: www.hope.or.jp Japan Coast 2 Coast: www.japanc2c.com Crashbang Books: www.crashbangbooks.com Long-time Nagoya-resident Lowell Sheppard set to begin his latest cycling adventure for HOPE. T hirteen years ago a 45-year-old Lowell Sheppard set out with two friends and took up the challenge to cycle the length of Japan – nearly 3,000 kilometers – to raise money for HOPE International Development Agency. He published a book called Chasing the Cherry Blossoms, released both in English and Japanese. Since then, the “Three Amigos” have taken on other charitable adventures, such as the Japan Coast 2 Coast rides, and organized the first Tohoku Cycling Festival in 2012. Thirteen years later, you’d think Lowell would be that much the wiser and ready to take it easy. Think again. During Golden Week he will embark on another cycling journey in Japan, again riding from one coast to the other, but this time the long away around, more than 5,000 kilometers along the entire coastline of Japan. He’s also added a canine twist; he’ll be pedaling with his dog in tow. “She will ride in a trailer a good portion of the journey, but she’ll also run alongside me on a special leash for the uphill sections so she will get her daily exercise,” he adds. The ride will once again raise money for poor communities with which HOPE works overseas as well as for Community Works Japan, an organization that works with neglected communities in Japan and which takes the lead in organizing the annual Cycling Festival on Oshika Hanto with the support of Cannondale. “I have cycled coast to coast in Japan several times. I have crossed Honshu at its narrowest, its widest and highest, and also in Tohoku at its stormiest. I have also cycled across Kyushu, Shikoku and in Hokkaido. I even cycled the length of Japan, another coast to coast of sorts, which was my longest journey to date,” Lowell says. Lowell estimates the journey to cover about 5,500 kilometers, and he plans to attack the route in two stages over the two years. First, he’ll take on Honshu, Japan`s largest island. In May and June, he will pedal from Nagoya to Tohoku, visiting HOPE partners in Tohoku along the way, and up over the top of Honshu, making it as far as he can down the Japan Sea coast before rainy season. He hopes to complete Honshu later this year. Lowell is happy to have others join him on the ride. 14 SPRING 2 0 1 3 Back in the Saddle An interview with adventurer Sarah Outen who is back in Japan to attempt a human-powered crossing of the Pacific as part of her human-powered around-the-world journey. Outdoor Japan: The last we spoke you were here in Japan getting ready for your voyage. What was your mindset prior to your departure in May of 2012? Sarah Outen: After five months in Japan, I was a mix of emotions – keen to start the next phase of my London2London expedition across the Pacific and sad to be leaving behind friends I had made. The time between finishing the kayaking and cycling phase of my journey and starting out across the ocean in my rowing boat had been a combination of recovery, training, visiting schools and preparing for the ocean voyage. OJ: What was your planned course? SO: I launched my rowing boat from Choshi, Chiba, on May 13 and was headed right across the Pacific Ocean to Canada. I expected it to take five or six months. OJ: When did you first realize you were facing some treacherous conditions? SO: On June 2, I received an e-mail from my weather router describing the buildup and predicted track of Typhoon Mawar which was forming in the Philippines. It was predicted to reach my sea area a few days later, by which time it would have weakened slightly to a severe tropical storm. OJ: When did it become apparent you were in trouble? SO: Early in the morning on June 7, some 36 hours into the system, I decided to call for assistance, as my boat had become so damaged I wouldn’t be able to repair him myself and continue safely. OJ: How long did it take for help to arrive and what did you do to survive the ordeal and keep up your spirits? SO: The Japan Coast Guard boat Zhou arrived in the early evening of June 8 which felt like a lifetime while waiting, but in fact is testament to their skill and service they reached me so quickly. OJ: How long did it take for you to recover? SO: I came off the water rather weak and dehydrated. After flying home to the U.K. a few days later, I took a week to return to a decent physical state, but emotionally it took many months to deal with it and process my response to what had happened at sea and since coming home. Any major change in life can take some getting used to. This was no exception, and there were lots of elements to it. Changes in the team, the loss of my boat and the sudden return home under traumatic circumstances were a lot to deal with. OJ: When did you start thinking about getting back in the boat and continuing your adventures? SO: Even before I was rescued, I knew I wanted to return to the ocean one day. That was just an unlucky experience – I know I still love the ocean. Once I was able to purchase my new boat (a second-hand sister boat to my original boat), I knew I was on my way. It was a huge challenge to put everything in place —financially, logistically and emotionally—to get back to Japan, but I was determined. Just because of what happened last year doesn’t change my passion or commitment to the journey and its goals of sharing stories, inspiring children and raising money for charity. My experiences in June last year haven’t changed those goals so much as reinforced my commitment to them. OJ: What did your family say when you told them you were going back to Japan to try again? SO: My mum looked sad when I told her I wanted to go back to Japan to restart my voyage, but she and my brothers have been supportive. My parents taught us as children to chase our dreams and make the most of opportunities. I try to live by that and hope I can give that support and conviction to my own children one day. OJ: Will you be taking the same route as before? SO: My launching point and intended destination are the same, yes. I am very happy to be returning to Choshi, Chiba, and will launch from Choshi Marina. I hope to land on Vancouver Island, Canada, later this year. OJ: Are there any new precautions you are taking this time around? SO: There were many lessons to take from last summer’s experience as well as confidence in certain elements and systems already installed onboard. Those conditions were extreme, so I feel we have put kit and boat through their paces. Various features on the boat have been modified based on what happened last summer. The main one of these is reinforcing braces have been added to either side of the hatchway into the main cabin, to stiffen that area and protect it from damage. OJ: We wish you safe travels and the best of luck on your journey. We will be following you on your Web site at www.saraouten.com and Twitter @ SarahOuten and sharing some updates on our Facebook Fan Page as well. SO: Thank you. I would like to thank the people of Japan who have given their support to my project and to the crew of Coast Guard vessel Zhou who came to my aid last year. You can follow me at www.sarahouten.com ✤ SPRING 2 0 1 3 15 16 SPRING 2 0 1 3 Going the Distance Pauline Kitamura goes behind the scenes of the Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji SPRING 2 0 1 3 17 ntil a few years ago, if you said you ran up in the mountains for pleasure, you would have likely received a “Pardon me, are you crazy?” stare. However, today, trail running in Japan is gaining in popularity, and people from all walks of life are hitting the trails in droves. Trail races fill up within an hour of opening, resulting in what’s called a “ku-rikku gassen” (clicking war), where people sit in front of their computers, mouse in hand, furiously clicking away to secure entry into a race. Perhaps running up and down mountains for hours on end fits well with the Japanese psyche as the ability to “gaman” (to endure) is a highly respected trait. Thus there is also a trend toward long distance trail races — actually, super long distance trail races. It’s as if running 100 kilometers or more has awoken the “samurai spirit” within the Japanese soul. While there are “shorter” trail races between 30 and 50 kms. popping up all over Japan, there are still only a handful that are considered “ultra” long. One of the newest U and longest is the Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji (UTMF), considered by many to be the pinnacle of ultra-trail racing in Japan. The race is the brainchild of Tsuyoshi Kaburaki, one of Japan’s top trail runners, and it is based on the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) in Europe. (UTMF is officially a sister race to UTMB.) The course consists of single-track mountain trails, gravel or dirt forest roads and paved roads, connected piece by piece to create one huge loop around the circumference of Mt. Fuji. The Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji actually consists of two separate races; the 161-km. UTMF that goes right around Mt. Fuji and the 85-km. Shizuoka-to-Yamanashi (STY) race, named after the two prefectures straddling Mt. Fuji, that goes half way around Mt. Fuji. It’s a non-stop race, which means it continues through the night (and for some through the following night). The cumulative elevation gain for the UTMF is 9,164 meters, equivalent to climbing Mt. Fuji from bottom to top 2.4 times, and 4,860 meters for the STY respectively. The time limit for the UTMF is 46 hours (24 hours for the STY) and there are cut-off times along the courses. Race Obstacles The first UTMF was set to be run two years ago in the spring of 2011. However, as preparations were being made, the massive earthquake and devastating tsunami wreaked havoc on the country, resulting in an immediate cancellation of the race. The organizers refunded every racer and went back to the drawing board. After a year or more of planning, was the UTMF dream over — or should they try again? After much soulsearching and encouragement from the racers, it was decided they would try again. At first glance, organizing a trail race may not seem like a big deal. Just gather everyone to the start line, pull out your stopwatch — ready-set-go! Not in Japan. The amount of work and perseverance it takes to put on an event of this magnitude is mind-boggling. (UTMF) UTMF 2.4 UTMF 46 9,164 STY 4,860 STY 24 1 UTMB UTMF 2011 161 100 30 50 UTMF STY UTMF 85 18 SPRING 2 0 1 3 SPRING 2 0 1 3 19 For every mountain, road and trail in Japan, there is a legitimate owner and, in order to go through this land, permission must be obtained. For the UTMF, it took more than an entire year to complete. Race staff went door-to-door asking for permission to use the land during the race. If the landowner refused, which they often did, race staff had to scour the area for alternative routes and obtain new permissions. Unfortunately, given the lack of understanding toward trail running in Japan, some people didn’t want to risk having something bad happen on their property. Some of this land had been handed down from generation to generation. Families had lived, worked and even died on their land and, understandably, weren’t keen on having thousands of runners stomping across family graves. However, others were supportive and thought the race was a good way to share their precious land and the beauty of the area. All in all, permission from more than 100 private landowners, companies, schools, landowner groups, government agencies, prefectural governments and Japan’s National Self-Defense Army (special permission was obtained to go through the army training grounds only during the race) was obtained to complete the route around Mt. Fuji. Protecting the Environment The trails and mountains are also home to thousands of species of flora and fauna, including birds, bears, wild boars and rare plants. Environmental groups in the Mt. Fuji area have a special interest in protecting the wildlife here. Race organizers listened to the opinions of these groups and made significant changes to the race dates and race course to accommodate the strong opinions of various groups. A particular endangered bird species in the Mt. Fuji area is sensitive to noises (especially those made by human beings), and a nesting female can be scared away, forcing her to abandon her eggs. The race, which was originally planned for the end of May, was moved up to April in order to avoid the mating season of these birds. A rare plant species was also found along the race route. This area had to be avoided at all costs so, as a result, the course had to be re-routed again. The list of obstacles seemed endless, but the staff met time and again to make sure the race was environmentally friendly. In addition to working with environmental groups, organizers also held “trail clean-up days” throughout the year. It’s an on-going activity, but to date more than 100 UTMF 20 SPRING 2 0 1 3 two tons of garbage has been collected from the trails and roads. Most of the garbage came from people with no conscience who had used the mountains as a private dump, and not from trail runners or hikers. This cleanup is a way for the UTMF and trail runners to give back and leave the area better than how they found it. 2,000 Runners In addition to environmental factors and securing cooperation and support from locals, there is also the huge logistical task of safely managing more than 2,000 racers running up to 48 hours in the mountains. While “run at your own risk” is the rule, it’s necessary to provide a solid infrastructure to support these athletes. Emergency tents staffed by doctors and nurses, aid stations stocked with food, and water stations, some in remote areas to reduce the risk of dehydration and fatigue, are created for runners. The inaugural race took place in May of 2012. More than 800 experts, staff and volunteers (300 race staff and 500 volunteers) supported the 2,029 runners participating in UTMF and STY. Only 12 percent of participants were women and the completion rate was a surprisingly high 79 percent. The race attracted some of the world’s top trail runners including Julien Chorier (1st) and Adam Campbell (2nd) in the men’s category and Nerea Martinez (1st) and Nora Senn (3rd) in the women’s. Japan’s top trail runners also competed, including Kenichi Yamamoto (UTMF Men’s 3rd) and Hiroko Suzuki (UTMF Women’s 2nd). This year’s race takes place April 26-28. It sold out within a few days. More than 250 racers from 35 countries will come to Japan for the race; more than double compared to last year. The UTMF has had to work through a myriad of obstacles to make this race a reality. In a sense, the making of an ultra-race in Japan is like the race itself; it takes patience, perseverance and endurance to successfully cross the finish line, but the rewards are worth it. ✤ 5 4 2,000 2 48 2,000 1 UTMF 4 26 35 2 3 28 250 UTMF 500 UTMF STY 12% 79% 3 UTMF 1 2 2 800 2012 5 300 UTMF 2,029 ✤ SPRING 2 0 1 3 21 uLTRA ESSENTIALS Registering for the uTMF / uTMF Registrations for the 2013 race closed on Jan. 31. Information about the 2014 race will be posted on the official race Website sometime in late summer or early fall. Official Website: www. ultratrailmtfuji.com (Japanese, English and French) 2013 1 31 2014 ultra Trail Races in Japan / There are still only a handful of ultra trail races in Japan. The following races can help you qualify for the UTMF. UTMF Shinetsu Five Mountains Trail Race Date: September 2013 (TBC) Location: Shinetsu Kougen (Niigata and Nagano Prefectures) Distance: 110 kms. www.sfmt100.com Hasetsune Cup Date: October 2013 (TBC) Location: Okutama mountains (Tokyo) / Distance: 71.5 kms. www.hasetsune.com OSJ Yatsugatake Super Trail 100-Mile Race 100 OSJ Date: November 2013 (TBC) Location: Yatsugatake Mountains (Nagano and Yamanashi Prefectures) / Distance: 100 miles, 100 kms., 60 kms. www.powersports.co.jp/yatsugatake/12_yatsugatake/index. htm OSJ Ontake ultra Trail 100K 100K OSJ Date: July 13-14, 2013 Location: Ontaki Village (Nagano Prefecture) / Distance: 100 miles, 100 km www.powersports.co.jp/osjtrail/13_ultraontake/race.htm utsukushigahara Trail Run & Walk in Nagawa in Date: August 2013 (TBC) Location: Utsukushigahara Kogen Area (Nagano Prefecture) Distance: 70 kms., 35 kms., 8 kms. www.utsukushigahara-trail.jp Website: www.ultratrailmtfuji.com Qualifying for the uTMF / uTMF In order to register for the race, you ll need to provide proof you ve met the qualifications. For the UTMF, you must have successfully completed at least one trail running race of 100 kms. or longer or two trail running races of 70 kms. or longer. For the STY, you must successfully complete at least one trail running race of 70 kms. or longer, or two trail running races of 40 kms. or longer. uTMF 100 STY 70 40 70 2 2 1 Support for Overseas Racers / If you need help figuring out all the logistics for the race, Avid Japan provides accommodation and race support in English for racers coming from overseas. www.avid-japan.com Avid Japan www.avid-japan.com 22 SPRING 2 0 1 3 SPRING 2 0 1 3 23 24 SPRING 2 0 1 3 Island Beat Story & Japan Islands–Micronesia Rock photos by Tim Okinawa’s Mystery Island Lost Civilizations, Hammerheads and Horsing Around on Yonaguni. “It’s not the end of the earth, but you can see it from there.” This thought went through my head as I winged over a stunning array of islands on my way to Yonaguni, a tiny and remote, yet well known Okinawan island to divers who come for hammerhead shark sightings and a mysterious sunken ancient monument. SPRING 2 0 1 3 25 onaguni is a majestic little outcrop about as far west as one can get in Japan. In fact, Cape Irizaki, the western tip of the island, is the westernmost point of Japan. It’s not the earth’s end, but you can see Taiwan on a clear day. The charming island is home to just three small villages, and features a rocky, rugged coastline that looks like something out of Jurassic Park. Until the early 20th century, Yonaguni was part of the larger Yaeyama Village which included the neighboring Yaeyama Islands. In 1948, it became an independent village, and from 1945 to 1972, it was occupied by the United States until it was returned to Japan. Even the smallest and most remote Japanese island is well taken care of, it seems. A free public bus takes people from village to village as it circles the entire island on a well-paved road…all 11.5 square miles of it. This makes it a great place for biking and running; it even hosts the Yonagunijima Marathon, a 24-km. run that does a complete circuit of the island. Nonetheless, I came here during the relatively chilly winter months to see schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks. Made famous for divers in other remote places such as the Galapagos or Costa Rica’s Cocos Island, shoals of these odd sharks, with their broad, flat heads, are a rare sight. But from January through March, they Y school along a certain section of Yonaguni’s coast and can be seen on a fairly consistent basis by divers. Individuals can also be seen from December through April. The added bonus is to explore what may well be part of an ancient city or lost temple depending on who you talk to. Sou-Wes Dive Center founder, the always affable Kihachiro Aratake, discovered the mysterious underwater monument off the coast of Yonaguni in 1986. He was scouting the seas around the island for new hammerhead shark-watching points, and there it was, something that resembled one of Japan’s ancient monuments, looking weathered and primitive. The discovery has sparked a lively debate as to whether this is naturally formed or man-made — created by a lost civilization — and it continues to this day. Into the Void As I settled into the surprisingly plush Irifune Annex Bamboo Villa, I looked out from the high bluff and enjoyed the stunning view of the east coast and the little village of Higawa. Blue waters with rich corals surounded Higawa-hama (Higawa Beach) as the white sand glistened in the sun. The next morning I headed for Kubura, a village at the most western point of Japan, marked by a lighthouse SPRING that sits high above Irizaki Point. The dive boat leaves from here and most of the hammerhead searching goes on north of the port, off Danuhama Beach and up to Umabanazaki Point. The boat drops divers along steep walls or rolling, rock-covered sea floors. It then travels out into blue water attempting to find the school of sharks using a fish finder. Yonaguni’s waters are famous for the shochuclear visibility. The walls feature long, pig-tailed sea whips, clusters of crinoids and small shoals of pyramid butterflyfish, bannerfish and golden basslet. As the occasional sea turtle swims by you almost forget about the sharks. Then the boat revs its engines, and the guides go immediately into search mode, swimming out from the wall and into the blue void. Our guides were Yonaguni veterans Doug Bennett from Reef Encounters in Okinawa and Sou-Wes staffer Takashi Kanazawa. Their well-trained eyes peer into the abyss, and the divers follow. Should we be leaving our comfort zone and heading into the open sea with a school of sharks? I’m about to find out. After a few minutes cruising into the blue at 20 meters, the wall disappears, the sea floor is far, far below, and I now realize we are pretty much at a point of no return. We are now adrift in the currents of the open sea awaiting 26 2 0 1 3 Island Beat Japan Islandsâ€“Micronesia 1986 3 20 1948 1945 1972 Irifune Annex Bamboo Villa 24 20 1 1 3 12 4 SPRING 2 0 1 3 27 Island Beat Japan Islands–Micronesia what the big blue brings. Then I see Doug and Kanazawa excitedly point, and I strain to see what they see. Sure enough there in the distance is the unmistakable figure of a hammerhead shark. We then see another and then another farther off. It isn’t a school, but they are hammerheads. As the dive goes on, we see the sharks at varying distances. The sea floor has long been gone. We watch our depth and enjoy the various sightings. At the end of the dive, one hammerhead comes in unusually shallow and somewhat close; I am able to snap a shot or two as we decompress. When we surface, I see why Kanazawa carries a large, bright float. We are far offshore in somewhat high seas, and Yonaguni looks rather small. As we wait for the boat to come around to get us, the excitement can’t be contained. Our group of 10 or so divers take their regulators out and start telling tales of the encounters. Everyone is happy, bobbing in the East China Sea. There are no guarantees, so the best way to see hammerheads is to get in the water a lot. Our next dive is farther up near Umabanazaki Point. We see a stunning school of yellowtail fusiliers, big boulders and more crystal clear water. Once again, we head out into the blue, but the sharks have sated their curiosity for humans this day. We surface far off-shore but with no hammerheads this time. But the more one dives, the more one has a chance to run into these odd sharks, and the odds are good during these winter months. Wakako at the local Chamber of Commerce, I head out. “You are smart,” she tells me. “The weather changes here a lot.” Prophetic words. I first head up near the airport and watch a small jet take off before riding past small farms with goats, horses and cows grazing, rows of veggies and fields of sugar cane. I come to a fast halt as a fat, two-meter snake crosses the road. Later I’m told it is harmless but stinks! I stopped to look at the sapphire blue waters at Nanta Hama (Nanta Beach) in the town of Sonai. I then passed the Urano Grave site. The huge tombs are unique to Yonaguni and are said to reflect the thoughts of Yonaguni people about life and death. The road, which is mostly upphill, runs by fields and cliffs and eventually leads to Agarizaki Point. Down below a single truck is parked at a small park. Out in the sea are two lone surfers getting their share of empty waves. In a field next to two large wind turbines I find what I was looking for, the herd of wild Yonaguni horses, as well as some bulls that seem equally wild. Their bushy manes are beautifully blond as they blow in the wind, grazing and making an occasional call. There are three areas where the horses are allowed to roam wild on the island. Exploring the Island Cloudy, gray skies are pretty much the norm in winter, yet the next day I wake to a warm and inviting sun, so I decided to do some island exploration. I don’t have an international driver’s license, so my options are to rent some kind of bike, walk or hire a very expensive cab…the only taxi on the island, I might add. I rented one of those ubiquitous little five-speed Japanese bikes with a basket in front (known as a mama-chari) at Yonaguni Honda. The owner here is also a butterfly enthusiast and can tell you about the island’s giant moths and other species. Armed with a map, water, my camera and some sightseeing suggestions from a friendly lady named 3 1 5 1 2 10 40 2 2 28 SPRING 2 0 1 3 This entire cliff line along the northwest is amazingly scenic. There are many rock formations that have been given monikers such as Human Face Rock, Battleship Rock and Standing God Rock to name a few. The Standing God, or Tachigami-Iwa, is especially compelling and, little did I know, the next day I would be below the sea swimming through this amazing formation. On my way back the horses had moved to the lighthouse point, and I walked into the herd. I watched mares and ponies graze and got a threatening display from the lead stallion. I cooled off in a wind-blown observatory and then headed back, downhill all the way. That afternoon I snorkeled next to the harbor. The cool water felt good on my sunburned arms. Small fish moved among the corals in a scenic cove inside the reef next to Sonai Harbor. That evening a stunning sunset warmed the town. A couple of young ladies sat on the wall overlooking Nanta Beach listening to tunes and watching the sun disappear. Man vs. Nature A stretch of rough weather was predicted, so it could be my last chance to dive Kaitei Iseki, the famous underwater monument found by Aratake. If the monument is indeed man-made or modified by man, that would date it back to the last Ice Age, around 10,000 B.C., when the sea level was 40 meters lower than now, and Yonaguni was part of a land bridge connecting Japan, Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. This would make the monument the oldest man-made artifact on earth, significantly pre-dating the pyramids in Egypt. One can see why this has sparked such interest and debate. Is it part of a lost civilization as some say? Is it evidence that Mu, the continent that was once believed to have existed in one of earth's oceans but disappeared at the dawn of human history, is real? Could it be part of Lemuria, a “lost land” located in the Pacific Ocean? Just recently researchers have found evidence of a land mass that would have existed between 2,000 and 85 million years ago. Fragments of this ancient continent are buried beneath the floor of the Indian Ocean. The strip of land, which scientists have dubbed Mauritia, eventually fragmented and vanished beneath the waves as the modern world started to take shape. Did something like this happen in relatively recent times on Yonaguni? There are arguments for and against this viewpoint, and I flew in as one of the skeptics. I have visited ancient stone sites in my Micronesian home islands of Rota, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Palau. SPRING Pohnpei’s Nan Madol is indeed man-made and of a scale that equals the Egyptian pyramids. It is built near the sea of basalt with artificial island and canals that stretch for miles. But the square basalt pillars used to create Nan Madol are formed naturally and not hand-hewn. Is this what I would see at Yonaguni? I also dived the Bimini Road, the Atlantic Ocean’s natural highway that is supposed to lead to the Lost City of Atlantis. To me, this “road” looked quite natural as well, being made from submerged reef flat. Would Yonaguni be similar? Or would I join the legions that believe Yonaguni’s Monument is part of an early civilization lost in time? Soon I would find out. The Ruins Our first dive was an excitement-filled dive past a couple of deep sea mounts situated right where the nutrient rich Kuroshio (Black Current) meets the East China Sea. The roiling current line is visible from the boat, and big, pelagic marine life thrives here. While hammerheads can and do show up, giant trevally, big maguro (dogtooth tuna), wahoo, schooling blackbar barracuda, big-eye jack shoals and marlin often make an appearance. The dive was deep and quick with the barracuda school present and even some sea turtles trying to mate. 30 2 0 1 3 Island Beat Japan Islandsâ€“Micronesia 2000 8500 1 2 1 100 SPRING 2 0 1 3 31 Yonaguni is a mysterious place where stone weathers into art and back again into rock. With this in mind, we went to see the undersea monument. We cruised up the northeast coast where I had been by bike. It turns out that Tachigami-Iwa has an area that also has a submerged monument-like structure and a carved stone face. Doug gave us a briefing on the structure, then informed us we’d end the dive by swimming underneath the huge monolith in a tunnel that leads to the other side. Clear and fairly shallow, we watched as a pair of big, beautiful and somewhat rare semi-circle angelfish swam over a huge, coral-covered rock ahead of us. A few more kicks, and we were at the base of Tachigami-Iwa. Doug pointed out the carved face and the broad platform, and we marveled at what could be yet another piece of the ancient puzzle. We then poceeded to a narrow passage and swam through the base of this huge rock. Emerging on the other side, we looked up to see waves crashing and headed out into the blue to be picked up. Our final excursion into both history and the sea that day was done with a bit of urgency as we could see the weather changing far off in the distance and heading our way. Wakako’s wise words echoed in my head. We entered seemingly perilously close to a huge, towering cliffline and many partially submerged rocks that were boiling in a tumultuous sea. We easily descended, however, to what appeared to be a fairly shallow site. From here we swam through a rock arch gate and then took a look at a natural rock fence, swam past the main terrace and some steps and up near the upper terrace. We paused to look around and marvel at this dive. Manmade or natural, it is quite an amazing spot to explore. Huge waves crashed overhead as we looked up to see the massive power of the ocean creating a blue sky of turbulence. It was both humbling and spiritual. We continued along the many terraces and formations until I found myself at the Turtle Platform. It is said this rock pays homage to turtles and their celestial connection with us. Perhaps a karmic coincidence, but as I ventured to the rock a real hawksbill turtle was resting on its carved likeness. If this was a 10,000-year-old homage to my distant human ancestors, far be it from me to be a complete skeptic. My indecision was cemented when we visited a boulder across from the monument. Here we could see most of the 100-meter long structure in a panoramic sweep, the features looking fairly distinct. If this is natural, it is a great dive site. If man-made, perhaps by beings from outer space. Either way, it is an unusual place and worth a few swims. If you’re not into adrenalin dives, lost civilizations or hammerhead snipe hunts, are you out of luck on Yonaguni? SPRING A fellow diver named Kiwi summed it up like this: “I've never seen that color blue while diving before; it was like floating in a brilliant blue light. It was cool, but got a little old, especially after two 30-minute dives of not finding sharks. Hammerheads aside, I think my favorite Yonaguni dives were the plain old coral ones,” she said. “One of the arches we went through, more of a long tunnel, was very porous and, after we came out, our air bubbles filtered up through small holes in the rock. It looked like the ocean bottom was breathing.” Indeed, there are 70 dive sites listed here. Reefs can be dived year-round, and the water is much warmer come summertime. Even though the sharks are gone, there’s still lots to see. The variety, for such a small island, is impressive. Tiny pygmy seahorses can be found in the brilliant red sea fans. Sea turtles and small rays abound. A variety of clownfish can be found in an assortment of sea anemones, and the natural underwater arches and passageways are stunning. She added, “I did finally catch a distant glimpse of one hammerhead, though, and it was worth all the other dives of looking and not finding.” ✤ 32 2 0 1 3 Island Beat Getting There: The island is most easily accessed by air and JTA (Japan Airlines) has daily flights from Naha (two hours) on the main island of Okinawa and from Ishigaki Island (30 minutes). Ferries also depart from Ishigaki on Tuesdays and Fridays and return from Yonaguni on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The ferry takes about four-to-five hours one-way. Prices may vary depending on the season. Entry Requirements: Valid passport is necessary to enter Japan. Climate: Mild winters and hot summers. Average air temperature is 73 F, with the highest average at 80 F in summer. But the sun can be intense, so wear sun block. Water Temperature: In the islands, 72 F in winter to 86 F in summer. Yonaguni is farther south, so tends to have warmer waters. Five-millimeter wetsuits are suggested in winter. Accommodations: Accommodations are typically modest, family-run operations. Dive shops have pensions or hotels associated with their operations. The main residential area is the town of Sonai, situated on the north coast near the airport. This has the greatest concentration of accommodations on the island, including the diver s favorite, Hotel Irifune. Money: Local currency is yen. Credit cards are not widely accepted. There is an ATM at the post office. Gratuities are not encouraged throughout Japan. Getting Around: Your hotel or tour operator will usually provide transportation to the harbor and dive shop. For cars, driving is on the left side and an international license is required. Renting a scooter or, if you re in some semblance of fitness, a bike on Yonaguni is sufficient. WEB CONNECTION SouWes: www.yonaguni.jp/en Stay: Hotel Irifune: www.yonaguni.jp/en/accommodation/ index.html Okinawa Tourism: www.okinawastory.jp/en JTA Japan Airlines 2 4 22 22 30 Japan Islandsâ€“Micronesia 30 26 5 ATM 30 2 www.yonaguni.jp/en www.yonaguni.jp/en/accommodation/index.html www.okinawastory.jp ARCHAEOLOGISTS VS. GEOLOGISTS One marine archaeologist who has dived at Yonaguni and studied its underwater structures first-hand is Sri Sundaresh from the National Institute of Oceanography in Goa, India. His conclusion is the shape, size and positioning of these megaliths suggest they are man-made. It is believed the people of Japan's extremely ancient Jomon culture used to worship stones and rocks. The monolith rock-cut human head and associated platform might have served as an area of worshiping or community gatherings. One marine geologist, Wolf Wichmann, disagrees and is convinced the formations are natural. Patrick D. Nunn, Professor of Oceanic Geoscience at the University of the South Pacific, has studied the structures extensively and notes the structures below the water continue in the Sanninudai slate cliffs above, which have been fashioned solely by natural processes, and concludes, in regard to the underwater structures, there seems no reason to suppose they are artificial. The existence of an ancient stoneworking tradition at Yonaguni and other Ryukyu Islands is seen in old tombs and several stone vessels of uncertain age. Small camps, pottery, stone tools and large fireplaces were found on Yonaguni possibly dating back to 2,500 B.C., but scholars point out these were small communities, not likely to have had extra energy for building stone monuments. So the debate continues and likely will for years to come. 70 1 âœ¤ SPRING 2 0 1 3 33 Island Beat Japan Islands–Micronesia Q&A with Kihachiro Aratake Kihachiro Aratake was born in Okinawa’s Yonaguni City in 1947 and has spent most of his life exploring the seas around Okinawa; in particularly, Yonaguni. A pioneer in exploratory diving since discovering the underwater monument off the coast of Yonagunijima, he has overseen numerous research trips to the site. He is the owner of Sou-Wes Diving and Hotel Irifune. It is said you were looking for a new hammerhead d i v i n g s p o t w h e n y o u f o u n d t h e Yo n a g u n i Underwater Ruins. Is that true? I often searched for new hammerhead shark points and, in 1986, we were searching out a new diving spot at Arakawabana off the southern tip of Yonaguni Island. The transparency of the water was completely different from today—looking down at the underwater topography really made your hair stand on end, because you simply didn’t sense the water at all. It was like looking down from high in the air. When we saw this stair-step terrain spreading out before us, it was as if the ruins of Macchu Picchu had suddenly appeared before my eyes at Yonaguni Island. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and, because of that first excitement, we called the point the Yonaguni Underwater Ruins. This wide space was all facing south, with the steps at 90° on the east side and 270° on the west, with all the angles at perfect right angles to each other with an inclination of about two degrees to the south—the length, width and height were all just as if they had been laid out under the old Jomon measuring system, similar to what you call a cubit in English. I thought at first these were the remains of a rock quarry, because there is a very similar topography along the coast of the main island of Okinawa. The geology here is Ryukyu limestone, and these submarine relics are known as the Yaeyama layer of sedimentary stone. After discovering this, I thought they would become a real treasure for Yonaguni Island. Over the years, there have been many explorations of the surrounding waters, but there are no other places where these were found naturally, so many believe these were man-made rock formations. After they were discovered, countless television shows and university researchers and students, including Prof. Masaaki Kimura of the University of the Ryukyus and Prof. Teruaki Ishii of the Ocean Research Institute of the University of Tokyo. For about 12 years after the discovery a lot of television, and later newspaper journalists, spread the news. I’m digressing a bit but, after these news reports came out, many religious groups from around Japan came to look at the ruins as well. What is the significance of the face and smaller monument at Tachigami-iwa? In the ocean bottom around Tachigami-iwa, at the right side of the stone platform, is the Ningen-iwa (Human Face Rock), also made from the Yaeyama layer. There has been much research over the years into confirming whether or not the stage and the Yonaguni Underwater Ruins are naturally created shapes, or if they were also shaped by human hands. Why do hammerheads come to Yonaguni? From the beginning of autumn through the winter, hammerheads begin to appear around the west side of Yonaguni Island; drawn, I think, by the warm water. For some reason, Yonaguni has become known worldwide as a mecca for swordfish fishing, with more than 2,000 swordfish caught every year. In the summertime, people fishing for live katsuo (bonito) to use as bait for swordfish also catch hammerheads and bring them into port. When they cut them open, they often find up to 50 young hammerheads inside. When they return them to the sea, they will just swim away. To regulate their body temperatures, the sharks will stay in deep water in the summer and move into the shallows in winter, so it’s possible in the warm, shallow waters on the west coast to see maybe 300 or 400 sharks at one time. 1986 arakawabana TV 12 6 2 000 90 2 270 50 300 400 34 SPRING 2 0 1 3 SPRING 2 0 1 3 35 PHOTO ESSAY The North Face Cup 2013 - Japan Rock Tour By Eddie Gianelloni TNF CUP The North Face Cup is an international bouldering series that attracts some of world’s top “rock stars.” The Japan event takes place at nine locations before the semi-final and final rounds are held at Yuji Hirayama’s Base Camp in Iruma, Saitama. Yuji is a homegrown rock legend who has made a name for himself overseas on the biggest stage. This year, American Daniel Woods and Japan strong-woman Akiyo Noguchi took home top honors, but the competition wasn’t the end of the show. The athletes hit the road to visit someof Japan’s best climbing areas before finishing the 2013 Japan tour. 36 SPRING 2 0 1 3 SPRING 2 0 1 3 37 JOGASAKI Japan’s Sachi Amma and Korea’s Jain Kim and climbers from Singapore joined Akiyo and Daniel at the enchanting seaside area of Jogasaki on the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka. The athletes’ rock at Jogasaki is black volcanic and steep. After a great day of sport climbing and perfect weather, everyone loaded up for the next leg of the trip— bouldering at Shiobara. 38 SPRING 2 0 1 3 SHIOBARA Shiobara, in Tochigi Prefecture, was often windy at this time of the year, but Daniel had been here during the 2012 TNF Cup which he also won, so he knew what to expect. Sure enough, the wind was howling so hard it was a challenge to stand up straight. He took it in stride and seemed genuinely excited to get warmed up as he was planning to try to climb one of the world’s hardest problems, Hydrangea V15. After two days of strong efforts, Daniel made just the second ascent of this burly line. “It is a real V15, but on the harder side. Definitely one of the most difficult problems I’ve ever climbed.” he said. SPRING 2 0 1 3 39 FUTAGOYAMA The final day of the rock tour was spent in Futagoyama in the Chichibu Region. The steep, heavily featured limestone is home to some of Japanâ€™s hardest sport routes; Flat Mountain 5.14d/15a being the hardest. Yuji Hirayama was present for the gun show that would take place. Sachi Amma and Daniel Woods both tried their best on the route, but both would come up short on this trip. Daniel vowed to be back next year and try again. Eddie Gianelloni is a freelance adventure photographer, climbing guide and father. You can see more of his work at www.eddiegianelloni.com The North Face Cup: www.goldwin.co.jp/tnf/special/tnfcup/ Base Camp: www.b-camp.jp 40 SPRING 2 0 1 3 Running Toward Enlightenment 悟りへ の ラン ニング By Amy Chavez Trail running has been growing by leaps and bounds in Japan, and ultra-trail running is attracting those really looking to test their physical endurance. Amy Chavez takes it one step further, exploring her physical and metaphysical limits as she sets off to run the 900 miles of the Shikoku Pilgrimage. 日本において、 ト レイル・ランニングの人気は ここ数年で急激に高まっている。 それにと もなってウル ト ラ・ランニングも 自分の体力の限界を試したいという 人たちを引きつけるよ うになった。 エイ ミ ー・チャヴェスはさ らにそこから も う一歩踏み込んで、 900マイルもの 四国お遍路を走り、 身体そして精神の 限界をプッ シュ しよ う と している。 SPRING 2 0 1 3 41 heard about the Shikoku Pilgrimage not long after I came to Japan in 1992. I had wanted to do the Shikoku Pilgrimage ever since. The Japanese people have been walking the route to these 88 temples for more than 1,200 years. It’s a 1,350-km. Buddhist pilgrimage and requires quite a commitment to walk it. Many pilgrims have died along the route and, indeed, this was one of the purposes of doing the pilgrimage long ago. Elderly worshippers would set out on the last journey of their lives to disappear among the mountains to attain enlightenment and a noble death. Even now, many Japanese people hope to do the Shikoku Pilgrimage at least once after they retire. To follow the pilgrimage from beginning to end is to follow in the steps of Kukai (774–835 A.D.), the founder of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism in Japan and one of the founders of the pilgrimage. He is posthumously called Kobo Daishi. I Circumstances encouraged me to do the journey. I moved to Shiraishi Island (Okayama Prefecture) in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea in 1997. I was the only foreigner on this small island of 800 residents, so I easily became friends with the local Buddhist priest. He was in his 60s and, as per tradition, inherited the position of priest of the island’s temple, Kairyuji, from his father who had inherited it from his grandfather. Kairyuji is of the Shingon sect so, after having lived on the island, I was vaguely familiar with Shingon. I was at a crossroads in my life in Japan, and the Buddhist priest suggested I do the pilgrimage because he felt it would help me make some major life decisions. He even offered to be my mentor. There was one book published in English called Japanese Pilgrimage by Oliver Statler (now out of print), and Miyata Taisen published his Henro Pilgrimage Guide to f for the ared mysel really prep ’t to do it dn ha ng ‘I than agreei r The he ot e ical shape. pilgrimag to decent phys ed in rr g cu in be oc ’t and pects hadn of as y l an ca si metaphy re I needed uff asn’t so su st w t I en t. m ye en me enlight peace and job.’ this inner eded was a ne ly al re I t ha W . ay まあ anyw 的 に は まあ たし、体 力 とは 言 い まし 。や る ぞと い 「 巡 礼を す る できて い な い が 備 準 、そ 然 全 だ ま 、 平 が る 和 や 悟り です 。心 のうち な た た っ っ か か な な だ りし う実 感 が ま の か もはっき 。 」 た 当に必要な っ 本 だ が 事 の 仕 も んな 必要なのは な に より私 に し、それ より 「 バ ック パ ックと 洗面用具 ニ ング シ とい いラ ュ ーズを ン 持って 、 発した 」 巡礼に出 。 ‘I set off on the pilgr with a image backpac k, my c tools, osmic and a good pai running s r of hoes.’ the 88 Temples of Shikoku Island, Japan (also out of print). I didn’t know about either of the books at the time, but the priest on Shiraishi happened to be a good friend of Taisen and had a copy which he gave me. He further set me up with connections to other priests who owned temples along the pilgrimage route, so I had plenty of people to consult for help if I needed it along the way. There are many ways to do the journey, including by foot, bicycle, tour bus or car. You can also run it, like I did, though I don’t know of anyone else who has actually done this. But with the increasing popularity of trail running and ultra-running, I hope more athletes will consider running this Buddhist pilgrimage. Running is often described as a type of meditation, and even walking 私 が四国のお遍路について初めて耳にし たのは、 日本に来てそれほど経っていな ともその 存 在を知らなかった。 しか し、白 石 のお坊さんがタイセンさん と親しかったことから、彼の本を持っていて、私にくだ さった。そのうえ、彼はわたしを巡 礼 のルート上にあ るお寺のお坊さんを紹 介してくださったので、旅の途 いまでも多くの日本 人が仕 事を引退したあと、死ぬ 前に一 度、四国のお遍路を廻りたいと考えている。お 遍 路を最 初 から最 後まで廻ることは、仏 教 真 言 宗を 創立し、 また日本で巡礼をはじめたひと りでもある空海 （774−835年 ） のあとを辿ることになる。彼 は 死 後、 弘法大師と呼ばれるよ うになった。 ちょ う どこの旅をするにはいいタイ ミ ングでもあった。 私 は1997年、瀬 戸 内 海 にある岡 山 県 の 白 石 島 に 引っ越した。人口800人のその島に住む外 国 人は私 だけだったので、地 元のお坊さんともすぐに仲 良くな れた。年 齢は60代く らいの 彼は、伝 統に習って島 の 寺 開 龍 寺の僧 侶を祖 父から父 親 へ、そして彼 へと受 け継がれていた。 開 龍 寺は真 言 宗のお寺で、その島に住んでから私 は少し真 言 宗について知るようになった。私は、 日本 で 人 生 の 転 機ともいえる時 期 だったが、お 坊さんは お遍 路 巡 礼が私の人 生の選 択の助けになるのではと 提 案してくれた。そのうえ、私の先 生になってくれると まで言ってくれた。 オリバー ・ スタ トラー著 『 Jap an ese pi l gri mage 』 （現在廃版） と、 ミヤタ・タイセンによる 『 四 国 の 八 十 八 寺 お 遍 路 巡 礼ガイ ド』 （これも現 在 廃版） という英 語の本があったが、当時、 どちらの本 中でもし何 か 困ったことがあっても、いろんな人に相 談したり助けを求めることができた。 巡 礼をする方 法はいろいろあり、歩いて行ったり自 転 車で行ったり、あるいはツアーバスや車に乗って行 い1 9 9 2 年のことだ。以 来、ずっと四国のお遍 路 巡 礼をしたいと思っていた。1 200年もの 間、 日 本の人たちは8 8のお寺を歩いて廻る巡 礼を続け ていた。1 , 3 5 0キロにおよぶ仏 教の巡 礼だが、歩いて 廻るのは大 変な決 心がいる。多くの巡 礼 者は旅の途 中で命を落したし、昔はまさにそれが巡礼の目的であ る巡 礼 者もいた。年 配 の 巡 礼 者たちは悟りを開くた め、 そして高 貴な死をむかえるために、山々の中で一 生を終え、 自然に溶け込んでいくために最 後の旅に 出た。 42 SPRING 2 0 1 3 pilgrims sometimes describe the pilgrimage as a walking meditation. The entire pilgrimage is considered to be a mandala, inside of which it is possible to reach enlightenment after you have journeyed through the four stages of it, which include: 1. The Awakening (temples 1-23); 2. Discipline (temples 24-39); 3. Enlightenment (temples 40-65), and 4. Nirvana (temples 66-88). If you do it on foot, it takes five to six weeks to complete. Even running, it took me five weeks at almost a marathon per day (and sometimes much more). By bicycle, you’ll need about 10 days. You can also visit the temples by bus or car, which will take at least a week. Most foreigners in Japan are interested in walking it. It’s a great physical challenge as well as an opportunity to see the countryside and feel Japan’s ancient culture. You’ll miss a lot of that if you do the pilgrimage by car. Nonetheless, for ex-pats living in Japan, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to get such a long time off work to walk it. This is also why Japanese people tend to drive it and visit the temples over many weekends. It can take them years to complete the pilgrimage just once via this method, but the important thing is that you complete it, no matter how long it takes. Indeed, it can be a life-long endeavor for those living far from Shikoku. The other barrier to doing the pilgrimage all at once is cost. If you’re walking it, you’re looking at anywhere from ¥4,000 per night (lodging, no meals) to ¥7,000 per night (with dinner and breakfast) to stay in accommodations along the way. At 40 or so nights, it can add up. Accommodation is plentiful, but most people who walk it will spend at least a few nights sleeping outside to help cut costs. (Another reason Japanese people choose to do a bus tour—it’s a lot cheaper!) There are a few pilgrims’ lodges along the way that operate on donations, but not many. Some people take tents, and there are campgrounds along the way, but they can be far off the pilgrimage path, adding unnecessary distance to a route already long enough at more than 1,000 kilometers. Contrary to what you’d think of a route that has been well trodden for more than 1,200 years, the Shikoku pilgrimage route is always changing. These days, there are roadside huts and even modern bus stops that are acceptable places for pilgrims to sleep for the night. Sometimes there will even be a bedroll underneath a bench just for pilgrims. Other recent improvements include handrails and concrete steps on some of the steeper parts of the trails to make it more accessible to the elderly and less fit. There are still parts that are completely wild, however, such as between temples 11 and 12, where it’s a good three-hour walk up some steep, often muddy parts. Any く人もいる。それに私がやったように走ること もできる。 とはいえ、ほかにも走って巡 礼をした人 がいるかどう かはわからない。でも ト レイル・ランニングやウル トラ・ ランニングの人 気が高ま りつつある今、 よ り多くのアス リートたちが 仏 教 巡 礼の道を走ることを計 画してくれ たらいいなと思っている。 ランニングは一 種の瞑 想と受け止められることが多 い。 また、巡 礼で歩く こと も歩く瞑 想といわれる。巡 礼 そのものが 悟りへの道であるとされ、4つの段 階を経 たあとに悟りに達することができ るといわ れ ている。そ の4つ の 段階とは、 1 覚睡 （1−23のお寺まわり） 2 修行 （24−39） 3 悟り （40−65） 4 涅 槃、苦 痛・苦 悩・世 俗 の脱 却 （66−88） である。 もし巡 礼を歩 いておこなうと すれば、大 体5週 間から6週 間 かかる。毎日、マラソンに近い 距離を走っても （と きにはマラソ ンより長 い 距 離を走った ） 5週 間 か かった。自転 車だと大 体 10日間 か かる。バスや 車でお 寺をまわること もできるが、 それ でも少なく と も1週間はかかる。 日本 にいるほとんど の 外 国 人 は 歩いて巡 礼をしたいと思っている。 体 力 的にも挑 戦であり、 また田 舎の風 景を 見たり、古い日本 文 化を感じとるには最 適だからだ。 車で巡 礼した場 合、その多くを素 通り してしまうだろ う。そうはいっても日本の一 般 社 会では、歩いて廻る だけの期間、 仕事を休むことは不可能ではないと して も実行するのはかなり難しいだろう。 毎 週 末、車でお寺をお参りする人 がいるのもその ためだ。 この 方 法では巡 礼を終えるまでに何 年もか かってしまうだろうが、重 要なことはどれだけ時 間 が かかろう と も、最 後までやり遂げることであり、四国か ら離 れたところに住んでる人にとっては、 まさに一 生 をかけて努力する目標となる。 一度にすべて廻ることのも うひとつの問題は費用で ある。歩 いて廻るなら大 体 一 晩4,000円 （ 素 泊まり） から7, 000円 （ 朝夕食 込み） かかるとみなくてはならな い。4 0 泊ほど 泊まるとなると、それはかなりの金 額に なる。宿はたく さんあるが、歩いている巡 礼 者は少な く とも何 泊 かは野 宿 することで費 用 削 減を図る （日本 の人たちがバスツアーを選ぶもうひとつの理 由でもあ る。そのほうがずっと安くてすむからだ） 。 お遍 路 沿 いにいくつかのドネーション・システムの 宿もあるが、その数は少ない。 テン トを持っていく人も いるし、 キャンプ場がある。が、それらのキャンプ場は お遍 路 のルートからかなりそれたところにあることが 多いので、そのままでも十 分 長い距 離を歩く巡 礼にさ らに不 必 要な1,000キロほ どの距離を歩かなければならない。 1200年 以 上もの間、多くの人 が 巡 礼してきた道で はあるが、四国のお遍 路はつねに変 化しつづけてい る。今日では道 沿 いに小 屋 や 道 の 駅 があり、そこで 巡礼者が夜寝ることができる。 「 一 度 に す べて ま わ る 人 は ほと んどい な い 。 歩 いて いる巡 礼 者 の ほとんどは 、何 回 か に 分 け て 行って い る 。たとえ ば 、ひ とつ の 県 に あるお 寺 だ け 廻 ると いっ た よう な 、そ れ は 一 国 参りと 呼 ば れ る やり 方 だ 。ひとつ の 県 に あ る 寺を 廻 り終 わっ た あと 、 1、 2週 間 、 あ るい は 数 年 間 、家 に 戻りま た 時間やエネ ル ギ ー が できた とき に 戻 っ てき て 、次 の ス テージの 巡 礼 に 取りか か る 」 。 ‘Few people tackled the Sh ikoku Pilgrimage all at once. M ost walking pilgrim s do it in stag es, one prefecture at a time. It’s called ikkoku mairi…A fter they finis hed one prefecture, th ey’d go home for a week or two, or maybe even a few years, until th ey had the tim e and energy to comm it to doing th e next stage of the pil grimage.’ SPRING 2 0 1 3 43 temples on top of hills will have a walking path to the temple via the forest in addition to the switchback road for cars or a ropeway for pedestrians. It can be a bit of a challenge to find these untamed parts of the route, however, since most Japanese people do the pilgrimage by tour bus or car these days. So if you ask a local how to get to the next temple, they’ll inevitably give you the easiest, most convenient route and probably suggest you take a public bus or the train. But if you really wish to walk it, you can probe a little deeper and find the ancient routes. There is almost always a more scenic route than the one people will tell you about, and it’s possible that some locals don’t even know all the routes, since they too are usually driving to the temples. Keep in mind there are often several walking routes, all of which will take you to the next temple. Some are longer or offer different degrees of difficulty. It’s always a good idea to set out on your pilgrimage as early as possible in the morning, so you have plenty of time to find a place to stay overnight. It’s easier to stop early when you find a good place rather than having to push on after nightfall, still searching. Furthermore, you have to figure in the “getting lost factor.” It happens, so give yourself time. When I first did the pilgrimage in 1998, I learned most things by trial-and-error. I knew there was a need for another book in English about the pilgrimage, but it still took 13 years to find a publisher. It was really just luck, because ultra-running is one of the fastest growing sports right now, so suddenly there was some interest in this girl who had run more than 1,000 kilometers in the pursuit of enlightenment. Before that, I hadn’t even considered making the fact that I ran it a very big part of the book, and it still isn’t, really. It’s more about the pilgrimage, Shingon Buddhism and understanding this amazing facet of Japanese history and culture. The pilgrimage has the ability to completely change your life, if that’s what you’d like it to do. It’s like coming to Japan in the first place. It would be impossible for anyone who has lived here a year or more to go home the same person as when they arrived. You learn so much while you’re here, and you carry the influences with you wherever you go even after you leave Japan. The pilgrimage is the same, but it takes your Japan experience a step deeper. ✤ ときにはベンチの下に巡 礼 者のために布 団 が 置 か れていること もある。 またも うひとつ最 近 改良されたの が、お遍 路の急な坂 道に作られた手すりやコンク リー トの 階 段 だ。 このおか げ で、年 配 の 人 やそれほど 体力がない人でも行きやすく なった。 そうはいっても、 まだかなり未 開 発の地 域も残って いて、たとえば、1 1 晩めの寺 から1 2 晩めの寺 への道 は、ゆうに3時 間はかかる急でぬかるんでいることが 多い。それに山の上にあるお寺なら、 どこでも車 が 走るスイッチ バックの 道 やロープウエイとは別に、歩 行 者のた めの森の中を抜ける歩 道がある。 ただ、ほとんどの日本 人 がツアーバ スや 車 で 行っている現 在、お 遍 路 の あま り慣らされていない場 所を探 すの はちょ っと難しいかも しれない。 も しも地 元の人に次のお寺までの道 を聞く場 合、一 番 行きやすくて便 利な道を教えてくれ るが、おそらくバスか 電 車を使えと言うだろう。でも、 もし本 当に歩きたいのであれば、 もう少し調 べ れば、 昔のルー トを見つけることができる。 人に聞く よ り もさらに美しい景 色のルー トはほとんど どこにでも見 つけることができる。 また地 元の人です ら、 すべての道を知っているわけではない。 なぜなら、 彼らもお寺に行く ときは大 体 車で行くからだ。次のお 寺まで歩いて行く道はひとつではなく、いくつもあるこ とが 多 いということを頭に入 れておく といい。長 い 距 離を歩く道もあれば、歩くのが難しい道もある。 そして、できる限り朝 早く巡 礼に出 発 することをお 薦めする。 なぜなら、夕方までにその日の宿を決める ことができるので、暗くなってからむりやり探 すよ りい いからだ。それに、 も しも迷ってしまったらということも 考えなくてはいけない。 そういうこと も起こ りえる。 だか ら、時間には余裕をもっておいたほうがいい。 1998年、 最初に巡礼をした時、 私は試行 錯 誤の繰 り返しだった。英 語で書 かれた巡 礼についての本 が 必 要だと感じたが、実 際に出 版 社を見 つけるまでに e in my life ember a tim ‘I can’t rem use running n’t run. I when I have e people om S oblems. to solve pr ee in a park t under a tr might go si k, do yoga, al w a or take to reflect, ways end al I run. I or meditate. ad. This he r re h a clea to run my run wit e os reason I ch alk it. w is the real an th er e rath than e the pilgrimag or m nning much I enjoy ru walking.’ いな か た 、走 っ て れ て きて こ の い こと 辛 。 「私は生ま い な せ とを 思 い だ 問 かっ た 時 のこ こと に よっ て と、私 は 走 る る あ が み 木の下 の や悩 園 公 は て 。人 に よっ り、 題 を 解 決した 、ヨ ガ を した り、歩 い たり た え 考 り れ ど、 け に座 う ろ だ の 想 した り す る が あ るい は 瞑 なら ず 頭 の 中 り終 わ れ ば か 走 。 る 走 ずに走 か 私は 歩 を 路 遍 て い る 。お クリア に なっ の 理 由 だ 」。 はこれ が 本 当 の た っ 思 と ろう 44 SPRING 2 0 1 3 「 四 国 は 19 85 年 まで 日 本 の 本 州と 橋 で 繋 がっ て い な か っ た 。そ の 結 果 、日 本 の ほ の 地 域 より 開 か 発 され な か っ た し、商 業 も 本 州 の ように は 盛んで は なか っ た 。四 国 に い まだ に 日 本 は の田舎のすば らしい 自 然 の 風 景 が 残って いる」 。 ‘Shikoku w as not conn ected to mainland Japa n by bridge until 1985. As a result , it’s not as developed as the rest of Japan, and co mmerce never took hold here th e way it has on the m ain island of Honshu. Shikoku still retains that pristine, natural scen ery seen in photos of Japan’s coun tryside.’ Amy Chavez has been a columnist with The Japan Times since 1997. Her latest book is Running the Shikoku Pilgrimage 900 Miles to Enlightenment (Volcano Press, 2013), available in bookstores, from the publisher www.volcanopress.com, or online from Amazon.com. ISBN 978-1884244353. Visit her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Chavez/177802342261206 or Twitter @JapanLite 1997 the Shikoku Pilgrimage 900 Volcano Press, 2013 www.volcanopress.com Amazon.com. ISBN 978-1884244353. Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Chavez/177802342261206 Twitter @JapanLite Running 13年かかった。それはまさに運が良かったと しかいい ようがない、 なぜなら、今、 ウル トラ・ランニングはもっ とも急 速に人 気 がでてきたスポーツで、突 然、 この悟 りを開くために、1 , 0 0 0キロ以 上 走った 女 性 へ の 関 心がう まれたからだ。 それまでは、本のなかで自分がお遍 路を走ったこと をたく さん書くつも りはなかった。実 際、本ではそれほ ど 書 いているわけではない。本はおもに巡 礼につい て、真言 宗とこのすばらしい日本の歴史と文化にたい する理解について書かれている。 巡 礼は、 も しもそれがあなたの望むことであるなら、 あなたの人 生を完 全に変えてしまうことができる。 それは、 日本に来るということ と同じよ うなものだ。 日 本に1年 以 上 住んだ人が、母 国に以 前とまったく同じ 自分のままで帰ることは不 可能である。 日本に住むと、 本当にたく さんのことを学び、 日本を離れたあとでもど こへ 行くにも日本で受けた影 響を身につけている。巡 礼も同じだ。 日本での経 験をさらに深いものにするの は確かなことなのだ。✤ SPRING 2 0 1 3 45 ON THE RUN By Robert Self Flower Power Akazora Apartments Niseko Opening year SPECIAL! We’re oﬀering 10% oﬀ any booking in Akazora to any Outdoor Japan reader, at any time. Simply mention OJ to save on your Niseko holiday.* enerally, when a Japanese friend suggests traveling to see some flowers, since “they are a famous attraction this time of year,” the proper thing to do is run…in the opposite direction. Attractions such as the ajisai (hydrangea) of Kamakura or the mizu bashou (skunk cabbage) of Oze are known to almost everyone, so they draw the usual shuffling masses of tourists when in bloom. Trail runners can greet the delicate flowers of spring on the hoof, without crowds, in the beautiful forests near Tokyo and other major cities. A runner does not need to go far from the city to enter easy-to-run trails that will provide the “color fix” your mind may be craving after the long and drab winter. Here are some flowers to look for and where to find them while enjoying running some trails. Ayame アヤメ (Fringed Iris) Sometimes called shaga in Japanese, ayame bloom in huge riots of flowers from late April to the end of May. Cedar and pine plantations that, in late winter and early spring, seem to produce nothing beyond pollen (for us hay fever sufferers, anyway), come alive with this delicate member of the iris family. For this trail runner, ayame are the signature flowers of spring near Tokyo. Where to run: Most pine or cedar forests near major cities, with ayame growing on partially sunny slopes. In Kanto, try running from Ikusabata Station on the Ome Line; follow the signs to Mt. Takamizu. Also Mt. Takao. In Kansai, the various trails around historical Mt. Hiei. G Run the very enjoyable trail to Mt. Tonousu which can become an easy 6K loop or longer. Boke 木瓜 (Dwarf Quince) I must admit I am boke for boke (boke also means to become dotty or senile). Finding boke along your run takes a bit more work than looking for some other common mountain flowers, since it generally blooms on bare or windswept hills above 800 meters, in some cases clinging to grassy surfaces such as a bonsai tree. Some random growths do occur in small clumps lower down, but it is a question of luck finding them. Once seen, this brilliant orange-to-red flower is not easily forgotten. Where to run: Boke can be found on high mountain trails south of Tokyo, such as along ridgelines in the Tanzawa Range or in Hakone. These are some primo runs for their close-up cameos of Mt. Fuji, but also for these superb little flowers. Tama Ajisai タマアジサイ (Wild Hydrangea) At the end of spring, as rainy season sets in, Japanese temples and gardens often have impressive displays of the garden variety of hydrangea, with showy pompoms of blue, pink, violet or white. The wild variety of hydrangea is a common and less showy ancestor of today’s gaudy garden plant. It generally grows a meter high or so and blooms in a subdued and almost flat, powdery flower that is generally white, tinged with violet. It is in many ways the last obvious flower of spring in the low mountains of Honshu. Where to run: A good place to encounter mountain hydrangea is on Mt. Maruyama which requires a bit of a climb for the average runner. The peak takes an hour to an hour and a half from Ashigakubo Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line and should only be attempted by fit runners with enough time on their hands. For comparison, stop at a local temple on the way back and check out the flower’s city cousin. After the wild hydrangea finish blooming and the rainy season nears its end, runners will need to go farther out of Tokyo and probably farther up into the alpine zone to fully sample Japan’s wonderful flowerbedecked scenery. Stylish new apartments in the heart of Hirafu Village. A stones throw from the slopes and steps away from some of the most popular bars and restaurants Niseko has to oﬀer. www.akazora.com *cannot be used with any other oﬀer Yama-Tsutsuji ヤマツツジ (Mountain Azalea) Bushy azalea are a familiar site in Japanese cities but are also native to both low and high mountains, blooming around Golden Week and lasting for up to a month. Yamatsutsuji grow especially well along rocky trails in natural Japanese hardwood forests. Most mountain varieties are salmon-orange to pink in color. Where to run: The most amazing place to run through endless forests of azalea is Kirishima National Park near Kagoshima. Nearer to Tokyo, Mt. Tenranzan near Hanno Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line is an easy-to-reach destination for yama-tsutsuji. email : firstname.lastname@example.org tel : +81(0)136 55 5122 Robert Self came to Japan from northern California's redwood country. He has been running in Japan's mountains for 20 years and has coached runners from beginners to international champions. He is the director of Hanno Trail School which specializes in running tours and trail running lessons. Web: www.tokyotrailrunning.com / Facebook: www.facebook.com/tokyotrailrunning 46 SPRING 2 0 1 3 上 げ 潮じゃ H I G H T I D E By Mitsuharu Kume 「公園」 Koen こうい っ た歴史ある公園という 公園は、 みんなが集まっ てくる 日 本の公 園の歴 史 を 見ると、 （１６９５ 年 （元禄８年） 、 現在 太 こえると、 なんとも心 地よく、 幸 のは、 ３００ 年にわたっ て憩いの の榴 岡 公 園 ） が 存 在 し、 また 江 の公 園。 そこを 散 歩で訪 れて体 に公 園 として開 設 された 松 島、 にやっ て来る老人、 駆け足で通り せな時 間がながれている場 所 だ という 言 葉 が 使 わ れる よ う に と思 う。 お弁 当を食べたり、 本を とした都会の中にあるオアシス、 １ ８７ ３ 年 （明 治６ 年 ） に公 園 れたい場所であり、 また日本を訪 きた。 he early mor ning sunlight filter s through the branches of the trees; playground equipment sparkle s with morning dew, here in this koen (park). It’s a peaceful start to the day, with people strolling in to do their exercises; older volunteers begin cleaning the park while students hurriedly rush through. The park is an oasis in the middle of a chaotic city. The laughter of children rings out, reminding us this is a place where people enjoy a peaceful, happy time. Eating bento lunches, reading books, taking a siesta — adults, too, find this place relaxing and refreshing. Take a moment to think about the many benefits a park brings to the community. The history of parks in Japan goes back to 1695, during the Edo Period, when Sakura Baba in Sendai (today’s Tsujigaoka Koen) was founded, a time when scenic areas were officially designated. However the word koen was first used in 1873, during the Meiji Per iod, when park s were more formally established, such as the Three Famous Sites of Matsushima, T ただろう。 日本人として 一 度は訪 で、 なんだか幸せな気 分になっ て や大 名 庭 園である偕 楽 園、 兼 六 「上 げ 潮 じゃ、 上 げ 潮 じゃ」（ 物 なった よ う だ。 こ れ よ り 以 前、 ある庭園を美しく受け継いでき ンチに寝転が っ て考えているだけ ある。 まりが 感 じられるとき だ。 混沌 天 橋 立、 安 芸の宮 島 （日 本 三 景 ） 園、 後楽園 （日 本 三 名 園 ） などが 戸 期から景 勝 地とされ、 明治期 どれだけ多くの人が訪れ、 自然の じ公 園も季 節によっ て様々な顔 場として存在している。 これまで 日 本には四 季 があるから、 同 園の良さを今一 度考えてみたい。 代まで日本文化独特のアートで を 作るだろう？そんなことをベ 美 しさを 感じ、 また 過 去 か ら 現 を見せる。 自 分 ならどんな 公 園 江 戸 時 代 には 仙 台 に桜の馬 場 こかしこでバーベキューが行われ 公園。 そこで子どもの笑い声が聞 読んだり、 昼寝をしたり、 大人に 過ぎていく学生、 平和な一 日の始 だっ てそこは憩いの場。 そんな公 公 園は子 どもの社 交 場。 そこ 操をする人、 ボランティアで掃除 朝露に濡れた遊具を照らす早朝 か ら な な めに 差 し 込 み、 陽の日差しが木々の隙間 僕 は 子 ど も た ちと 犬 を 連 れ い社 会 勉 強 だ。 子 ども だけでは ていて、 近くを通ると 「食べ ていけ て車で半 年かけて日 本一周をし にいる子ども同士すぐに仲良く と、 あっ という間に別れがくる。 い し、 そこの駐車場に泊まるのが常 た。 日本中の公園でこんなに遊ん たことがある。 地 図で 公 園 を 探 なり、 遊 びまわり、 親に呼 ばれる れて欲しいものだと思う。 れる旅 行 者に、 秋 葉 原 や六 本 木 ない、 ハワイでは週 末になるとそ があり、 空の下という開放感も手 ある遊 具を一周してすべ て遊 び、 ば？」 と 声 がかかることがある。 ぐにまた 公 園に飛 び出 していっ すぐさま公園に飛び出し、 そこに す昔の言葉） 。 公園での人との出 会いは安心感 戻っ てきて朝 ごはん、 食べるとす 自然と人を感じる楽しいところ。 事がいい方 向に向かうことを指 伝っ てかとても心が和む。 Amanohashdate and Aki no Miyajima. Gardens formerly owned by daimyo were also founded, such as the Three Famous Gardens — Kairakuen, Kenrokuen and Korakuen. People have been relaxing in parks in Japan for more than 300 years. I wonder how many Japanese people take time to enjoy them today, feel the beauty of nature and sense something of the bygone days in the Japanese art of the garden. I hope people from overseas will not only visit places such as Akihabara and Roppongi but also explore this beautiful Japanese tradition as well. I spent half a year with my kids and our dog traveling around Japan by camping car. We’d look for a park on the map and then stay in a nearby parking area. The kids would wake up early and immediately fly out to the park and start playing with all the playground equipment, come back for a quick breakfast, and then take off again for the park. I wonder how many children play in parks such as this in Japan today. Parks are a social gathering place for だ子どもは珍しいと思う。 kids. They quickly make friends with others they meet there, play together, and just as quickly say goodbye when their parents call them home. It’s a great social study, and not just for children. I remember in Hawaii, barbecues were held everywhere on weekends and, as I walked by, people would always call out, “Want something to eat?” A park is a place where you can feel a sense of security when you meet new people; you feel the freedom of being under the open skies, and you’re relaxed and ready to help others. A park is a place where people gather, connect with others, with nature and just have fun and, because there are four seasons in Japan, the same park will have different look throughout the year. What kind of koen would you create if you could? Lying down on a bench in my local park thinking about this question puts a smile on my face. “Age shio ja, age shio ja”— so goes the old saying that the tide is rising, meaning things are turning for the better. だった。 子どもたちは朝起きると だけでなく日 本の美しさにも触 SPRING 2 0 1 3 47 Building Snow Men By Chad Crowe A duck, a beaver and a sasquatch go sledding in Sapporo. Frozen Tales of Sister Cities and Snow Festivals. 48 SPRING 2 0 1 3 “D id you ever build a snowman when you were a kid? Well, just do the same thing—but make it amazing, and really big!” These words of encouragement were offered to me by Charley Scott, a former bronco rider and now a member of the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association. He had just convinced me to join the U.S. Snow Sculpture Team to compete at the upcoming Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan. I pointed out I had minus-zero experience sculpting snow and ice; he sensed I needed a little reassurance. But, what was I thinking? I am a cartoonist. The last sculpture I made was a horrible likeness of Neil Young thumbed out of sculpting clay during my freshman year in college. Charley assured me the festival was more of a cultural exchange than a serious competition and promptly appointed my wife Brenda, a graphic designer who also had no snow experience, to the team. How did we get here? The adventure started when I was asked to create a design for this year’s ice sculpture entry, hoping I could add some local Portland humor. My drawing featured a Sasquatch, duck and beaver that had left the rainy Oregon winter to go tobogganing. The duck and beaver were enjoying glasses of sake, while the frightened sasquatch held onto the back of the sled for dear life. It looked good on paper, but I was anxious to see how it would translate into a 3D snow sculpture. Luckily, Charley had recruited Othniel Anaqulutuq Oomittuk Jr., also known as Art, as the team’s third member. Art is an internationally recognized sculptor from the Inupiaq tribe in Point Hope, Alaska. He had competed in Sapporo twice before. 1 2 3D Jr. 3 2 1 SPRING 2 2 0 1 3 49 We felt reassured, but going to Japan with an Inupiaq to carve a snow beaver still seemed like something out of Portlandia. Charley’s wife, Sherry, accompanied us as our diplomatic representative (and de facto chaperone). Sapporo, a metropolis of two million people, is located on the northern island of Hokkaido, famous for its rugged mountains, beautiful coastline and amazing food. Like Portland, it is also something of a magnet for eccentrics and dreamers who wish to experiment and carve out their own lives in a more relaxed and accepting environment. The weather howls in from Siberia, blanketing the area in thick layers of powdery white snow in winter, making it the perfect location for winter sports (the 1972 Winter Olympics were held here) and snow festivals. The Sapporo Snow Festival (Yuki Matsuri) began in 1950 with a few high school students building snowmen and has since become one of Japan’s largest winter festivals, pulling in more than two million visitors and including such attractions as snow slides, ski jumps, ice sculptures and the international snow sculpture competition. The 2013 festival featured teams from 10 countries. We arrived to find a winter wonderland. It was snowing, and huge white drifts obscured the congested city blocks. We checked into our hotel rooms, and the walls and floor began to shake. I thought I might have hit the wrong button on the toilet (which more closely resembled R2-D2 than a commode), but it turned out to be a magnitude 6.9 earthquake centered 100 miles away—a reminder that, despite the snow, we were still on the Ring of Fire. The festivities began with a meet-and-greet the following night at Sapporo’s iconic JR Tower. The next morning we attended an opening ceremony with a band, formal introduction of the competing teams, a word of welcome and support from the mayor and various officials of the festival. Then we were off to face the monumental task of chiseling the three-meter block of ice into a Sasquatch, duck and beaver. We would have three 12-hour days to carve something recognizable—hopefully amazing—and all without power tools. Basic tools, such as shovels and spades were provided, but we also brought along some homemade cleavers and chisels in our suitcases. Columbia Sportswear generously donated our snowsuits and embroidered USA Snow Sculpture Team on the back. That not only kept us warm, but also gave us the sartorial presence of Olympic athletes. Odori Park, a long thoroughfare through the center of the city, was the location for our part of the competition. The first day was brutal, and seemed more akin to a Siberian work camp (albeit with kind hosts and good food) than a vacation. Chiseling the basic shapes, and the massive amounts of snow removal involved, required a Herculean effort, and my attempts to sing inspirational labor songs sounded like spasms of laryngitic wheezing. By the end of the first day, our sculpture resembled a giant white thimble. But by the second day, the basic shapes began to materialize, and we became more focused on chiseling the characters, shapes, textures and expressions. Art was a confident and knowledgeable team captain, and he helped organize us into various duties to make efficient use our labor and time. One of the unforeseen challenges, and welcome breaks from indentured snow labor, were the hoards of adorable children from Sapporo elementary schools who descended upon us with questions and requests for signatures. Some handed us beautiful colored origami birds they had made as gifts and which we deemed good luck charms. Locals would also display heartwarming generosity by telling us how honored they were that we attended their festival. They offered hot beverages throughout the day. Occasional screams of “Go Oregon!” could also be heard from Americans attending the event. At the end of the second day, I was convinced labor and exposure had caused me to hallucinate: out of the snow appeared Santa Claus, presenting us with a case of Rogue ale, a local brew from Oregon. It turned out to be long-time Sapporo resident (and craft beer importer) Phred Kaufman. I was introduced to Phred over e-mail before I left by Gardner Robinson, the founder of Outdoor Japan Media and a transplanted Oregonian who now lives south of 50 SPRING 2 0 1 3 6.9 160 JR 200 3 2 1 12 3 1972 1950 200 Team USA Snow Sculpture 2 2013 10 R2D2 SPRING 2 0 1 3 51 Tokyo. Phred is a good source of information on Sapporo, and he owns the oldest international beer bar in Japan— Beer Inn Mugishutei. The final sculpting day went smoothly. We finished the shapes and details on the characters. Now we were ready to party. Michi Goto, involved with the festival committee, and her colleagues hosted us to a full dinner at a local restaurant featuring regional specialties. Plates of fresh raw fish, bowls of miso and tofu and charcoal grilled meats arrived, along with frothy pints of Suntory beer. Phred appeared, and whisked us off to his bar, and a tour of Susukino, the nightlife district. We awoke early— and groggy—the next day to quickly dust the snow off our sculpture for judging. The awards ceremony took place against a backdrop of enormous snow sculptures and a large crowd. Thailand took first place for its fantastically realistic depiction of elephants painting. Finland took second with a grasshopper resting on a leaf. Indonesia, Sweden and Singapore medaled. We did not place, but our sculpture brought smiles to the faces of many children, and we learned a good deal about the art of carving ice and snow. There was also an urban legend circulating around about an informal “Fundoshi Party,” which is rumored to involve a group of almost naked folks, wearing only red fundoshi (something akin to the underwear a sumo wrestler might don), and who prance around the snow sculptures in the wee hours of the morning on the last day of the festival. As this was the night before our flight home, I lacked the incentive to investigate the myth. Although the sculpture competition filled most of our time in Hokkaido, we did manage to extend the trip for three days, and what would a trip to Sapporo be without a visit to the brewery that has made the city internationally famous? The Sapporo Brewery, founded during the Meiji Period, has been producing quality pilsners since 1876 and is located just a few miles from the city center. The Sapporo Beer Museum is an impressive red brick building from 1890 and offers a well-designed visual tour of the beer’s history throughout its three floors, with a tasting room and gift shop on the lower level. The Sapporo Beer Garden, located next door in what is known as “The Genghis Khan Hall,” is the perfect stop to experience the various foods of Hokkaido in an opulent, yet comfortable, beer hall atmosphere. Upon entering, one finds an enormous room of firewood, a crackling fireplace and beer cauldron soaring to the high ceiling of the second floor. In the center of each table is an electric grill, for customers to cook the fresh meat, fish and vegetables to their personal taste. Barbecued lamb with onions (known as “Genghis Khan”) is considered the specialty here, and the perfect accompaniment to Sapporo Beer. It was the best type of snow labor camp vacation for which any reasonable person might hope. We met some amazing people on the competing teams and were literally snowed-under by the generosity of our eccentric and charming sister city in Japan. ✤ 52 SPRING 2 0 1 3 3 1876 1890 3 Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Chad Crowe is an illustrator, cartoonist, painter, and occasional designer of giant parade floats and, more recently, ice sculptures. On a family trip to Venice, at the age of 11, he was sketched by a sidewalk caricature artist and became convinced it was possible to make a living combining art and humor, much to his parents concern. 11 2 âœ¤ ROGU E SAP PO RO SPRING 2 0 1 3 53 Hurry Up and Wait he thermometer on my dashboard reads minus-2 as the first signs of daylight begin to separate the silhouette of the mountainous horizon from the sky. I can make out globs of snow on the trees and thin sheets of ice at the water’s edge. The heater is blaring, and I am less than thrilled the moment of departure from my cozy metal cocoon is approaching. I pessimistically groan, “If I’m going to be this cold, it had better be worth it.” My buddies and I showed up at the south shore of Ashinoko (Lake Ashi) three hours ahead of sunrise to get a choice spot for the opening of trout season. As soon as we arrived, we hastily dropped our gear at the water’s edge to mark the area as our spot for the day before retreating to the warmth of our vehicles. Although I worried the cold could be a sign the fish would be lethargic at best, I immediately dozed off to dream of hooking ravenous rainbows the size of my leg. Ten minutes from the official 6:30 a.m. start time, two dozen or so anglers immerged from their vehicles bundled up like skiers. T Everyone lined up, grabbed a rod and waited, expecting an official message on the P.A. system, or a bell that signals it’s OK to start fishing. Nothing comes, but at 6:32 a bold angler decides it’s time to get his lure in the water, and everyone follows his lead. One member of our group, known as “Hama-chan,” has never been trout fishing. He’s struggling to get his spoon tied on and is unsure of how to properly hold his rod and reel to make a good cast. On his very first try, he manages to cast his spoon about half the distance of the other anglers. He’s a little embarrassed about his novice form, but his effort is rewarded when a decentsized rainbow hits his lure just as he begins retrieving. Little flukes, like making your first catch on your first cast, are common in fishing and a big part of what gets new anglers hooked on the sport. In the space of time it takes Hamachan to unhook his catch and toss it into the cooler, four other members of our group have hooked up. The day moves on with the fish biting like crazy for a minute or two and then shutting off for 10 to 15 minutes. Hatchery trout such as these are especially fickle creatures that tend to respond to lures presented under very specific conditions. During these lulls in activity, anglers furiously yet methodically rotate spoon colors and shapes, and retrieval patterns in a race to be the first guy on the water to figure out the trout. By the end of the third lull in activity, it’s evident these fish, averaging 30 to 40 cms., are shutting off as clouds cast a shadow on the lake. No one but the trout knows why they behave this way, but we got a lot of chances while the sun was shining. While my buddies plan to “gaman” the whole day, hoping to catch one of Ashinoko’s elusive jumbo rainbows, for me the fun lasts about two more hours before my nearly frostbitten fingers decide they’ve had enough. By 9:30 a.m. I’m back at my house in Shonan, asleep on my sofa. WHAT S BITING? From early spring, offshore anglers in Kanto and Tohoku can look forward to good bottom fishing for a variety of rockfish on both bait and lures. Consult your local tackle shop or guide for details on tackle and rigging. Inland from Kanto westward to the Kansai area, lure and fly season opens at a variety of rivers and lakes for both stocked and native trout and char. Go with ultra light spin gear in the two-to-four lb. range or fly tackle in the three-to-five weight range and bring your finesse game. From late May, offshore anglers in Kanto may hear of tuna and yellowtail showing up off the shores of east Izu. Check the home page of any guide launching between Atami and Shimoda for up-to-date information. 54 SPRING 2 0 1 3 SPRING 2 0 1 3 55 By Bryan Harrell Koenji Beer Kobo 高円寺麦酒工房 （こうえんじ びーるこうぼう） Koenji, Tokyo 東京都・高円寺 t doesn’t get much more local than this place which has the advantage of being right in the middle of Tokyo. It’s a small beer bar shoved into what was once a fairly spacious apartment, and it’s all selfservice. Imagine knowing a few guys who are pretty good at home brewing, and you get invited. While not free, the beer and food are surprisingly cheap. All beers they make are on tap, and there is no bottled product to take home. Plus, they also offer three Kirin beers on tap; Ichiban Shibori, Ichiban Shibori Stout and Kirin Braumeister. Presumably for those not into craft beer but possibly in case they run out of their own stuff. The beers they make have no fa ncy na me s and most are just ¥ 540 for a small mug. W hen I visited, they had Amber, Blonde, Cream Ale, Strong Ale, White Beer and Wheat. The Blonde was only ¥390, while the Strong Ale was ¥690. The amber was a hazy gold copper color with a I thick head, a fair amount of rich tanginess and bitterness and served just a bit cold. The Cream Ale was a hazy gold with a thick head, fruity aroma like mango or papaya and a rich, fruity flavor with minimal bitterness. To finish, I went for the Strong Ale, a very hazy dark tan with a rich body balanced by a fair amount of bitterness, though it was a bit more turbid than it should have been and could have used a bit more settling time or even some filtration. The menu offers very little information on the beers, but feel free to ask the staff for more details. The food is simple, with things such as sausage or bacon blo ck s you g r ill on little heaters at your table, fish and chips, pa sta, potato sa lad and the like. There is also a “sister shop” in Asagaya, one station away, which opened this past summer. Details are on their web site. 540 390 690 高円 寺 麦 酒 工 房（こうえんじ び ーるこうぼう） Koenji Beer Kobo 2-24-8 Koenji Kita, Suginami-ku, Tokyo 166-0002 16 6 - 0 0 0 2 2-24 - 8 Phone: (03) 5373-5301 Web: http://beerkobo.web.fc2.com/kouenjiindex.html (in Japanese only) Wednesday-Friday: 5 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 3 to 8:30 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday 56 SPRING 2 0 1 3 Cycling Japan: A JOURNEY TO EXPERIENCE THE LOCAL LIFE ROUTE By Takashi Niwa Translated by Sakae Sugahara サイ ク リ ング—それは 土地の暮らしを感じる旅 # 18 Ise Bay Matsuzaka SHIZUOKA PREFECTURE From Hamanako to Ise— A Journey Across the Bay 静岡県浜名湖からフェ リーに乗って志摩 Hamamatsu MIE PREFECTURE Ise Shima The route distance: From Hamamatsu, 185 km. to Ise and 220 km. to Matsuzaka. 185 220 fter getting off the Shinkansen ( bullet train) at Hamamatsu Station, we embark on the bike journey to Ise. Riding past the la ke shore s of Ha ma na - ko, we r ide sout h down the Atsumi Peninsula. A great part of the peninsula’s shoreline ha s a bike - a nd pedestrian path which overlooks the grandeur of the Pacific Ocean. At the tip of the peninsula is Cape Iragomisaki from where a ferry ride of a bit less than one hour will bring us to Toba. The Shima Peninsula has numerous small bays and tranquil inlets. Going over small ridges in between, we can trace the coastline f rom bay to bay a nd stop whe never a nd wherever we like, to enjoy the taste of local oysters, watch pea rl culturing fa rms a nd engage in other activities. From Gokasho Town, the route goes over the Tsurugi Pass which brings us to the sacred A forest that is home to Ise Jingu Shrine, a place that has been left untouched for centuries. We can end the journey here or go farther until we get to the city of Matsuzaka or, more precisely, its beef, which is renowned for its beautiful, and delicious, marble. 1 Takashi Niwa’s Yamamichi Adventure company has been renamed Niwa Cycling Tours (www.ncycling.com). He offers many bike tours, both domestic and overseas. For other routes in Japan, please pick up a copy of “CYCLING JAPAN: 10 of the Best Rides, Vol. 1 by Takashi Niwa,” at bookshops around Japan and various online stores. 2011 1 www.ncycling.com 10 vol.1 SPRING 2 0 1 3 57 OJ CLASSIFIEDS ■ HOKKAIDO ■ HOKKAIDO ■ TOHOKU ■ SHINETSU • HOKURIKU ■ CHUBU • TOKAI ■ KANTO ■ KANSAI ■ HOKKAIDO ■ HOKKAIDO ■ HOKKAIDO ■ nagano www.htholidays.com Niseko’s Finest ■ HOKKAIDO ■ Fukushima GRANDECO RESORT Aizu UraBandai ■ nagano HOTEL GRANDECO 0241-32-3200 www.grandeco.com SPRING 58 2 0 1 3 ■ CHUGOKU • SHIKOKU ■ KYUSHU • OKINAWA ■ OUTSIDE JAPAN ■ GEAR & SERVICES Lifestyle Directory ■ nagano ■ NAGANO SKI JAPAN Season runs from December 3rd to May 6th (With Mother Natures Blessing) Come in December, March or April and beat the crowds and save some money! tel. 050 5532 6026 www.nozawaholidays.com ■ nagano ■ nagano ■ nagano 360° Virtual tour! 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SPRING Surf Guiding Surf Coaching Luxury Accommodation www.thechillhouse.com 2 0 1 3 61 OJ CLASSIFIEDS ■ MICRONESIA ■ HOKKAIDO ■ TOHOKU ■ SHINETSU • HOKURIKU ■ CHUBU • TOKAI ■ KANTO ■ KANSAI ■ CHUGOKU • SHIKOKU ■ KYUSHU • OKINAWA ■ OUTSIDE JAPAN ■ GEAR & SERVICES ■ MICRONESIA ■ MICRONESIA ■ THAILAND KOH LANTA KRABI THAILAND email: email@example.com www.pimalai.com Discover Nature, Discover Yourself. ■ NEPAL ■ INDIA ■ TAIWAN ■ GEAR & SERVICES ■ GEAR & SERVICES Office Network & Computer Support Database Development Website Development VoIP Telephone Systems Online Marketing www.showcase-central.info www.emissary.co.jp | 03-3365-1978 62 SPRING 2 0 1 3 Denver lnternational Airport Fly to Denver the gateway to your adventures in the Rocky Mountains. Effective April 1, 2013, United will launch nonstop service between Tokyo and Denver with Boeing 787 Dreamliner*. United is serving to 7 US Mainland cities from Japan, with convenient connections to 370 cities in six continents. *Subject to government approval.