Outdoor Japan Traveler - Issue 52 - Summer 2014
Enjoy Issue #52 of Outdoor Japan Traveler magazine. The Summer 2014 Issue spends a lot of time in the mountains, from the Himalayas with climbing royalty Peter Hillary to high alpine trail running near Tokyo and fat tire fun in Honshu and Hokkaido. We chase as pizza truck to some great summer music festivals, follow rock stars to Okayama, check out Tokyo surfing and island hopping in Micronesia and much more. Summer is a great time for festivals and fun. Enjoy the summer issue and get out there!
ISSUE 52 | SUMMER 2014 | FREE Festival Daze Beyond the Edge with Peter Hillary : Rock Stars in Okayama Micronesia Island Hopping Honshu MTB Parks & Niseko Trails MTB & ADVENTURE PEOPLE TOKYO SURFING ■ ■ C U LT U R E ■ TRAVEL SUMMER 2014 3 I N S I D E I S S U E 5 2 â– S U M M E R 2 014 26 F E AT U R E : Festival Daze 40 16 22 34 40 48 F E AT U R E S INSIDE Honshu MTB Parks & Niseko Trails MTB & 16 Q&A with Peter Hillary 34 06 08 10 12 13 14 19 20 54 From the Editor Surf Guide: Tokyo F-Stop Beer Buzz The Local Brew Guidelines Market Watch Talking Fly with Eiji Hamachi 22 26 Micronesia Island Hopping 40 48 Cycling Japan On the Run Travel & Adventure Directory & Festival Daze 40 New Routes in Okayama 4 T R AV E L E R SUMMER 2014 5 ■ FROM THE EDITOR Gardner Robinson, Editor-in-Chief email@example.com rowing up in Oregon, I remember the mountains were never out of sight. Mt. Hood stands tall above the Willamette Valley in the same way Mt. Fuji watches over the Kanto Plain. My first few months in Japan were spent out west in Kyoto, soaking up the history and artistic beauty of the old capital, but it wasn’t long before I made my pilgrimage to Nagano where I’d spend the next four years living in the foothills of the Japan Alps. In summer when metro sidewalks are egg-sizzling hot, we are fortunate to have mountains nearby to provide a cool embrace. Tokyo and Osaka each have refreshing alpine escapes nearby, and from Gifu to Hokkaido the country is dotted with some serious peaks. G Although we don’t normally do theme issues, our Summer Issue has a heavy mountain focus. We sit down with Peter Hillary, son of Sir Edmund, and talk adventure, high altitude conflict and tragedy and the release of a new film he was heavily involved with about his father and partner Tenzing Norgay. We run for the hills looking for high mountain trails close to Tokyo, go south in search of new routes with two of Japan’s top climbers, take a ride on a magical summer music tour with a red pizza truck and a motley crew of ski bums, and we uncover a new outdoor base in western Tokyo. But summer must include some sand and sea, and so we go island-hopping in Micronesia from the atolls in the Marshall Islands to Truk’s famous wrecks. Here in Japan, Okinawa and the southern islands are Japan’s preferred tropical escapes, yet Tokyo has its own beautiful islands just a few hours away where you can enjoy snorkeling, diving, relaxing on the beach and some great surfing. Check out our guide to surfing in Tokyo and go online to see our full Japan surf guide on other areas to catch some waves. On the craft beer scene we visit Hakkaisan Beer in Niigata and look at some fine Oregon beers making their way to Japan. Every season is a new adventure in Japan, and summer is full of colorful festivals, fireworks and fun. Get out there! 4 OUTDOOR JAPAN TRAVELER Published Seasonally Publisher Outdoor Japan Media Editor-in-Chief Gardner Robinson Editor Bill Ross Art Director Yuki Masuko Contributing Editors Wayne Graczyk Shigeo Morishita Contributors Joan Bailey, Lee Dobson, Eddie Gianelloni, Bryan Harrell, Neil Hartmann, Abdel Ibrahim, Pauline Kitamura, Takashi Niwa, Tomoko Okazaki, Tim Rock, Robert Self, Justin Stein, Craig Yamashita Translators Kumiko Kurosaki, Yoshine Lee, Eri Nishikami, Takeshi Sato, Lana Sofer Sales & Marketing firstname.lastname@example.org Outdoor Japan Media 6-6-55 Higashi Kaigan Minami Chigasaki-shi, Kanagawa 253-0054 253-0054 6-6-55 Tel: (0467) 81-3212 Fax: (0467) 81-3213 EDITORIAL: email@example.com ADVERTISING: firstname.lastname@example.org SUBSCRIPTIONS: email@example.com www.facebook/japantraveler www.twitter.com/outdoorjapan www.youtube.com/outdoorjapan ©2014 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 INC. PRINTED IN JAPAN. Cover Photo Aaron Jamieson Traveler magazine is available at selected lounges, reservations counters and in-flight libraries with the following airline partners. AIRLINE PARTNERS 6 T R AV E L E R SUMMER 2014 7 Tokyo People are often surprised to hear you can surf in Tokyo. There are actually two groups of islands that technically fall under the jurisdiction of Tokyo. The Izu Islands (Izu Shoto) are a group of volcanic islands stretching south and east from the Izu Peninsula. Although traditionally referred to as the "Izu Seven" (Izu Shichito), there are actually more than a dozen islands and islets. The Ogasawara Islands (also known as the Bonin Islands) are a stunning archipelago of more than 30 islands similarly administered by Tokyo, although it takes more than 25 hours to get there in good weather (approx. 1,000 kilometers) from Tokyo Bay. The Izu Islands, however, are a great weekend (or longer) surf trip destination for those seeking crystal clear waters, warmer water temperatures and spectacular scenery without actually leaving Tokyo. The Islands have a friendly local vibe, fresh local food and, of course, a variety of surf from easy beach breaks to top-class reefs. By Kuni Takanami TOKYO NIIJIMA iijima is the most popular Tokyo island for surfing and is home to local and international surf contests. There is a variety of consistently good waves with breaks that can handle everything from easterly, northeasterly, southeasterly, westerly and southwesterly swells. The eastern coast is a long white sand beach break that gets some powerful tubes. To the north is an experts-only point due to the strong currents. The western coast has some popular spots but does not get as much swell. Be sure not to miss the island’s natural outdoor hot spring. 1 N Awaiura 10 Wadahama 9 8 Kurone 7 2 1 Habushiura 4 5 6 3 Mama-shita Izu Oshima Niijima Kozushima Miyakejima 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Point Name Awaiura Habushiso Habushiura Heli-shita Secret Missile-shita Mama-shita-ura Kurone B-tei Wadahama Offshore Winds Level A W B NW B W B W I A W A W I A E / NE B E B E B E Wave Consistency 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 Bottom Peak Season ALL YEAR ALL YEAR ALL YEAR ALL YEAR ALL YEAR ALL YEAR ALL YEAR ALL YEAR ALL YEAR ALL YEAR Facilities JAN & FEB: Wetsuit MAR – MAY & DEC: JUN – NOV: 8 T R AV E L E R Hachijojima JAPAN SURF GUIDE IZU OSHIMA I zu Oshima, known simply as “Oshima,” is the closest of the Izu Islands and has clear waters and a stunning landscape which includes a giant volcano in the center of the island. Good waves make Oshima a great surf trip destination for the hardcore surfer. Most reef breaks perform all year round, handling swells from the northeast, south, southwest and west. Motomachi 5 4 7 6 Fudeshima 1 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Point Name Fudeshima Sanohama Junkame Keta Reef Motomachi-mae Naganehama Izumihama Offshore Winds Level A W B N B N A NE A E A N / NE A E Wave Consistency 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 Bottom Peak Season ALL YEAR ALL YEAR ALL YEAR ALL YEAR ALL YEAR SEP – NOV ALL YEAR Facilities JAN & FEB: Wetsuit MAR – MAY & NOV: JUN – OCT: COMING SOON! Kaesuhama 1 KOZUSHIMA K ozushima, known for its stunning scenery and white sand beaches, is a local island, and respect must be given in and out of the water. The breaks are quite consistent and work best on northerly, easterly, southeasterly and westerly swells. If for some reason the surf falls flat, there is plenty to keep the keen outdoor lover busy with four hiking trails, onsen and good campsites. 7 Nagahama 6 5 Maihama 4 Takouwan 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Point Name Kaesuhama Hashiri Takouwan Maihama Tsumari Maihama Mouri Maihama Nagasawa Nagahama Offshore Winds Level B SW I A NW A W B E B E A E A E / SE Wave Consistency 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 Bottom Peak Season JULY – NOV JULY – NOV JULY – NOV DEC – JUNE DEC – JUNE DEC – JUNE JULY – NOV Facilities JAN & FEB: MAR – MAY, OCT – DEC: JUN – SEP: Wetsuit MIYAKEJIMA F amous for dolphins, a (very) active volcano, diving and rare nature and wildlife, Miyakejima also turns on reasonable waves. Although not nearly as consistent as most of the other islands, there are a good number of challenging reef breaks for the advanced surfer that handle swells from almost any direction. The high cliffs of neighboring Mikurajima are home to wild dolphins and thus attract dolphin-swimming tours. Visitors often stay on Miyakejima where the dramatic landscape is a harsh reminder of the power of nature. 1 2 3 4 5 6 The beer that rewards 1 Igaya your best performances. Tsubota 6 4 2 3 5 Brewed for all surfers and beer lovers. Point Name Sunset Gyokou School Miera Iruka / Dolphin Turtle Offshore Winds Level I A E I A N / NW A N / NW A W / NW I A W / NW I A W / NW Wave Consistency 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 Bottom Peak Season MAY – NOV MAY – NOV MAY – NOV MAY – NOV MAY – NOV MAY – NOV Facilities NOV – APR: MAY – OCT: Wetsuit HACHIJOJIMA achijojima is the most southern of the Izu Islands and is known for spring temperatures year-round. A volcanic landscape, onsen and year-round consistent surf await the expeditionary surfer. Its open ocean location means it gets swells from every direction, but the main breaks particularly feed off northerly or southerly swells. It breaks all year but is best in winter. The water is usually warmer than the Kanto area due to the Black Current. Don’t expect sandy beaches; there are many rocks that will be difficult for beginners, but great for intermediate and advanced surfers. Tourist surfers are welcome but, as anywhere, respect the locals, and you will catch more waves. Make sure to drop into the Aussie-run Anchor Pub to get the lowdown. Point Name 1 2 3 H Sueyoshi 1 3 2 Wetsuit DEC – MAR: APR – NOV: Kaizer's Santos Tacos Offshore Winds Level A NW A NW A NW Wave Consistency 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 Bottom Peak Season ALL YEAR NOV – FEB JUN – NOV Facilities CONTACT firstname.lastname@example.org IMPORTED BY NAGANO TRADING CO. Check out Outdoor Japan’s complete guide to surfing in Japan at www.outdoorjapan.com/surf SUMMER 2014 9 F - STOP Top: In 2012, during the typhoon season in Omaezaki, I knew the surf would be huge. To my surprise, nobody was in the water. With nobody to shoot, I decided to go body boarding by myself. After two good barrels, I grabbed my camera and tried to capture the beauty of the waves on that day. Above: Omaezaki, Shizuoka, has one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen. This photo was shot after a classic surfing day. When I saw the guys leaving the water, crossing the sun line, the composition and atmosphere reminded me of “The Endless Summer” movie poster. Pedro Gomes is an Omaezaki-based Brazilian surf photographer who has lived in Japan for 13 years. He regularly travels the globe chasing waves and the world's top surfers from Bali to Hawaii to Brazil and back to Japan. His work is currently featured in the Japan edition of The Surfer's Journal (Vol. 4.2). To see more of his work visit www.pedrogomes.com 10 T R AV E L E R ザ・サーフ ァ ーズ・ ジ ャ ーナルを 定期購読しよ う ！ 創刊号 1.1 （ 通 常￥1 1 , 4 0 0 ） 1 冊：1 , 5 0 0 円 ※ 税 抜き価 格 ￥9 , 0 0 0 1年6冊分 ￥1 6 , 8 0 0 ※ 税 抜き価 格 2年12冊分 残部 僅少 第2号 1.2 ○“天才” ジム ・ フ ィ リ ッ プス の素顔 ○ジ ュ リアン ・ ウィ ルソンと その家族 ○ 60年代サーフ ・ フ ァ ンの アナログ ・ ス トー リ ー 他 （ 通 常￥2 2 , 8 0 0 ） 1 冊：1 , 4 0 0 円 ○ 変革の申し子 トニー ・アルバ ○マ ー テ ィ ン ・ ポ ッ タ ーの 半生と その時代 ○ スティ ーブ ・ リスの フ ィ ッ シ ュ物語 他 第3号 1.3 ○ 名匠 ： タイラー ・ハジキアン ○ 南アフ リカの ゴッ ドフ ァ ーザー ○ ニュ ージ ャ ージー ・サーフの 手引き 他 第4号 1.4 ○ ピーター ・ トロイの 失われた旅行記 ○ 思考を変えろ ̶リ ー ・ クロウの半生 ○ ポール・ ウィ ツィ グの 3作品 他 第5号 1.5 ○ ビッ グウェ イブの 新しい時代 ○ エクア ドルのバルサ天国 ○ ケアウラナ・ フ ァ ミ リ ー 物語 他 第6号 1.6 ○ ボブ ・ シモンズの 足跡をたど る ○ジ ョ ー ・ クイ ッ グ、 大いに語る ○ タイラー ・ ウォ ー レンの 明快な夢 他 第7号 2.1 ○ サンディ エゴの シ ェ イパーたち ○ ラスタ ビッチと6人の仲間 ○ マイク ・ ドイル、 バハで送る原始的な生活 他 第8号 2.2 ○ 歴史的な チョ ープー ・ セッ シ ョ ン ○ アラブの春、 モロッ コの秋 ○ 王様ディ ッ ク ・ デイルの 半生 他 第9号 2.3 ○ ロス ・ クラーク ・ ジ ョ ーンズ ○ アラスカの海 ○ マイケル・ ピーターソン 探求 他 第10号 2.4 ○ エディ ・アイカウの 伝記映画 ○ モー メ ンタム世代再考 ○ 70年代、南太平洋に おける旅の記憶 他 第11号 2.5 ○ イエメ ンの サーフ ・ア ドベンチャ ー ○ バーニー ・ベイカーの 裏庭で ○ マーク ・ リチャ ーズの イ ンタ ビュ ー 他 第12号 2.6 ○ トム ・ ブレイクの生涯 ○ ケリ ーのマーシ ャル諸島 アタ ッ ク ○ 元祖パンク ・サーフ ァ ー、 シ ドの半生 他 第13号 3.1 ○ トニー ・ エルザリ ン トンの 半生 ○ コール・ ク リステンセンの 日々 ○タ ッ ク ・ カワハラ と マリ ブ ・サーフボー ド 他 第14号 3.2 ○ ガーの本 ○ スピー ドの黄金比 ○ わが師、 ラスティ ・ ミ ラー 他 第15号 3.3 ○ モザンビークの 極上サン ドバー ○ マルチアーティ ス ト、 西岡昌典の半生 ○ オーシ ャ ン ・ ビーチの 完璧な4日間 他 第16号 3.4 ○ トム ・ カレンの 北アフ リカ旅行記 ○ カクタスと呼ばれた不毛の 砂漠の開拓史 ○ 1976年の ノ ースシ ョア日記 他 第17号 3.5 ○ 最新のベス トシ ョ ッ ト ・ セッ シ ョ ン ○ 海、波を描く ラン ・ オル トナーの世界観 ○ サーフ ィ ン界の少数民族、 足ヒ レ族物語 他 第18号 3.6 ○ジ ョ ン ・ローズ、水と波の 物語 ○ オース トラ リアにおける デュ ークの歴史秘話 ○ 南ポリ ネシアの波を俯瞰す る、 ベン ・ ソワー ド作品集 他 第19号 4.1 ○ タイ ・ スティ ッ ク ○ クラーク ・ フ ォ ーム 誕生秘話 ○ あえて傍流をいく 6人の クラフ トマンの肖像 他 第20号 4.2 ○ 日本版ポー トフ ォ リオ、 ペ ドロ・ ゴメス ○フ ァ ンディ湾の伝説のボア ちょうせきは （潮汐波） を乗る ○ マイア ミ ー “サウスビーチ ・ パンプ” に愛を込めて 他 第21号 4.3 最新 号 ○ 鎌倉の隠れ里、 小坪ス トー リ ー ○ オッキー、 コング、 カレン、 イ ン ド洋に浮かぶ ○ 永遠のサーフアニメ、 “マーフ ィ ー” 他 in Com g So on! 第22号 4.4 （2014年10月10日発売予定） i Com ng S oon ! 第23号 4.5 （2014年12月10日発売予定） i Com ng S oon ! 第24号 4.6 （2015年2月10日発売予定） i Com ng S oon ! 第25号 5.1 （2015年4月10日発売予定） i Com ng S oon ! 第26号 5.2 （2015年6 月10日発売予定） 各巻 ¥1,900 （税抜き） お申し込み （定期購読・バックナンバー） ：w w w. sur fer s jour na l . jp BEER BUZZ By Justin Stein Oregon Beers Blazing a Trail to Japan f pressed to choose one U.S. state to represent the American craft beer revolution, Oregon would be the obvious choice. With about 1% of the U.S. population, but 6% of the breweries, Oregon makes more craft beer per capita than anywhere. Portland has more breweries than any other city on the planet, and craft beer currently enjoys 40 % market share as opposed to 7% nationwide and less than 1% in Japan. Why did this Pacific Northwest state become the model for the ever-growing American craft beer industry? First, like sake, beer is mostly water, and brewers want tasty, soft water (i.e., low mineral content) as a stage on which to perform their magic. Next, the flavors of American west coast beers tend to be driven by hops. Oregon is second only to its northern neighbor, Washington, in terms of U.S. hop production. Portland is within a three-hour drive of about one-quarter of the world’s hop production and Oregon State University’s hop research program has developed many new varieties, including the ubiquitous Cascade hops. Finally, Oregon has supportive consumers; nearly half of draft beer consumed is produced in state. T h a n k s t o t he f or w a r d thinking Phred Kaufman of Ezo Beer in Hok kaido, Oregon’s Rogue Ales was the first American craft beer to be imported in Japan. Since 1993, Phred has been importing beer brewed and bottled by Rogue, including a line of tasty ales brewed specifically for Ezo and designed by Rogue’s longtime brewmaster John Maier. Recently, Phred has also been bringing in a number of excellent smallto-mid-sized Oregon breweries, some difficult to find even in the U.S. Located in Ashland, Caldera Brewing Company has been making beer since 1997 and were the first west coast craft brewer to can their beer (in 2005). Modern cans impart no metallic taste if the beer is poured into a glass, while keeping it fresh longer than bottles. Caldera’s tasty lineup of canned beers includes their excellent IPA, which adds a bit of tropical fruit flavor with the addition of Citra hops to the mix. They also produce a line of 22- oz . bot t les, i nclud i ng the complex Mogli, an imperial porter brewed with liquid chocolate and aged on bourbon- I Specializing in Resort Properties in Niseko Hanazono and Hakuba's Wadano Area FIND YOUR PERFECT GETAWAY! We provide real estate expertise and bilingual assistance for finding your ideal resort property. Phone: 03-3556-8887 email@example.com www.yamate-homes.co.jp soaked oak spirals, and the Hop Hash IPA, made using pure hop lupulin scraped from hop pelletizing lines. Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) brews with sustainability in mind. Their brewery and two Portland brewpubs include numerous energy conserving features, while reducing waste. They source locally produced, third party-certified organic ingredients and purchase offsets for both their carbon and water footprints. Founder and brewmaster Christian Ettinger’s decision to distribute to Japan was influenced by “backhaul” ships often returning to Asia nearly empty from the U.S. making their carbon footprint across the Pacific comparable to trucking beer to Southern California. HUB’s beers are rich and flavorful, whether it ’s the Organic Sur vival 7-Grain Stout, brewed w ith organic coffee from Por tland’s famous Stumptown Coffee, or the Organic Rise Up Red, generously hopped with Centennial and Cascade, and awarded gold at the Great American Beer Fest. Wor t hy Brew i ng Company is a relative newcomer, one of 18 breweries to open in Bend (pop. 79,000) in the last three years. They’ve been making a splash in Oregon’s somewhat crowded beer scene. Indeed, a beer writer for The Oregonian described their IPA as “Best. IPA. Ever.” Part of Worthy IPA’s great flavor comes from their partnership with Indie Hops in the Willamette Valley, although they also have a hop yard and hop research greenhouse right at the brewery. Worthy is sending its canned lineup to Japan, including a stout called Lights Out, brewed with vanilla beans. Worthy’s CEO Chris Hodge says Ezo is a great partner, ordering in small quantities and pre-selling orders to keep the beer as fresh as possible. It’s a good time to be a craft beer drinker in Japan. In addition to terrific domestic microbreweries, we are one of the only places in the world to get these amazing Oregon brews. SUMMER BEER CALENDAR July 2-6, Belgian Beer Weekend Yokohama July 10-13, Belgian Beer Weekend Sendai July 11-21, Toyosu Oktoberfest, Tokyo July 19-21, BeerFes Osaka Aug. 1-2, Nippon Craft Beer Festival, Tokyo Aug. 2-3, BeerFes Nagoya Sept. 4-15, Belgian Beer Weekend Tokyo Sept. 13-15, BeerFes Yokohama 12 T R AV E L E R By Bryan Harrell Hakkaisan Beer Niigata Prefecture 新潟県 AMERICAN CRAFT BEER bottle shop & tasting room FRESH FROM THE BREWERY huge variety of bottles 8 rotating taps brewery merchandise & american food Dine in Take out Cold SHIPPING WE DELIVER ALL OVER JAPAN Order online at: WWW.antenna-america.com A s microbrewing in Japan enters its third decade next year, it is surprising that so many brewers of excellent sake are not entering the market with good beer. Hakkaisan, a producer of premium sake, is a notable exception, having produced its first beer in late 1998. The sake brewed by Hakkaisan is known for its clean balance and solid quality, typical traits of Niigata Prefecture, one of the most famous and well-liked prefectures for Japan’s native drink. These same characteristics are also shared by the beer crafted at Hakkaisan. While microbrews in Japan often feature strong flavors, striking hopping levels and high alcohol, Hakkaisan beers are impressive in their smooth drinkability and understated nature, making them great session beers. All are a modest 5% alcohol, with their Izumi Pilsner and Weizen the most popular, followed by a tangy Alt. They also brew a dark Porter which is only available from October to March. This one is smooth with a rich, malty taste, and certainly worth watching for. Note the Alt, Weizen and Porter are available in 330-ml. and 500-ml. bottles. Hakkaisan’s Izumi Village in Niigata’s Uonuma City is perhaps the best place to enjoy their beer. Note their Pilsener is only available here and on draft. The village complex has a casual Italian restaurant, Gozzo, with a wood-fired pizza oven, along with a small bakery with a large assortment of breads, a large terrace and the brewery itself. Brewery tours are not available to the public. Visit the Hakkaisan website to find out where to drink their fine beer throughout Japan. 30 10 1998 330ml 500ml 3 GOZZO 5% Hakkaisan Brewery Phone: (025) 775-3836 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) Web: www.hakkaisan.co.jp Hakkaisan Izumi Village 564-1 Izumi, Minami Uonuma-shi, Niigata-ken 949-7114 949-7114 564-1 Phone: (025) 775-3939; Fax: (025) 775-3739 Open: 10:30 am – 10:00 pm daily (April to November) December to March: Closed Thursdays. 4 11 12 3 Web: www.izumivillage.jp While the website is only in Japanese, it contains detailed information on all facilities. EVERYDAY OPEN yokohama, Japan 045-315-5228 5 MIN FROM JR KANNAI 関内 ST. facebook.com/antennaamerica twitter.com/antennaamerica SUMMER 2014 13 GUIDE LINES OKUTAMA CANYONS Standing on the top of Mt. Hinode just before sunrise, you can clearly make out the flickering lights of Tokyo Tower and Sky Tree. Below you, the clear waters of the Tama River, playground for many of Japan’s top kayakers, flows down into the Kanto Plain. You can follow the river on a bicycle all the way to where it empties into the Pacific near Haneda Airport. Those in the know eschew popular – and crowded – Mt. Takao for the more airy trails of Okutama in western Tokyo. From rock climbing and bouldering to hiking and hot springs, Okutama has it all. Canyons, the outdoor company from Minakami, which has pioneered canyoning in Japan, has had an eye on Okutama for some time. “I first went to check out the area about 13 years ago, and it always was stuck in the back of my mind,” says Canyons founder and CEO Mike Harris. Canyons has opened a beautiful new riverside base. Sitting on the open-air deck after an exciting day exploring local canyons, you’ll find it hard to believe you are still actually in Tokyo. The rafting on the Tama River is fairly mellow, but as Mike says, there are some great canyoning courses hidden in the mountains. Check out their new adventure courses, which include full-day options. “Okutama has more activities popping up every year and, with it being so close to downtown Tokyo, it is the perfect introduction to adventure tourism for people living there,” he adds. Frugal travelers will love that fact it costs less than ¥1,000 from central Tokyo. The best way to Okutama is the direct Holiday Express train that departs Shinjuku at 7:44 a.m. each Saturday and gets you to Okutama Station in 90 minutes. Other trains require a transfer, usually in Ome, and take a bit longer. For details visit http://canyons.jp/en/ areas/okutama/canyons-okutama SHONAN CHIGASAKI PRO Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP) is coming to Japan in a big way. The Waterman League has announced the launch of the Shonan Chigasaki Pro, taking place in the beautiful coastal town of Chigasaki in Kanagawa. With SUP thriving in Japan, the organizers are expecting a big turnout for their first foray into Asia and have hopes of creating a World Series in Japan. The event will take place Aug. 15-17. For details visit www.watermanleague.com. SUMIDA RIVER FIREWORKS Dating back to the Edo Period, this is Tokyo’s largest (in number) hanabi with more than 20,000 fireworks. Nearly 100,000 people come to enjoy the grand display along the Sumida River near Asakusa Station. Date: July 26 EARTH CELEBRATION ‘14 Each year in August a sleepy island, once a prison for political dissidents, off the coast of Niigata awakens to the sounds of drums. Sado Island is the home of Kodo, the internationally acclaimed percussion group, and the Earth Celebration is its festival of sounds and spirits, when they invite guests from home and abroad to collaborate in an unbelievably beautiful setting. This year’s celebration takes place Aug. 22-24. For details visit www.kodo.or.jp TOKYO BAY FIREWORKS The Tokyo Bay Fireworks feature about 12,000 fireworks launched from barges in the bay. Harumi Park, a 15-minute walk from Toyosu Station, is a great place to watch, as is the Odaiba area. Note the Rainbow Bridge is closed to pedestrians during the festivities. Date: Aug. 10 By Joan Bailey MARKET WATCH Oiso Market A lthough just three years old, the Oiso Market is as vibrant and bustling as its more established counterparts elsewhere in the country. Local growers, producers and fishermen are joined by a diverse array of artisans, musicians and performing artists to create a venue full of fun, tasty food and entertainment. Held on the third Sunday of each month at the Oiso port, the Oiso Market is a community and gastronomical event extraordinaire. “We started with just 16 vendors and very few guests,” said Takuya Shioya, a member of Seisho Asobukai, a local non-profit focused on farming and community that helped found the market. Today, Shioya is one of more than 150 vendors. Intended to showcase the wonders of the Shonan region of Kanagawa Prefecture, the market does that and more. Tables groan with different items as the seasons pass, each month offering something new. Spring means seedlings, the last of the winter greens and the first of the sansai (mountain vegetables) for the year. Fresh heirloom and modern varieties of vegetables and citrus abound in summer, and locally grown rice is autumn's centerpiece. Lee Utsumi ventures over from Chigasaki year-round with her handmade breads as does Kazuhiro Ukegawa of La Terra, a small company that transforms local produce into gem-colored jams and tangy pickles. Craft beer aficionados will find Atsugi's Sankt Gallen Brewery on hand with their oh-sosippable craft brews, while Shoya’s table offers samples of the group’s most delicious umeshu (plum wine). Nearly 15 food trucks offer a diverse menu of scrumptious treats which include deep fried curry, anko (sweet bean paste), pizza-stuffed dorayaki (usually anko sandwiched between two pancakes), Indian curry, Yaad Foods’ spicy jerk chicken and Mexican. The ramen truck serves up steamy noodles in shoyu, miso or shio broth or the zippy summer bowl of cold hiyashichuka. Musical performances in the grassy area entertain crowds settled while smaller stages scattered among the vendors feature individual singers, musicians and artists. (Keep an eye out for the juggler’s flaming torches.) In July, August and September, Oiso Market becomes a festive evening affair that takes advantage of cooler temperatures and ocean breezes. A much smaller version appears Saturdays in the port building from 10 a.m. until noon. OISO MARKET Third Sunday of each month from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. OISO SUMMER NIGHT MARKET Third Sunday of each month from 5 to 9 p.m. OISO WEEKLY MARKET Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon at Oiso Port Building 14 T R AV E L E R SUMMER ADVENTURES OKUTAMA KAYAKING While kayaking through the beautiful upper reaches of the Tama River and drifting near a picturesque riverside sake brewery, you won’t believe you are still in Tokyo. Location: Okutama, Tokyo Dates: July 26 & Aug. 9 SUMMER SPLASH ADVENTURE WEEKEND IN MINAKAMI Minakami is the Mecca of adventure in Honshu. The traditional hot spring town north of Tokyo offers some of the best white water rafting and canyoning around, and the Summer Splash weekend is the biggest weekend of the season. Web: www.outdoorjapan.com/summersplash Location: Minakami, Gunma Date: Sept. 6 ASHIKAGA FIREWORKS SUMMER FESTA This fireworks festival runs non-stop for an hour and a half with more than 20,000 fireworks exploding in the sky. There are literally hundreds of food and drink stalls set up outside as thousands of spectators revel in the spectacular summer season. Location: Ashikaga, Tochigi Date: Aug. 2 KOZUSHIMA ISLAND GETAWAY Escape to a beautiful sub-tropical island in Tokyo? That’s right; Kozu Island is part of Tokyo’s Izu Islands and makes for an amazing getaway. Enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, surfing, platform diving, hiking, BBQ or just relaxing on the beach in the sun. Location: Kozushima, Tokyo Date: Sept. 12-15 OZE EARLY AUTUMN HIKE The autumn colors come earlier in Oze National Park. A stunning array of oranges, reds and yellows complement the scene with dozens of small lakes to explore. Location: Oze, Gunma Date: Sept. 27 To find out more about group tours to these summer adventures and other great destinations, visit the Tokyo Snow & Outdoor Club. Web: www.tokyosnowclub.com in Minakami Adventure Weekend & Mountain Music Festival Sept. 6, 2014 at Canyons Alpine Lodge www.outdoorjapan.com/summersplash SUMMER 2014 15 g n i l c y C Summer Overall it is a fun little park and getting better by the day, as they now have a dedicated trail builder doing wonderful things to the mountain. Rental bikes are available here; I was not too impressed with the quality but they were good enough for an enjoyable day. Web: http://summer.fujiten.net/pc/ Wing Hills MTB Park Wing Hills is the closest option for Nagoyabased riders, and the trail builders have been busy adding berms and small jumps since I last visited there. A gondola serves two technical trails about three kilometers long, and for beginners they have a shuttle service that accesses a super fun, easy two-kilometer trail. Rental bikes are available, although I wasn’t too impressed with their maintenance the last time I visited, but I’ve been told it has been remedied now. Web: http://winghills.net/green/ Honshu MTB Parks By Paul Chetwynd O ver the last three decades mountain biking has slowly been developing in Japan. I’ve witnessed this first-hand for the past 20 years on racing and guiding tours. Yet for a country full of mountains and ski resorts, it is surprising to find so few bike parks here. Recently a few ski areas around Honshu have started developing MTB trails, doing more than putting down a few flags on their ski runs. rollers on which to play and always puts a smile on my face. I see people on all sorts of bikes here; my personal preference is my full-on DH rig, as it feels much smoother and safer over the braking bumps and ruts that form on the trails. Good rental bikes and protective gear is available, and they have package deals for a full day of adventure. Web: www.fujimipanorama.com/mtb/ Fukui Izumi MTB Park The most popular for Kansai-based riders and, if I lived a bit closer, I might spend more time playing on the Mad Max trails here. Developed by two hardcore riders, Fukui Izumi has forced other parks to pick up their game. The trails are on the ski resort, but shuttle service is available instead of lifts. The ski area is a bit hard to get to, but once you are there it is well worth the effort. It is BYOB here (bring your own bike), and make sure you have food and drinks for the day and a shelter to hide from the sun on hot days. Fujimi Panorama MTB Park Panorama has long been considered the best park here in Japan, and personally I think it still is, although living 20 minutes away might make me a bit biased. A couple hours from Tokyo by car or train makes it possible for a day’s trip. A gondola accesses three trails with more than 700 meters of vertical downhill on which to play, by far the longest trails in Japan. A Course is the shortest at 4.2 kilometers and, if you like speed, this trail is for you. B Course is the most technical with 4.8 kilometers of roots, drops and rocks through which to work on your descent. C Course is seven kilometers long and is the easiest way down. It has lots of berms and small Fujiten MTB Park Fujiten is the closest park to Tokyo and is located on the base of Mt, Fuji. As of now they have six trails open. A single lift provides access to the mountain bike trails. A run down takes about four or five minutes depending upon your ability. None of the courses are super technical; the corners are nicely “bermed” and there are some jumps on which to play along the way. I rode my All Mountain bike with 150 mm. of suspension travel and found it just right for these trails. Compared to other parks I have ridden, I found the volcanic soil drains very well and even on a rainy day the ground was not that muddy. In fully dry conditions the courses are fast and traction good. Nozawa Onsen MTB Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort is new to the MTB scene, but there are some keen locals getting things started. The Nagasaka Gondola is open from July 12 to Aug. 31 accessing single-track trails and a beginner course that follows the ski slope. There is a Strider event for kids on Aug. 3 and a Run & Bike race Aug. 9-10. Downhill, all-mountain bikes and kid's bikes can be rented at the base of Nagasaka Gondola through the local ski and bike shop Compass House. Nozawa Hospitality runs road tours and has a fleet of high-end road bikes available for hire. Web: www.nozawaski.com/summer2014/gondola/ index.php Paul Chetwynd is originally from North Vancouver, British Columbia. He raced professionally in Japan for more than 10 years in both cross-country and downhill disciplines as well as elite road races. He now runs Freeride Adventures, a bike tour company in Nagano offering one-day or multi-day tours, and tries to include a triathlon or MTB race at least once a year to keep the flame burning. Web: www.freerideadventuresjpn.com 16 T R AV E L E R Photo by Daiki Takahashi banked turns and great scenery. A selection of the latest premium mountain bikes is also available to rent. The park is open until Oct. 19. Web: www.facebook.com/RusutsuBikePark Kamui Ski Links MTB Park Kamui Ski Links is opening a new MTB Park for 2014 including three short tracks and lots of variety with one intermediate bike park-style trail, one intermediate single trail through the woods and one for the beginners. Developments are planed to open a longer trail from the top of the gondola for 2015. No rental bikes are available, but you can pre-book a bike through Rhythm Cycles. Opens July 5. Web: www.kamui-skilinks.com Photo by Glenn Claydon Photography NISEKO CYCLING CALENDAR JULY 13: NISEKO NATURE RIDE, NISEKO CLASSIC AND SUN SPORTS Niseko Nature Ride is a road race with multiple length races; Niseko Classic is a road race with 70-km. and 140-km. races; Sun Sports is a family event hosted by Cezar from Niseko Pizza featuring cycling activities, bouncy castle golf, music and delicious food. JULY 19: GRAND HIRAFU MTB PARK OPENING DAY The MTB Park is in its third year of operation and will see new trails and skills areas for 2014. AUG. 2-3: HANAZONO HILL CLIMB One of the biggest cycling events of the summer, the “Race to the Top” differs from other road races in that it is focused on climbing rather than endurance. AUG. 24: IRON MAN JAPAN Japan’s Iron Man is based at nearby Lake Toya. Spectators can watch the world’s top triathletes battle on the gruelling Iron Man course as they roll through Niseko. Local Iron Man competitor Jess Ripper runs Niseko Multisport (www. nisekomultisport.com), which provides training and camps for triathletes in Niseko. AUG. 31-SEPT. 6 & SEPT. 7-13: TOUR DU NORD Experience riding the best roads in Asia followed by a soothing onsen and fresh Hokkaido seafood. Tours average 80-100 kms. a day. SEPT. 13-15: TOUR DE HOKKAIDO Part of the UCI Asia Tour, this event is a great way to see some awesome road racing form either in the saddle or as a spectator in Niseko. Niseko Cycling Scene By Andy Cummings hen people talk about Niseko the focus is always on the world-class skiing. But if you’ve enjoyed Niseko in winter, you’ll love it in summer. The air is clean, the food fresh and the streets and mountains perfect for cycling. There is something for everyone, from smooth, open roads and scenic cycling paths to rolling crosscountry trails and exhilarating downhill tracks. There are many road cycling events as well as a growing MTB scene. Ground zero for cycling in Niseko is Rhythm Cycles. Now in its third year, the company began as a collaboration between Rhythm Snowsports and Groove Cycles. The shop has been instrumental in promoting MTB riding in the area, with staff putting in countless hours building and maintaining trails and galvanizing support from local businesses supporting cycling in Niseko. Rhythm Cycles offers rentals, sales tours and workshops. Stop by the shop for the latest info on what’s happening or their website to check out the full cycling calendar. Web: www.nisekocycles.com W workout. You’ll also find an excellent crosscountry track that leads to Niseko Village and back. Lift tickets for the park are available through Rhythm Cycles for ¥1,000 a run, ¥2,500 for three hours and ¥3,500 for six hours. A season pass is also available for ¥20,000. Web: http://nisekocycles.com/grand-hirafumountain-bike-park/ Niseko Village Pure Park Access to Niseko Village is possible via the cross county trail at the base of the Hirafu MTB Park as well as by car. Among other activities, they have a great cross-country trail and a skills area. This is an awesome place to experience MTB for the first time. Rental bikes are available. Web: www.niseko-village.com/ja/summer/index. html Grand Hirafu MTB Park This largest mountain bike park in Hokkaido offers a lift-accessed three-kilometer downhill track, which drops about 500 meters in altitude. The trail has been given a major overhaul this year, making it longer, more enjoyable and easier to ride. The dual slalom course is located at the base of the mountain and doesn't require a lift ticket. It’s a great place to hone your skills or simply prove who is fastest. The skills park is next to the dual slalom track and gives riders the chance to try various terrain they might find on a downhill course in a safe environment. There are jumps, rollers, bridges and training lines. The pump track, located across the road from the skills park, is where you can learn how to use your body weight to your advantage as you pump around the circuit, and it’s a great Hanazono MTB Park Hanazono has a large cross-country loop within the resort as well as a small skills area. Rental bikes are available. Web: www.hanazononiseko.com/ja/summer/ index.html Rusutsu Resort MTB Park Established in 2013, Rusutsu Mountain Bike Park has a growing network of trails suitable for all levels of riders. Follow a winding trail through the forest, it is filled with flowing CYCLING JAPAN READER PHOTO Congrats to Reader Anthony Betancourt who sent in a cycling photo from Iwakuni, Yamaguchi. Anthony will receive a copy of the 2014 Cycling Japan Calendar. SUMMER 2014 17 18 T R AV E L E R Cycling Japan: A JOURNEY TO EXPERIENCE THE LOCAL LIFE ROUTE By Takashi Niwa Translated by Sakae Sugahara Yatsugatake # 23 NAGANO PREFECTURE GIFU PREFECTURE YAMANASHI PREFECTURE AKIHA KAIDO Mt. Fuji From the Roof of Japan to the Pacific Ocean AICHI PREFECTURE Okazaki Hamamatsu SHIZUOKA PREFECTURE Shizuoka Toyohashi The route stretches 270 kilometers from Chino to Hamamatsu. The scenery along the way varies from the distant high mountains through idyllic mountain villages and riverside roads and finally to the Pacific Ocean. 270 The route is open from late April to November. The mountain passes are closed for winter. In the summer, you can enjoy pedaling amidst rugged alpine peaks, some over 3,000 meters, with bare rock hillsides. In May through June snow lingers on the mountaintops, and in late October the view of the first snowfall is spectacular. 4 10 11 3,000m 5 6 T he Akiha Kaido runs from Chino City in southern Nagano down to Shizuoka Prefecture. The medieval pilgrimage route goes over six mountain passes, offering panoramic views of Yatsugatake and the mountains of the Central and Southern Alps. The biggest climb is from Oshika Village to Jizo Pass and up to Shirabiso Pass, with an elevation gain of almost 1,200 meters. It can get quite chilly at dawn and dusk during this stretch, even in summer. Once in Shizuoka Prefecture, the easiest path is cycling down along the Tenryu River; however the route over Yamazumi Pass and down along the Keta River is highly recommended. The river’s pristine water, as well as fresh green leaves in spring or summer and the autumn colors, is breathtaking. You’ll pass the head shrine of the Akiha Shinto sect, where many come to worship the deity. 3,000m 6 1,200m Takashi Niwa actively organizes guided tours around the world, from the back alleys of Tokyo to remote villages in Tibet. He has authored many books including “Otona no Tame no Jitensha Nyūmon” (Nihon Keizai Shinbun Shuppansha). His company, Niwa Cycling Tours (www.ncycling.com) has released its 2014 calendar full of images of his tours in Japan and around the world. It is available for purchase (¥1,050 / includes shipping in Japan). You can order at: http://ncycling01.sblo.jp/article/78003609.html WAY! GIVEA www.ncycling.com ( ) Three copies of the 2014 calendar are available to readers who send in photos of cycling in Japan. Send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org SUMMER 2014 19 ON THE RUN By Robert Self Big Summer Runs Near Tokyo T okyo’s local mountains are lovely in spring, but summer is the time to go alpine. Yamanashi Prefecture is the place for day runs with big views, cloud-piercing peaks and a dose of adventure in all of its connotations. Here are four courses in and around Yamanashi and southern Nagano that can, theoretically, be done in a day-trip from Tokyo. Two of the courses, Daibosatsu and Kentokuzan, are intermediate courses, good for getting some running experience in a challenging low-alpine environment. They are lovely destinations in their own right. Yatsugatake and the Houzan Ridge are true alpine runs. A word on safety. “Can be done in a day” does not mean “should be done in a day.” Don’t lock into the principle of knocking off Yatsugatake or Houzan in one day. Weather can deteriorate in a hurry at this altitude, and course errors and fatigue can turn your focus on a day run into a potentially risky endeavor. Be prepared to adapt as conditions dictate; stay at one of the high huts or to abort your run entirely if necessary, and bring taxi money just in case. The Daibosatsu Ridge : Very few hikers actually experience much of Daibosatsu, since they lock into the simple loop hike starting from the lower bus stop at Daibosatsu Touzan Guchi . There are buses from Enzan Station on the Chuo Line. More frequently these day hikers take a small alpine shuttle bus from the bus stop to the 1,580-meter Kaminikawa Pass from where the beautiful summit ridge is just a one-hour hike away. For more hardy trail runners, the popular summit ridge is where the fun begins. After visiting the not-terribly-interesting summit itself, head directly south toward Ishimaru Pass, Kuroyama and, finally, Yunozawa Pass. Enjoy several hours of dramatic views, open grassland and likely not a soul in sight. Fuji looms just in front through large parts of the run which alternates between grassland and forest. Hikers seem to magically disappear from Ishimaru Pass. There are numerous descent courses toward the bus line to the west from Yunozawa and beyond. 20 T R AV E L E R Address Nozawa Kentokusan deserves Kentokusan more attention. It delivers a high degree of alpine thrill with little investment of time and money. From Enzan Station, take a bus or taxi to Kentokuzan Touzan Guchi . From there, the figure-eight shaped course goes steeply upward. Alpine flowers make this an interesting place to be in July and August. Near the 2,000-meter summit there is a thrilling series of nearly vertical chains for clambering up the final highly exposed peak. Super fit runners can knock this off in four or five hours, but do take time to enjoy the summit which stretches into the low-alpine Aether. Yatsugatake : Most of this run is actually in Nagano Prefecture. From Chino Station in southern Nagano, take the earliest bus possible to Minotoguchi. By far the best running course is the ascent up the Kitazawa route, which climbs and traverses the major peaks of Iodake, Yokodake and Akadake, and is just possible in a day. All of the summit ridge is in the alpine zone at 2,700 to 2,900 meters, and things can get wild in a hurry. The author has experienced up-close lightning hitting the summit peak, hail storms the size of golf balls, flooding that made the mountain flow like melted chocolate, and bright sunshine… all in a two-hour stretch. At this elevation some runners will begin to feel the lack of oxygen. One friend with whom I ran the course two years ago claims to have no particular memory of the course due to oxygen deprivation. Akadake Hut is near the summit for food and safety, and I recommend using it as a matter of course, if not just to get one’s bearings. The best descent route is the Minami Sawa course after Akadake peak, but honestly it is not the world’s best descent run. Do not plan on much speed here due to shattered rock, gullies and roots. Most runners will not make the final bus back to Chino, so bring taxi money or plan on spending the night at Minoto. Housanzan : Perhaps no other route near Tokyo is as beloved among advanced runners as the Housanzan Ridge with its amazing rock formations that remind Japanese of statues of Yakushi, Kannon and Jizo. It is tremendously runnable along its ridge, with crushed coral rock that would remind you of a tropical beach if it were not in an alpine zone at near 3,000 meters of elevation. Most runners completing this course will start at Yashajin Pass (bus from Kofu Station) and finish at Aoki Kousen, far to the west, requiring six to seven hours of running and climbing. The chances of making it there and back from Tokyo in a day using public transportation is near nil, so plan to sleep at either end if you would like to do this as a day run. In the summertime you are sure to pass and be passed by some of Japan’s top runners. But why rush on such a marvelous alpine course? The views to Kita-dake, Japan’s second highest peak, and Mt. Kaikoma’s white pyramid are breathtaking. Your shutter finger may become as tired as your legs before the long descent through Dondoko-sawa which has some of Japan’s largest waterfalls and is a destination in its own right. Be safe, touch the sky, and be back with some incredible alpine memories. Kawamotoya Kawamotoya’s Onsen new!~ The View Hotel’s Onsen 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 www.nozawahospitality.com email@example.com Japan : +81 (0)269 85 2064 Singapore : +65 6412 0128 Book Now: SUMMER 2014 21 TRAIL M A E R T S : D N BRA BEHIND THE TALKING FLY h t i W Eiji Hamachi By Abdel Ibrahim 22 T R AV E L E R I t’s uncommon that I meet someone who, from a young age, had a clear idea of what he or she loves to do and turned that passion into a successful business. Eiji Hamachi, founder and president of CAPS, is one of these rare souls. I could tell right off he was first and foremost an avid fisherman, explorer and all-around lover of the outdoors. Hamachi started his business back in the ’80s as a fishing equipment importer and later developer. The company has since grown, expanding into a multi-faceted outdoor goods business. These days a large portion of his business is through his brand Stream Trail and the design, manufacturing and distribution of high-quality waterproof bags and accessories. His designs emphasize simplicity, utility and solid construction, above all else. Before heading over to his Tokyo showroom in Jiyugaoka, I had seen a few of them on the shoulders of light tackle sport anglers poking around the canals and seashore areas in Kanto, but also on hikers, campers and even cyclists. The simplicity of the designs gives them a lot of versatility for use across all outdoors pursuits. Today, in addition to Stream Trail, CAPS brands include Vision Fly Fishing, Izumi Lures and Angler’s House, which offer a variety of tackle and accessories. They also began publishing their own web magazine, Stamps, which highlights the activities and adventures of enthusiasts and their brand ambassadors. Our conversation meandered through all kinds of fishingrelated subjects. I was impressed by his knowledge of a wide variety of fishing genres—and not just fly-fishing, his main pursuit. We could have talked into the wee hours of the morning about the places he’s wet a line. According to Hamachi, fly-fishing in Japan hasn’t taken off to the extent it has in the west, but there is an avid group of enthusiasts who push and define the boundaries of the sport in Japan and overseas. Although limited in scope, one of the interesting outcomes of Japan’s fly fishing movement has been a proliferation of some of the highest quality flytying materials as well as line and tippet material. Hamachi says a good portion of these products is exported overseas to the best fly-tiers in the world. It makes CAPS 1980 Stream Trail Stream Trail CAPS Stream Trail Vision Fly Stamps Fishing Izumi Lures Angler s House SUMMER 2014 23 sense, considering how popular Japanese lure fishing tackle has become in the last decade or so. There are numerous hatchery trout streams all over the country that are perfect for beginners, and for saltwater enthusiasts there's always world class sea bass and rockfish angling in Tokyo Bay, perfect for fly casting. Up north in Tohoku and Hokkaido, there are many rivers with native fish for the taking during the warmer months. The last frontier for Japanese fly-fishing seems to be blue water fly casting for pelagics such as tuna and dorado. This is by no means impossible, but fewer skippers are currently knowledgeable of, or up for, the special challenges that come when guiding fly anglers in open water. We made tentative plans to fish in Sagami Bay later this summer when the dorado bite is in full swing. Despite an uncertain business climate, Hamachi’s ventures seem to be humming steadily along. The company recently opened a spacious shop in Bangkok, Thailand, and is preparing to open or explore the possibilities of opening several other shops in the Southeast Asia region. In addition to fishermen, the company also sponsors artists and outdoor enthusiasts of activities such as caving, photography and cross-country cycling. I came away impressed with Hamachi, not only because of his business success, although things do seem to be looking up for his company, but also his zest for life and the open-minded approach he takes to everything he does. I hope some of those good vibes rub off on me when we hit the water this summer. ✤ ✤ TOKYO SHOWROOM / 2-5-2 Midorigaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-0034 CAPS / 2-5-2 2-12-19 Shinmori, Osaka Asahi-ku, Osaka-shi 535-0022 152-0034 Tel: 03-6421-4425 535-0022 Tel: 06-6955-2066 2-12-19 Web: www.capsjp.co.jp Stream Trail Outfitters Bangkok 66/2, Soi 2, Sukhumvit Road, Klong Toei, Bangkok Tel: +66-2-656-8811-2 CAPS Brands Stream Trail: www.streamtrail.net Izumi: www.izumi-fishing.jp Angler’s House: www.anglershouse.co.jp Stamps: http://stamps-magazine.com 24 T R AV E L E R SUMMER 2014 25 Festival 40日 の 濤 った怒 巡 を ィバル テ ス ・フェ ロック ど と う Daze By Aaron Jamieson A red pizza truck and a motley crew of out-of-work ski bums set out on a 40-day road trip around Japan where they battled the elements, thousands of kilometers of hot pavement, hot pizzas and hungry partiers at Japan’s top summer music festivals. 40 26 T R AV E L E R I t was a misty spring morning when the red pizza truck arrived in Niseko. The last of the snow was evaporating from shaded corners of the ski fields, and the sound of power tools echoed across empty farms. As the new season arrived in Hokkaido, a legacy was beginning. The red pizza truck, and the proprietor, Cezar Constantin, became a fixture in Niseko. A friendship between Cezar and me grew over time as did the plans for local events over many espressos. One day, in a mad fit of enthusiasm, an idea was born: a road trip to Japan’s top summer music festivals. A concrete plan developed for a 40-day mission, and it was time to find a crew. Cezar’s recruiting was devilish. He chose the most desperate, out-of-work ski bums lurking around Niseko and offered them the chance to earn some cash while on the “summer road trip of their lives.” Sure enough, it wasn’t long before our motley crew rolled out of Niseko in a circus-like convoy. Cezar and his wife Keiko, a yin-and-yang couple with an indefatigable can-do attitude, led the charge in the red pizza truck. Kent led the merry kitchen team that included Pops (Cezar’s dad), Tom, Murray, Dai, Eba, Watanabe, Waza, Tom and Dylan. Smooth-talking Chook and Jerrod would be the face men, out in front taking orders and working the crowd and the popular gelato fridge. The crew was eager, oblivious to the reality that awaited— spending 16 hours a day in a 50-degree pizza sauna, serenaded by the merry sounds of festival-goers having the time of their lives. I was recruited as the photographer to document the tour and escaped much of the “real work,” but I got a true behind-the-scenes feel for being cramped in a pizza van in the middle of summer in Japan. 40 50 16 SUMMER 2014 27 FUJI ROCK Naeba, Niigata If there’s a harsher baptism by fire than kicking things off at the biggest music festival in Asia, I can’t imagine what it is. After a late departure (engine failure, a car accident and a generally naive group of pizza boys the culprits), we rolled into Naeba and beheld the spectacle that is Fuji Rock. When we arrived, it was late and raining. Not the refreshing kind of rain that provides respite from the summer heat; this was a heavy rain intent on drowning you. We were two days in, had driven for 18 hours with a few hours’ sleep and were running on excitement, Red Bull and adrenaline. The rain tried its best to wash away our enthusiasm as we began assembling our mobile pizza shop. The “test run” in Hokkaido had gone perfectly. Replicating this in these challenging conditions was more difficult. The entire set-up was an engineering masterpiece when complete. Two enormous pizza ovens, three freezers, two fridges, a coffee machine and a gelato fridge all needed to fit into a set floor plan. A small scaffold was built on one side of the bus with a floating floor to lift the entire operation three feet off the ground. A heavy plastic tarpaulin was stretched tight, creating a canopy that would, in theory, drain away water. Scattered around a muddy parking lot, it appeared less impressive. We had less than 24 hours to be operational, and nothing seemed to fit together right. The clock was ticking before a steady stream of hungry festival-goers would descend upon us. Desperation is a great motivator. The crew worked most of the night, caught a couple of hours’ sleep and awoke soaking wet to some hungry Fuji Rockers. Fuji Rock is enormous. No other festival in Japan comes close in terms of size, number of spectators and sheer amount of music. Stages are spread out at the foot of Naeba Ski Resort like small villages linked by forest trails. Tents cling to the hillside campsite at steep angles, while below guests line up orderly for neatly organized rows of toilets. If it rains at Fuji Rock, and it usually does, trudging from one stage to the next in deep, sloppy mud can be treacherous without the proper footwear. When the sun breaks, people lounge on rocks along a creek that runs through the center of the festival like lizards. Farther down the valley, a gondola transports guests to stages higher up. Everything runs like clockwork, and music plays 24 hours a day if you look around. The first 100 or 200 pizzas were fun, but after that it was a hot, grueling routine. We closed the shutters on the pizza truck at 2 a.m., opening again at 7 for weary-eyed festivalgoers craving the infamous breakfast pizza: two soft-boiled eggs and two rashes of bacon on a half pizza dough. Served with a hot coffee or morning beer, this was breakfast of champions for thousands of Fuji Rockers and what sustained me most of the trip. ROCK IN JAPAN Hitachinaka, Ibaraki After surviving Fuji Rock, we lethargically broke down our camp (a 12-hour process), loaded the convoy and labored across Honshu to a small mountain village where we would rest for a day. The team showered, slept and then prepped. Dough was made, rolled and cut into pizza-ready balls, then frozen. Signs and scaffolds were chopped and cropped to fit the new set-up. We’d sold twice what we had planned at Fuji Rock, and we were now critically low on stock for Rock in Japan. Collecting what we could from the local shops, we replenished supplies and headed off to feed the fanatics. Rock in Japan is centered on a main stage area that spreads from wooded parkland to the ocean. Here rain was replaced by a chronic, life-sapping heat. The kind you do not want waking you up in your tent at 11 a.m. when you’ve overslept from a hangover. Set-up went relatively smoothly until security evicted us from the festival site at 10 p.m. We hadn’t had time to claim a campsite, so we trundled to the beach where we crashed beneath the stars until a rain shower woke us at 3 a.m. Hot, sandy and wet, Rock in Japan began. Bam! We hit the ground running. For two days, Rock in Japan is a super high-energy event complete with its own Ferris wheel and mini-theme park. It rocks from the moment the gates open until the closing act stage-dives into their own drum kits. This is big, loud, fist-pumping fun. The heaving crowd seemed to thrive in the incessant heat, and the lines at the pizza van were just as insistent. Where Fuji Rock hosts a multitude of international acts and subsequently draws a large portion of the foreign community, Rock in Japan is nearly as big with a mostly Japanese crowd. What it may lack in size it more than makes up for in volume. The stages can be heard from kilometers away, and when the headliners hit the main stage, the coordinated bobbing and bouncing in unison must be seen to be believed. The vibe was super friendly, bubbling with positive energy; it was one of the most polite rock festivals I’d witnessed. 28 T R AV E L E R Festival Daze 24 2 7 2 2 ROCK IN JAPAN 茨城県 ・ひたちなか市 12 ROCK IN JAPAN ROCK IN JAPAN 11 フジ ・ロック 新潟県 ・苗場 2 1 1 ROCK IN JAPAN 3 2 3 ROCK IN JAPAN 10 2 24 2 18 ROCK IN JAPAN SUMMER 2014 29 RISING SUN Otaru, Hokkaido After Rock in Japan, the crew and the truck looked as if they had been rolled in flour, covered with cheese and cooked in an oven. A sleep-deprived team slowly packed down as sweat streaks ran down dust-covered faces. The set-up had survived but was in need of repairs. The team was exhausted. We loaded the trucks and set out north on the long drive to Hokkaido and the biggest festival on the north island, Rising Sun. Being back on home soil brought renewed enthusiasm and determination. We made repairs and modifications, redesigned the layout for a quicker set-up-and-take-down and got rid of one supply truck. Rising Sun is Hokkaido’s main summer festival, and the stages rise to the occasion. The main stage is a musical monolith, while the secondary stages are impressive in their individuality, if not size. The festival is set in a wide-open field. A consistent haze of mist seems to hang in the sky, kicked up by tens of thousands of feet stamping the dry grass into a fine dust. “Hammockville” lies at the outskirts of one of the marquees, while another stage is adorned by enormous totem poles soaring well above the crowd. Wander farther past a psychedelic stage pulsating and glowing through the blackness, and you’ll drift into the chill-out zones. The music is a Japan-centric collection of bands with diversity and creativity in the collation. Revelers drift from the campsite to stages day and night, and just as things seem to slow down, fresh faces of day visitors re-ignite the crowd. We pumped out pizzas constantly without any sort of adherence to the normal breakfast, lunch and dinner routine. Rising Sun passed by in a blur and, when it finished, the exodus was swift, perhaps due to the desire for a shower or an onsen. It was a lonely feeling packing up the pizza van in a post-festival desert. A fine dust powder covered everything, including my camera gear. Almost a month on the road, and we were showing signs of serious wear-and-tear. It took five days to completely clean the trucks, vans and equipment. As we prepared for the final show, our team shrunk as Cezar assembled an elite strike force to re-pack the trucks, reload the freezers and head for the ferry at Tomakomai. ARABAKI ROCK Michinoku, Sendai We landed in Aomori at first light after an overnight ferry, now 32 days into the tour. The demands of the mission had far exceeded our expectations, yet tensions were kept in check as the end was now in sight. After the three massive festivals, Arabaki Rock was a dream. This eclectic festival sprawls from the forest where festival-goers meander beneath a tree-filled grove into fields of stages, a small food street and tents punctuated by a fullblown wrestling ring (complete with crazed wrestling teams and mechanical bulls). The more you explore, the less you understand how this festival was conceived. The setting, atmosphere and diverse collection of music and people made things interesting. From catchy punk rock to celebrity cover bands, the days drift into nights of fire twirling and small gatherings in the many multi-purpose tipis. 30 T R AV E L E R Festival Daze ROCK IN JAPAN ライジング ・サン 北海道 ・小樽 ROCK IN JAPA 1 5 仙台市 ・みちのく （荒吐ロック） ARABIKI ROCK 32 3 SUMMER 2014 31 Festival Daze Arabaki Rock demanded a consistent stream of pizzas produced at a reasonable speed, gelato through the warmest part of the day and beers in the evening. The challenges of the previous three festivals seemed to pave the way for a smooth final event. The four days drifted comfortably by, the crew getting ample rest in the cool, lush grass beneath the shade of the pizza truck. As the festival drew to a close, we finished the beer kegs while braking down the operation. We wrapped up on a high and woke up with a hangover. During the daze of the last 40 days, we had traveled more than 6,000 kilometers and pumped out more than 20,000 pizzas. When we pulled into Niseko, the cool, fresh air suggested the leaves would soon be turning. We couldn’t wait for a nice, relaxing dinner of anything but pizza. ✤ 4 40 6 2 ✤ Summer Music Calendar HAPPY FARM MUSIC FESTIVAL When: July 12-13 Location: Yamada Bokujo Yagai Ongakudo Kariyon Hall, Nagano Web: www.happyfarmmusicfestival.com ROCK IN JAPAN FESTIVAL Date: Aug. 2-3 & Aug. 9-10 Location: Kokuei Hitachi Kaihin Koen (Hitachi Seaside Park), Ibaraki Web: www.rijfes.jp WINDBLOW Date: Aug. 30-31 Location: Sagara Seaside Park, Makinohara, Shizuoka Web: www.windblow.jp ROKKO SUN MUSIC Date: July 12-13 Location: Rokkosan Country House, Hyogo Web: www.rokkosun-music.com PUNKAFOOLIC! BAYSIDE CRASH Date: Aug. 3 Location: Harumi Kyakusen Terminal, Tokyo Web: www.punkafoolic.com SUNSET LIVE 2014 Date: Sept. 5-7 Location: Keya Kaisuiyokujo, Fukuoka Web: www.sunsetlive-info.com NANO-MUGEN FES Date: July 12-13 Location: Yokohama Arena, Yokohama Web: www.nano-mugen.com MTV ZUSHI FES '14 Date: Aug. 8-10 Location: Rivera Zushi Marina, Kanagawa Web: www.mtvjapan.com/zushifes2014/ TOKYO JAZZ FESTIVAL Date: Sept. 5-7 Where: Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo Web: www.tokyo-jazz.com PEACEFUL LOVE ROCK FESTIVAL RISING SUN ROCK FESTIVAL Date: Aug. 15-16 Location: Otaru, Hokkaido Web: http://rsr.wess.co.jp NEW ACOUSTIC CAMP Date: July 12-13 Location: Okinawa City, Okinawa Web: http://peaceful-love-rock.com FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL TOHOKU REGGAE SAI Date: Sept. 13-14 Location: Minakami Kogen Resort 200, Gunma Web: www.newacousticcamp.com Date: July 25-27 Location: Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata Web: www.fujirockfestival.com Date: Aug. 16 Location: Iwate Kogen Snow Park, Iwate Web: www.tohoku-reggaesai.com THE LABYRINTH SUN LIFE SUMMER SONIC Date: Sept. 13-15 Location: Naeba Greenland, Niigata URL: www.mindgames.jp Date: July 26-27 Location: Kozomi Kaisuiyokujo, Tottori Web: www.sunlife-tottori.com Date: Aug. 16-17 Location: Makuhari Messe, Chiba, and Maishima, Osaka Web: www.summersonic.com GUNMA ROCK FESTIVAL MURO FESTIVAL Date: July 27 Location: Harumi Kyakusen Terminal, Tokyo Web: http://murofes.com EARTH CELEBRATION Date: Sept. 20 Location: Maebashi Green Dome, Maebashi, Gunma Web: www.gfes.jp Date: Aug. 22-24 Location: Sado Island, Niigata Web: www.kodo.or.jp/ec/ KYOTO MUSIC EXPO Date: Sept. 21 Location: Umekouji Koen Shibafu Hiroba, Kyoto Web: www.kyotoonpaku.net For more events and festivals, visit www.outdoorjapan.com 32 T R AV E L E R SUMMER 2014 33 Q&A with Peter Hillary In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary made the first ascent of Mt. Everest with his climbing partner Tenzing Norgay. The names Everest and Hillary have been linked ever since. Sir Edmund’s son Peter, an accomplished alpinist in his own right, has carried on the legacy of adventure for the first family of mountaineering. He and his wife Yvonne sat down with Outdoor Japan contributor Tracy Lenard to talk life, adventure and the release of “Beyond the Edge,” a new film Peter helped produce about his father’s life. 1953 – TRACY LENARD Welcome to Japan. Have you been here before? PETER HILLARY Only once, about 20 years ago on a business trip, mostly in Tokyo, but we briefly went out to some mountains nearby. Yvonne lived here for nearly four years, so we caught up with some of her friends this trip, which was really lovely. But I have been hankering to take the kids up to Hokkaido. We like skiing, and everyone tells me Hokkaido is a skier’s paradise. Is the powder as good as they say? T Better. I’m a powder addict myself and, when friends come to visit, they can’t believe it. P Well, I think we’ve recruited “madam” here, since she enjoyed being reunited with her friends so much. Now everything is in place. T I had a chance to see the film last night and, I have to say, I was incredibly impressed. P You saw the 2D version? T Yes. It was a beautiful film. Other mountaineering films are usually not nearly as well produced. How much were you involved? P I was somewhat involved in the whole thing, and it’s been a fascinating journey. I helped with narration and advised on the mountaineering, how to get the reenactments done and who to contact to film those particular sequences. I remember the director, Leanne Pooley, called me up and said, “I found the guy to play your father, but I want you to come and look at the photographs.” She looked really nervous as she brought out the photographs. They were mocked up, wearing all the gear, and I just went, “I can’t believe it!” T P T P Chad (Moffitt) is incredible. Absolutely. Spitting image. Yeah, so I said, “The only problem is he is going to T P 20 4 P T P T 2D P T T P T P 34 T R AV E L E R redefine what Ed Hillary looked like.” You know, they did a great job, and they had a lot of support from the production team that worked on “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” It was pretty marvelous, that stuff. T I learned a lot about your father and Tenzing watching the film. A lot of the portrayals I’ve seen before really focused on Ed, and him leading everything. I never really understood that Tenzing was such a passionate climber. The film really brings that home. I think that’s one of the most interesting things. I remember there was a quote your dad said on the soundtrack, “John Hunt didn’t really want two Kiwis standing on top of the mountain,” and he thought, “I need to look around for a climbing partner.” He had the whole expedition search for a partner and discovered Tenzing was the best to go for it. P I think it says a lot about John Hunt actually. But also, you must bear in mind that the dozen or so British climbers who were there already had their attempts. (Tom) Bourdillon, (Charles) Evans and the others. On these sorts of expeditions, you find about half the people performing OK, but it’s like they can’t really get it together physiologically; things aren’t working. So, in fact, there may have only been two other real strong contenders. Then people like Alfred Gregory, George Lowe and John Hunt himself put so much effort into the support. So, while they also could have had summit potential, they were exhausted. It’s not uncommon for people who have climbed Everest to ask each other, “How long did it take you to feel you’d regained the spring in your step? A couple of months?” I mean it really knocks you around. You feel like a flat-footed policeman for the first couple of months when you are jogging, and then all of a sudden you go, “I’m rolling up on the balls of my feet, I’m getting that going again.” It’s like the energy is drained out of you. It affects you a lot. T That brotherhood of the rope Ed and Tenzing shared, it really seems to have worked out well and brought them together. It seems like they shared a lot past the summit. P Yes, we saw quite a lot of Tenzing, but also his family. For me personally, my involvement with the Tenzing families has been a fantastic thing. I have e-mail or telephone contact with them every couple of weeks; Norbu and Jamling in particular. Jamling and I have guided some clients together and we were on the Everest expedition together in 2002, so we do quite a few business things together. Norbu is the Director of Funding of the American Himalayan Foundation, and I’m on their board, so we are in touch about that too quite a bit. In fact, I’m working with him in 10 days time, associated with some fund raising I’ve been doing. T Does that have anything to do with the accident on Everest in April? P Well, all of us are putting a whole lot of resources into what happened up there. T A real tragedy. P A terrible tragedy. In fact, I don’t know what you know about climbing on Everest, but if you look at the history, people have been dying in the icefall; it’s just like that, and the challenge here is if something different doesn’t happen, history will just be pushed out into the future. It is a numbers game. Personally, I’m not against the guiding. I think it is great people are getting out and challenging themselves. But what worries me is the high altitude porters who just go up and down every day, because their vulnerability is immense. T Indeed. Over the years as the commercial interest has become more prevalent on Everest, have you noticed there’s been any sort of tension building up? Tenzing said, “I’m a climber. I’m not just a pack mule.” It seems like more of the Sherpas are becoming skilled climbers and guides. P That’s true. A lot of them are still just high altitude porters, but they are acquiring skills. People like Conrad Anker and Pete Athens have been running mountaineering schools, which is really good because otherwise you’ve got these guys who want to work, who are capable, but they don’t know anything. They have to learn, and so it’s great T T P P 2 P 2002 25kg 3 100 T 4 P T P T P T P T P 3 10 2 2 T SUMMER 2014 35 they are getting that opportunity. Yet a lot of them just learn as they go, carrying that 25-kilo load up through the Icefall, climbing up the ice face and, well, that’s a pretty dangerous way to learn. But look, there have been mounting tensions; there was the event last year, which was lamentable on both sides. I know a lot of people have taken the Sherpa’s side, but I don’t think it’s satisfactory that 100 Sherpa tried to beat up three guys. T I’m happy to hear that. One of my good friends was involved. P Oh really? T Jon Griffith. P And what did he say? T He knew it wasn’t directed directly at them per se. It was a much bigger issue and that’s kind of the way it came out. P Because you know, to be honest, I have enormous respect for them; I mean those three are extraordinary mountaineers. Uli Steck went on and did one of the great climbs of the decade on Annapurna. You can imagine maybe they were being a little bit arrogant. But, as I’ve said to people, at altitude, everyone is a bit tight, your emotions are near the edge and so someone snaps and says something and someone else says something and it just ratchets up into even greater stupidity and you get this ugliness, which is not a feature of Nepali and foreign climber relationships. So, it’s really sad, but then we had this avalanche and the reality is if they keep going up and down the icefall it is a watertight guarantee it will happen again and again. T Do you see anything changing in the future? Like the Nanda Devi sanctuary where a time is set aside for the mountain to rest? P Look, you’d find the Nepalese would lose all their livelihoods and so on. T Which is what happened in that case… P That’s right, but to an even greater extent I would like to see pressure from the Nepalese government; it’s about time they stood up and said, “You know what? We need to make some decisions here. These guys should have better insurance.” You can’t just blame the foreigners, they are paying the insurance they are told to pay. If it should be more, you make them pay more. Now, how do we stop it happening again? You’ve got to do something different, and it’s where mountaineering knowledge needs to come in. You can’t just rely on bureaucrats in Kathmandu; they haven’t got any idea. So, the reality is the icefall doctors, in some respects, I think they’ve been making a mistake. T Going too far to the left? P It’s easier ground on those avalanche fans for sure, we all know that but… T You’ve got that hanging above you… P So, it’s a ticking time bomb and it happened. Everyone told me that if it had happened 20 minutes earlier it would have been much worse; it could have been 60. Most of them had gone through. I think the first step is moving back more to the center, which is what we used to do. If an accident happens there a serac can come down. Sure, it may kill two or three people but it won’t be 16 or 35. This is a dangerous place and we have to look at the options. Again, the Nepalese government has to give people permission to try it out. Maybe put up a rope for gear and equipment to be taken up onto the Lhotse, you know the end. Are you familiar with that place? T Yes. I haven’t climbed Everest or even been to base camp, but I’ve been to Island Peak. P Then you know the area, the western end of Nuptse. It appears you could get something on that and then around. They need to explore that. There are plenty of very experienced climbers, both Nepali and foreign, who could take the lead. Politicians don’t have to do it, they can put some money into it and say, “Listen, you guys go, we’ll support you.” But that’s the problem there, as you’ve P 20 60 2 3 16 35 It’s hard to be cool, calm, collected and totally rational. I just had this strong feeling it didn’t gel. T 1990 P T P T P T P T P 40 T 10 P T P T T P 7 36 T R AV E L E R probably sensed. They take all these fees but they don’t want to invest back into it. T It seems you had a very close relationship with your dad. P Dad was a real action man. In a way that was how he liked to communicate with people. He certainly enjoyed sitting around a dining room table, telling stories and jokes, but he particularly enjoyed when a group of his friends were out in the field. It could be paddling a kayak or climbing a mountain, but really out there in the wilds. A group of people enjoying the camaraderie and I, toward the end of his expeditionary career, went along as one of the juniors and that was a magical time for me. T You summited Everest together in 1990? P No, not together, but when I climbed it we were the first two generations of a family to have done that. Lots of people have done it since then. T And each of you has stood on both poles? P Yeah, we each established new routes across Antarctica to the South Pole about 40 years apart, and we shared an extraordinary trip with Neil Armstrong in a Twin Otter ski craft. It was a blast, just phenomenal. Neil was an incredibly private person. A remarkable guy, just phenomenal. An incredible intellectual. You imagine him at the helm of something and you’d say, “We are in good hands.” Because this guy, he’s just unflappable, very calm. We were out there for about 10 days; Ellesmere Island, Resolute Bay, and that incidental conversation, it was a special opportunity. T What were your earliest experiences with Nepal? P Well I first went there when I was 7 years old and in many respects I’ve been going back ever since. In fact, I’ve been able to take my kids to visit an old woman who is sort of like an aunt to me, a Sherpa aunt, who I’ve known since I was 7, and she is still there. Her husband was dad’s right-hand man and a real close friend. He died but there are photos everywhere. I take my kids and there is this wonderful connection. T You’ve passed that on to your children. P Yes, I think they feel very connected to her as well, and with our foundation, teacher training and education programs… T Are they involved in that? P A bit involved. My daughter in particular, who’s my oldest, is helping with that. So there’s a marvelous continuity coming along, which I’m very pleased about, I must admit. T You’ve summited Everest three times? P No, twice to the top and five expeditions. I was on the American West Ridge Route, which is one of the classics. We got to 8,300 meters, over 27,000 feet. I must admit when I was up there I was thinking about Tom Hornbein and Willie Unsoeld, saying, “Wow you guys, you were really out there.” So were we actually, and they went up and over, it was pretty wild. T You had an incredible experience on K2 in 1995. Have you only been there once? P Yeah. I’ve been into the Baltoro before that on the Himalayan Traverse, when we crossed the Himalayan chain, but yes, only that time on K2. T A lot of people perished that year. You made the call to go down. Where did that decision come from? P Interestingly, I just had a conversation about that with (Kazuaki) Amano, you know, he’s a mighty impressive mountaineer; he’s “top shelf country.” We were talking about intuition, and I definitely believe it is intuitive because you are debilitated by the lack of oxygen; you are tired, coming through this foggy brain and drawing on all of your experience and all of your resources. It’s hard to be cool, calm, collected and totally rational. I just had this strong feeling it didn’t gel. Now, sitting down here, I can see clearly what didn’t gel but up there I put it down to a sort of intuitive sense. What happened was this intense cold front was coming in from the northwest. In mid-afternoon our base camp T P K2 1995 K2 T P T P T P 2003 7 1970 T P 70 T 80 T P P T P 160m 20 76 T P 5 8,300m 24,000 5m 10m 13 2 SUMMER 2014 37 was being slammed, tents were being flattened, the cold, dense air hammering the bottom of the mountain. All hell’s breaking loose down there, and we’re ignoring it because it’s a beautiful day up where we were, but the storm is coming up. While it was hitting me, the others who went on were probably still on the top going, “It’s terrific up here,” except 20 minutes after it hit me it reaches them—at more than 100 mph—and they've got no protection. I made my decision to go down, but I was of two minds. Egotistically you are thinking, “Have I blown my chance?” and then I clipped into the fixed rope at the top of the Black Pyramid at 24,000 feet and leaned out. I had only been rappelling for five or 10 meters when it hit. If I hadn’t been on that rope, like them up there… T Blown right off… P Just gone. That was too close. Way too close. I was very happy to be on that rope. T Do you know the Miura family well? P I know Yuichiro a bit because my father met him way back in the 1970s, and I’ve seen the film. He sent a lot of material to my father and I was in Everest base camp in 2003 when he came down. T When he was 70. P Yeah, he looked great but he was very tired so I didn’t go over and say, “I’m so and so.” I saw him walk past, amazing. T How do you feel about him summiting at 80 years old? P Age records are not of particular interest to me. I think they are significant to the individual. I don’t think they mean anything to alpinists. For the older climbers that’s fine. Although for the people around you, a lot of older climbers die, have cardiac arrest, and we don’t hear about was staying together through all that. P I’m not kidding, marriage is so hard. Y And when you throw all these other things in… T A bit of adventure, life on the line… Y Yeah. P Children. Y Then all the risk pales in comparison. P Making a living is easy, surviving a storm on K2, pfft, any day… Y Dealing with me, hmmm… P The thing is, we change over time, and want different things and different ages, and so you sort of have to grow together. It’s a challenging road; we’re still on it. Y A long and winding road. T Are you still constantly adventuring? P Yeah, I just love being in the mountains, I really do. About 10 days ago I was out with my son, we were just walking around Ruapehu, a big volcano on the North Island of New Zealand and… Y It was terrible weather. P Yeah, and Alexander says, “Who cares, dad? Let’s go anyway.” So we went and had a lot of fun. I just love to be in that environment. I think the importance of outdoor activities is a vital message for young people. In a place like Japan, you’ve got an affluent society living in a largely urban situation. All the kids need to go out into their mountains and their coastlines to have those experiences because that makes you a balanced person. If all you do is sit behind a computer screen, it’s unhealthy. You’ve got to do other stuff. ✤ I just love to be in that environment. I think the importance of outdoor activities is a vital message for young people. them because everyone goes, “Oh he died doing what he loved.” It’s not really a tragedy if you die at 76 on a mountain; you’ve sort of had your life. But at the other end of the spectrum, I have a problem with sending kids, like that 13-year-old boy who went to Everest. I don’t think he should be there because he could die. Look, he might go on and become a great climber, but he’s got his whole life to do it, so why not do it like (Erhard) Loretan and (Jean) Triolet and do an absolutely amazing route up the north face—two days up, then half a day down. Do Everest when you are 32, after doing routes all over McKinley and that type of thing, when you are a really a seasoned climber. That’s my feeling on the age thing. But you know, I love getting back up into the mountains. I’m sure when I was on Mt. Aspiring last year someone in the hut might have said, “What is that silly old fool doing up here?” T You’ve been to the North and South Poles, completed the Seven Summits, you are an accomplished writer, businessman, philanthropist, husband and father; what do you consider your biggest achievement? P Well, the toughest thing in my life is definitely marriage. YVONNE I was going to say that our biggest achievement 1 32 Y T Y P Y P Y P Y P K2 T P Y Y T P 10 P ✤ 38 T R AV E L E R SUMMER 2014 39 MICRONESIA ISâ€‰ Part One: The Marshall Islands, Kosrae, Pohnpei Tim Rock takes us on a two-part island hopping adventure across the brilliant Pacific waves to wartime wrecks, distant atolls, towering peaks and the colorful reefs of Micronesia. Tim Rock 40 T R AV E L E R LAND HOPPING and Chuuk he island nations scattered around the northwestern Pacific Ocean are collectively known as Micronesia. These “tiny islands” (the largest, Guam, is only 30 miles long) are spread out across an area equal to the size of the United States. Here you will find some of the world’s best diving. There are war-era shipwrecks, spectacular underwater walls and drop-offs and beautiful coral reefs that delight snorkelers and divers alike. Each island has its own special features, both culturally and geographically, making it a fascinating island-hopping experience. There are roughly eight distinct cultures found among the islands. Some islands rise high out of the sea with great hikes, flowing waterfalls and jungle rivers. Low lying islands boast sandy beaches, huge stands of coconut palms and remote atolls. From the Marshall Islands to east to the archipelago of the Palau Islands to far west, this is island-hopping at its best. You will discover things found nowhere else in the world, from lakes full of jellyfish to huge stone disks used for money. T 50km 8 SUMMER 2014 41 MICRONESIA IS LAND HOPPING THE MARSHALL ISLANDS The Marshall Islands is one of four “atoll nations” in the world. These land masses, located in eastern Micronesia, about four hours by air from Hawaii, have infamous names such as Bikini and Rongelap, and they were the sites of 1950s nuclear testing. Kwajalein Atoll is still used today to test U.S. “Star Wars” missiles and other space defense programs. Jaluit was a hub of copra trading in the 1800s and of the Japanese in WWII. Majuro is the capital of the Marshall Islands. Today it is a thriving center of business, hotels and eateries and the gateway to tourism and scuba diving in the Marshall Islands. Modern Majuro is not so overbuilt that the visitor feels out of touch with nature. Buildings are modest, and the paved road runs from one end of the large main island to the other, through town and then out along beach-lined shores. It ends at a beach park with large shade trees and views of the azure lagoon. Majuro Atoll and Arno, its nearby neighbor, are producing spectacular diving that reef buffs, wreck buffs and fish fans find addictive. If you love the sea, you’ll adore staying on an atoll. Every direction has ocean views, whether it is the inner lagoon or the Pacific Ocean. Here, water is a fact of life. Wind keeps the coconut trees rustling, and the lapping of the waves on the shore adds to the symphony of island sounds. For divers, the Holy Grail is one of the atoll’s major passes at incoming tide dubbed The Aquarium. When the tide is right, fish including many large pelagic fish, gather here in great numbers. With an average water temperature a comfortable 83 degrees year-round and an air temperature about 80 degrees, Majuro has some of the most favorable diving conditions around. Water clarity is normally excellent at incoming tide and pretty good even at outgoing. The Majuro people are gentle and friendly; almost shy. They are famous for woven baskets and fans. Visitors can enjoy sailing a handmade outrigger across the lagoon or taking a day-trip to one of the remote islands for a Robinson Crusoe adventure. There are hotels in town with nice beaches and also some private stays; some very upscale, on the lagoon islands. KOSRAE Kosrae is one of the four states that make up the Federated States of Micronesia, a nation with five distinct ethnic groups. Unlike the rest of the FSM states, Kosrae has no landmasses or atolls other than the island itself. Kosrae juts from the sea, exposing its ragged cliffs toward the clouds. It is a lush green island with some roads and development, but it is mainly jungle, rivers and mountains, and an amazing inland mangrove and hardwood forest. This is a religious place, predominantly Catholic and Protestant, and work is not done on the Sabbath. Somehow, diving gets equated with fishing, so it is not OK to dive either. However, you can take an exhilarating (and strenuous) hike to the top of Mt. Finkol or a more relaxing hike to Sipyen Falls. You’ll be tempted to spend the day lounging at this cooling 30-foot falls that ends in a refreshing tidal pool. Kosrae’s ruins in Leluh aren’t as famous as Nan Madol in neighboring Pohnpei, but they have the same mysterious history. Leluh was the ancient ruling center of Kosrae back when it was a feudal society more than 500 years ago. The king and high chiefs lived inside Leluh’s massive walls, along with their servants, low chiefs and other commoners. When Europeans first made contact (1824), Leluh had about 1,500 residents. The "city" contained more than 100 walled compounds and was as large as Nan Madol. Today, one can wander the remnants of this city and imagine life back in those days while marveling at the effort if must have taken to build. Kosrae is a special place for sea kayaking. Paddle among mangroves as birds cry and flit overhead and water drips 42 T R AV E L E R sports leisure With an average water temperature a comfortable 83 degrees year-round and an air temperature about 80 degrees, Majuro has some of the most favorable diving conditions around. 28 26 activities RossXXX 4 4 1950 28 26 discover the 1800 1 4 5 possibilities www.picresorts.com For reservations, contact us at: +1 (670) 234-2042 firstname.lastname@example.org SUMMER 2014 43 into the overgrown passages. Don’t miss a trip through the Utwe-Walung Marine Park. It is both eerie and wonderful with the towering overhead canopy of indigenous terminolia trees above. It is a relaxing adventure into nature. Kosrae is famous for its eco-friendly mooring buoys that mark more than 40 scuba diving sites. This is one reason the coral always looks so good here. Underwater, the marine wonderland unfolds with huge bommies and a steep slope. At Walung Dropoff, a large school of big-eyed jacks circles and flashes in the sun. Sea anemones and their respective clownfish are plentiful. Schools of brilliant anthias and basslets give a crimson glow to the drop-off edge, dancing in the current. POHNPEI Pohnpei is one of the most beautiful islands in Micronesia. Its high dragonback mountain range rises to the clouds and forms a tropical rain forest, creating more than 40 rivers and 20 waterfalls ranging from nice to spectacular. Some are easily accessible while others take considerable effort and a good guide to find. The broad inner lagoon is pocked with reefs and blue holes and scribbled with channels both broad and deep. Outside the lagoon sit two post card-perfect atolls. Pohnpei is to the North Pacific what Bora Bora is to the South Pacific. Idyllic, lush and inviting. You’ll fly in from the south, circumnavigating more than half of the island before heading toward mighty Sokehs Rock, the Diamond Head of the west, and touching down in Kolonia Town. Pohnrakiet sits on a hill overlooking the harbor. The villagers here are of Polynesian descent, hailing from the outer Pohnpei atoll of Kapingamaringi. These folks are famous for their carvings made of mangrove wood and palm ivory and their weavings made from palm and panadanus. Toothed sharks, sea turtles and flowing mantas are all fashioned by the creative woodworkers in this village. Divers usually head straight for Manta Road, Pohnpei’s introduction to the stellar manta sites of Micronesia. The resident family of mantas here includes some that are almost totally black. Divers gather near a cleaning station which has been designated a protected site to help preserve the manta behavior. They must keep their distance from the station, but the mantas still swim close by. Nearby is Areu Wall, a great inner reef wall fed by currents. Here huge sea fans and soft corals thrive. But the most fun is exploring the deep cracks and crevices that have been cut into the wall over the centuries. Sponges, sea whips and lacey corals share the hideaways with billowy sea anemones and beautiful Notodoris nudibranchs. Take the time to hike up to the top of Sokehs Ridge, where a panoramic view of the western coast awaits. Before you is Kolonia town, the scenic harbor and Palikir Pass, a name all big wave surfers will recognize. You can look upon the back of mighty Sokehs Rock, the island’s most impressive landmark, and down all of the reef passages. TRUK LAGOON It’s a fairly short hop to Chuuk from Pohnpei. The plane enters the lagoon from the west, passing over the vast barrier reef that surrounds one of the largest and most scenic atolls in the world. The pilot sometimes gives the full tour, traveling past the peak of Tol, the lagoon’s highest island. Then it is over historic Param, once a major air base during WWII. He then wings past Fefan, Eten, Tonoas and into Weno, the main center of the lagoon. Chuuk (also known as Truk) is the famed shipwreck haven of Micronesia, and an aerial tour provides a great look at why the vast lagoon was such a great anchorage for Japan’s WWII fleet. More than 50 ships and planes now rest on the lagoon’s floor following the devastating attack in February 1944. Decades later, they are now “ship reefs.” Divers come to Truk mainly for the wrecks. An excellent first dive is the Shinkoko Maru, perhaps the most beautiful wreck in Micronesia. It has many artifacts, soft coral and 44 T R AV E L E R MICRONESIA ISâ€‰ LAND HOPPING Kosrae is a special place for sea kayaking. Paddle among mangroves as birds cry and flit overhead and water drips into the overgrown passages. 10m basslets/ anthias/ 500 1824 100 1,500 40 20 2 40 SUMMER 2014 45 MICRONESIA IS LAND HOPPING PRACTICALITIES 基本情報 GETTING THERE: The Marshall Islands, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Chuuk are serviced by United s Island Hopper that starts in Guam in the west and Hawaii in the east, stopping at every island twice weekly. There are additional flights from Guam to Chuuk and Pohnpei. If coming from Japan, take one of the many United flights to Guam via Osaka or Narita and then transfer to one of the island hoppers. Web: www.united.com sea fans galore and great marine life. A squadron of eagle rays sometimes plays at the stern. The beautifully overgrown stern gun may be overshadowed only by the coral-covered bridge. The ship’s compasses are still intact and the whole bridge is a kaleidoscope of color (this is a great night dive). This is also where the famous surgeon’s table sits in the infirmary. The Shinkoko’s bow and bow gun are things of beauty. Japanese divers like to stay on remote Jeep Island in the south end of the lagoon. There are 16 coconut trees here and a small house with tatami mats. A Chuukese couple cooks for divers and snorkelers. All one hears is the wind and constant splashing of the waves on this tiny islet. Serenity reigns. In the summer, pods of bottlenose dolphins come into the South Pass. Jeep residents go out and swim with the big dolphins. At night, the sky is filled with stars. Shark Island near Weno is also a favorite. Undersea there is a shark cleaning station where small fish clean parasites from the sharks’ mouths. It’s like a trip to the dentist for these sharks. One by one, big gray reef sharks appear. The wrasses go to work on their bodies, through their toothy maws and gills. Quickly moving their tails to hold in place, they get a short cleaning, circle and then do it again. To see this natural behavior is something special. The area around Shark Island is also quite nice, and the dive can be finished with a quick tour of the reef. Reef diving in Truk is overshadowed by the fantastic shipwrecks. However, there is great promise in the reef and pass diving here, and you can occasionally even see dolphins swimming around the island’s edge. ✤ 1944 2 2 50 70 Web: www.united.com WEB CONNECTION: Marshall Islands / www.visitmarshallislands.com : Federated Sates of Micronesia (Kosrae, Pohnpei, : Chuuk / www.visit-micronesia.fm 16 ✤ 46 T R AV E L E R GO BIG POINT BREAK ASIA FLOW TOUR 14 September 26, 27, 2014 10KM HALF MARATHON 4X5KM RELAY November 8, 2014 For more information and entry forms, contact email@example.com. www.picresorts.com SUMMER 2014 PIC ROAD RACE 47 New Routes Okayama By Eddie Gianelloni in “We are almost there,” Yuji turns to me and says as we wind up a mountain road. I open my tired eyes and then everything goes black as we enter a tunnel. The blinding light that comes next gives way to an amazing rock feature so steep it overhangs the road. “What do you think?” he asks me. “Looks like heaven. Why haven't you brought me here before?” I reply. 山道を登り切ったとき、 ユージは私に振り向き、 「そろそろ着くよ！」 と声をかけて きた。 私が眠い目を開けた途端、 トンネルに入ってしまい、 あたりは暗くなった。 次 には、目が眩 むような光に包まれ、慣れると目の前には道路に覆いかぶさるような きゅうしゅん くら 急 峻 な岩壁が現れた。彼が 「どう思う？」 と問うと、 「まるで天国だ。もっと前に連 れてきてほしかったよ」 と私は答えた。 48 T R AV E L E R SUMMER 2014 49 kayama Prefecture, like most of Japan, has a rich, fascinating history that dates back centuries. Most visitors are drawn to the historical district of Kurashiki or hiking in the beautiful mountains. We, on the other hand, are looking for new routes to climb in the Hayama area, the epicenter of climbing in Okayama, located about 60 km. northwest of Okayama City. Sachi Amma, the current World Cup climbing champion, was specifically planning to try his luck at one of Yuji Hirayama’s old routes; one that had never been successfully completed, called Karachi Direct. Yuji is widely recognized as Japan’s most famous rock climber and, because of his long climbing career, he is known everywhere in Japan rock-climbing circles. As we walked to the base of the cliff, the climbers were surprised to see “The Sensei” in Okayama. They politely asked for photos with these two Japanese rock stars, and an impromptu photo session ensued. After a number of shirts, harnesses and shoes were signed, we got to work. It had been more than nine years since Yuji had been to this area to climb, and he was anxious to show Sachi around. Sachi quickly warmed up on some easy routes, and Yuji did the same. Yuji had his eye on a route called Aozura, which only one person, an Okayama climber named Sakae Nakahara, had climbed. Sachi and Yuji shared beta (a term to describe the correct movement required to properly climb a route) on Karachi Direct, possibly Japan’s most difficult rock climbing route. This was Sachi’s “project” for the trip. Over the next three days, Sachi relentlessly threw himself at it. “This is one of the hardest routes I have tried. I really hope it is possible,” Sachi commented the night before our rest day. O 60km 9 3 50 T R AV E L E R SUMMER 2014 51 On our day off we decided to drive an hour to Kurashiki and its well preserved Bikan Historical District. This area is bifurcated by an old canal perfectly framed with sweeping willows and sakura. The district seems nearly untouched by time, transporting you back hundreds of years. The 17th century buildings lining the canal are beautiful, stretching out in all directions. You can even hire a Japanese gondola to take you down the canal, floating under countless magnificent stone bridges. None of us had been here before, so we took our time exploring the streets, curious what lay around the next corner. Temples, old warehouses and tea houses were scattered in the area, as well as a number of great museums, such as the Ohara Museum of Art, where you can view works by Renoir and Monet. Wander down nearly any side street, and you’ll find local sweets and ice cream as well as the warm hospitality of locals. When we returned to Hayama, Yuji was more determined than ever to attack his project. After a short final session, he successfully climbed Aozura, a grade 5.14b route (very difficult), becoming the second person ever to climb the route. This route is tough from start to finish with small, sloping edges and a very technical final move. All said, Yuji climbed the route about eight times, working on each sequence. “The limestone here is very good, and the wall is steep. There are many great routes. If this wall was close to Tokyo it would be very crowded,” Yuji says as we head back to the lodge. Karachi Direct proved more elusive. The route goes through the steepest part of the large roof. Yuji climbed most of the route many years ago, but this new route includes an additional link through a two-move section, which, in his opinion, makes the line “next level.” Though Karachi Direct remained unclimbed after we left, it was well worth the effort, and the road trip from Tokyo had been a blast. “I plan on coming back very soon,” Sachi told me on the drive back home. “This is an amazing route and now I know it is possible,” he added with a smile. ✤ 1 17 5.14b 8 ✤ 52 T R AV E L E R GETTING THERE: The best way to explore the climbing areas in Okayama is by car. You can either drive from Tokyo or take the bullet train to Okayama City and then rent a car. Driving from Tokyo takes about eight hours. Take the Shin-Tomei through Shizuoka, Nagoya and Kyoto. From Okayama City, make your way northwest toward Takahashi. Use this as a starting point and stock up on food or supplies for your outings here. Grab one of the blue Guide to Japan s 100 Free Climbing Areas guidebooks for detailed directions to any one of the dozens of climbing areas here. ACCOMMODATION: In the Takahashi area, there are a few Japanese). style hotels, but I suggest staying at Cottage Kinomura ( Kinomura is owned and operated by Moriji Sugita, a pioneer in the Okayama area. The simple cottage has electricity, hot water and a fully operational kitchen. There is an upstairs area with ample space for stretching and relaxing after a long day losing skin on the perfect limestone in the area. 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