So it has taken a little time to sift through all the different photos and media from the trip so there will probably be 2 Japan updates here at SBP. I am also crazy busy trying to finish Slippery When Wet and get the last 3 trailers out and live so forgive me for my lack of updates since we have been back. Let me start out by saying that Japan was not exactly what I expected, in a good way. This country contains some of the most unique white water I have seen anywhere in the world; everything from steep committed creeking to aqua blue big water. Personally I did not expect such a versatility of white water nor the amount of big drops that litter the island. When it comes down to it the white water was AMAZING but the local people of Japan were the ones that captivated my trip.
Before we dive into all white water some fun facts. Tokyo, Japan boasts the densest metropolitan area in the world while the surface area of Japan is only slightly smaller than that of California. The difference you ask? Well, Japan has a population of 137.5 million people while California only hosts just over 37.5 million. Since Japan is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, rock fall is real business and much different than the millions of year of glaciation displayed in California’s Sierra Nevadas. I found out early to always keep your head up, after pulling a rookie move and standing underneath my boat being roped up a cliff side. There was some rock fall that came down off my boat and luckily I missed the bulk of it but a couple small pieces caught me on the arm and it was a big wake up call to get my sh#t together. Photos courtesy of Ryan Knight.
There were so many highlights from this trip that its hard to narrow them down. We had a great crew that all worked together to make this trip happen, so without each of them none of this would of been possible. Our largest debt of gratitude must be given to our friend and fellow paddler Yoshihiro Takahashi for not only letting up rape and abuse his van throughout the trip, but for his tolerance and kindness of hauling around 6 Americans for 17 days. Since there will be another photo update from the second part of our Japan trip, I am going to give the quick run through of what went down at the beginning. So the trip started May 9th with a drive to LA followed by a flight to Narita, Tokyo on the 10th. The team (myself, Yoshi, Cody Howard, Darin McQuoid, Ryan Knight, Nick Calderone, and Brandy Suppi) quickly hit up the Otaki slide that Cody ran on his first trip kayaking in Japan. From there we jetted up to Minakami for a fews days boating the Tone, Takarogawa, and a little drainage ditch creek that I Pton’d my brains out on. Photo courtesy of Darin McQuoid.
For the rest of the story plus more photos and a look into the relief work we did while over there please visit www.shastaboyz.com