Outdoors and Nature

Fishing the Tama and Bicycle Riding

Written by on April 20, 2006 in Life, Culture, Events, Outdoors and Nature with 0 Comments

Fishing the Tama and Bicycle Riding

This is a pay fishing hole on the Tama River. Super long poles are “in” here. One reason is because they are so compact…really. The whole pole telescopes into the handle (usually becoming a meter long or less). The only gear you need is a some line and hooks that you can buy in sets. But what do you do about the fish? The best solution, from what I saw, is to cook and eat them on the spot. It costs 3000 yen per day to fish this stretch of water (a bit more if you are lure or fly fishing).

**Reia Rides**

Back to yesterday’s post, Reia rode her bicycle today. We went to a local park with a wide open, flat grassy field. After a couple hesitant starts, she “got it” and just went. By the time we left she could start, ride, and stop all on her own. I’m so happy, but not nearly as much as she is. 🙂

Continue Reading

Blossoming Spring

Written by on April 19, 2006 in Favorites, Outdoors and Nature, Photo Blog with 0 Comments

Blossoming Spring

This is another photo from my walk alongside the Tama River earlier this month. I hope we’ll have a chance to go back there in May. It’s going to be wonderful during that month (trust me), and the trout will be biting.

Right now it’s late. I just finished some work, so I’m off to relax before bed.

I took Reia out in the parking lot today and tried to teach her how to ride a bicycle without training wheels. Any tips?? Reia isn’t aggressive but more on the timid side. I think it will take some time, but then one day she’ll just take off and enjoy it. I hope it’s tomorrow. My back was killing me. 😉

Continue Reading

Kayaking Kids

Written by on April 18, 2006 in Outdoors and Nature with 0 Comments

Kayaking Kids

This ends my series of kayaking preschool kids (for now). Once again, click the image (and keep clicking, and read) to see them all. I’ve mentioned several times that the kids love to play in the water. You’ve got to see it to understand. They are really good kayakers, but they play with such innocence and purely having fun (without conceit).

Tomorrow, from 4 to 5pm, they’re heading back to the river for a regular weekly practice. I hope to bring the kids and, perhaps, the sensei will teach me how to roll… Maybe I should start just paddling in circles, but I’m feeling ambitious these days. (I’m not planning to bring the camera.)

By the way, I’m not all that happy with the quality of these images. Recently I’ve been shooting a lot with a 50mm prime lens, but I brought a telephoto lens that day because I figured it would be more versatile. It was. But I’m afraid the prime lenses have spoiled me. These don’t don’t seem sharp enough. Is it just me psyching myself out? Thoughts?

It’s a good telephoto lens, by the way. A Tamron 28-75mm that’s rated highly. But a cheap prime (like my 50mm “plastic fantastic”) will generally beat a good telephoto lens.… Keep Reading

Continue Reading

Kousuke-kun Celebrates

Written by on April 17, 2006 in Outdoors and Nature with 0 Comments

Kousuke-kun Celebrates

At four years old, he’s too young to be on the river in a kayak alone. But Kosuke-kun (like my kids) took a trip through the (mild) whitewater with the sensei and had a great time.

Tip – See the previous image for a rare photo of myself on this blog.

Continue Reading

Initiation Rites, Two

Initiation Rites, Two

The big rite of initiation for new preschoolers and members of the outdoors school is to ride with the sensei down the river in this inflatable kayak. All the kids in the boat are three years old except for Reia (who is five, but she’s just starting with the school). We were afraid that one or more of our kids might refuse to get in the boat, but they all went for it without much hesitation — and had a great time.

I showed some kids taking solo rides in a kayak yesterday. The sensei won’t let the young kids even sit inside a real kayak on the water. Kayaks feel unstable — because they are — and that sensation can leave a lasting fearful impression in the little ones. Until they get bigger, they mostly just play in the water (and the big kids do a lot of just playing in the water, too).

Continue Reading

Riding the River, Five

Written by on April 15, 2006 in Favorites, My Family, Outdoors and Nature, Photo Blog with 0 Comments

Riding the River, Five

This is the last photo in a series of five (to start at the beginning – [click here](http://www.japanwindow.com/index.php?showimage=385)). I took these at our kids’ preschool entrance ceremony. It’s an outdoors oriented preschool (with a related “Outdoors School” for elementary age kids), and the school “uniform” is a wet suit. All the kids had a great time! This is our daughter Reia after taking her ride with the teacher down the river. It’s great, speaking as a parent, to see her with such a big and natural smile.

I mentioned in a previous post that these kids weren’t just talented kayakers — they seemed incredibly mature. The older kids immediately adopted our kids, taking them wherever they needed to go and generally helping look after them. All the kids were easy to talk with and very enjoyable. Afterwards, Hitomi and I talked about it and concluded that they: a) know how to connect (with others) and b) know how to have fun.

I don’t mean to be negative about the culture, but Japanese kids generally have trouble connecting with others and having real fun. I’m not just saying what’s on the top of my head. You hear such things repeated often by television commentators, cultural experts, and in regular conversations.… Keep Reading

Continue Reading

Riding the River, Four

Written by on April 15, 2006 in Outdoors and Nature with 0 Comments

Riding the River, Four

This is the fourth image in the series. Here’s another elementary student making his solo run.

Continue Reading

Riding the River, Three

Written by on April 15, 2006 in Outdoors and Nature with 0 Comments

Riding the River, Three

This is the same girl from the previous photo. Here she’s playing around below the whitewater section a bit earlier with a group of others.

Besides being able to paddle a kayak with confidence, these kids were amazingly mature. I’ll say more about that when I get to the last image in this series.

Continue Reading

Riding the River, Two

Written by on April 15, 2006 in Outdoors and Nature with 0 Comments

Riding the River, Two

This girl came down next. She seemed confident and in control of her kayak from start to finish.

Continue Reading

Riding the River, One

Written by on April 15, 2006 in Outdoors and Nature with 0 Comments

Riding the River, One

This starts a series of five images. I’ve been writing about our kids’ new preschool (Homei Yochien and Outdoors School) in Hachioji. Today was the “entrance ceremony” for new kids. All the families met beside a river about 20 minutes from our place (the Segami River). First, everyone gathered in a circle, listened to a brief welcoming speech by the sensei, and then introduced themselves by family. Mostly the kids introduced themselves and their parents (except for some of the shy ones). Then numerous “medals” were awarded (for new preschoolers and students in the outdoors school moving to new levels). The teacher had made large plaster medals, three of which our hanging in our living room now. Then all the little kids, including our three, received rides down the river in a large (very safe) inflatable kayak. Finally, several elementary students took a solo ride down the river through the whitewater (not so rough, but harder than it looks in a kayak).

This was the first boy down the river on a solo ride. He’s so small that his helmet appears to be covering his eyes. The sensei paddled to meet him and helped straighten the boy out a bit, but he basically handled it on his own.… Keep Reading

Continue Reading

Top