Japan does not have the
best kayaking in
the world, nor does it have the easiest water levels to predict, yet
it's my favorite kayaking destination. What Japan does have is
incredibly history, fun culture, great scenery and undocumented rivers
with generally good access. Plus it's safe, has great food and offers
an experience like nowhere else. All things considered it's no
that when the opportunity presented itself, I had no problem filling
the roster for a Japanese expedition. Two of us decided to go, and
sooner than we knew it an eclectic group
of people were coming.
Daniel Brasuell, 28. -
Daniel is not
only an Eagle Scout, but with a Masters Degree in
Engineering he has been project manager
and engineer at Aerojet. He has written enthralling papers on
subjects such as "Nuclear thermal propulsion for crew transport for
exploration of the moon, asteroids, and mars".
David Maurier, 29 - David is a well educated cat lover, and is
notorious for not liking low volume kayaking.
Darin McQuoid, 30 - Moderation is said to be key in all
advanced education, and a history of seasonal jobs,
pro-kayaker-photographer Darin brings the IQ down to a
level that normal people can relate to.
Diane Gaydos, 24 - Almost a medical doctor, Diane has her hands full
between managing Daniel as well as finishing her school work. We're not
sure how she finds time to go kayaking, but she does!
Shannamar Dewey, 30 - Collegiate athlete Shannamar played for UC Santa
Cruz and went
on to play semi-pro basketball in New Zealand, and is currently
finishing a Phd in "molecular and cellular integrative physiology" at
Rok Sribar, 46 - Rok grew up in Slovenia where he started paddling at
age of 12. Now a dual Phd holder from Cornell University, Rok also
married at Cornell is a father of two and lives in Auburn, California
with his family.
Laura Farrell, 26- Born in Florida, it's amazing that Laura became a
whitewater kayaker. She sticks true to her Florida roots as a seasoned
guide for Disney Adventures.
Yoshihiro Takahashi, 38 - Owner of Spirit
Rafting in Japan, Yoshi is a
host of incomparable patience when dealing with loud Gaijin.
On most international trips I bring two cameras, just in case something
breaks. In this circumstance it seems a bit pointless since most cameras come
from Japan, so my camera kit for
the trip will is:
Nikkor 35mm f/1.8
Nikkor 58mm f/1.4
Direct flights from LA to Tokyo are pretty cheap, and painless with no
layovers. For some reason flying from San Francisco is double the
even though from LA you fly over SF in route to Tokyo. It's best to
bring kayaks, but airlines are hit and miss on their fees. We've had
boats go anywhere from free to $300 on different airlines. It's all
about how lucky you are at the ticketing counter. I am lucky and $36
and some hours later and we all meet at Narita International Airport.
Success, all the people, all the gear!
Yoshi picks us up and
we're at the
Freewave hostel, enjoying some beer and oh so ready for sleep.
It takes several days
to get on the
water in most international destinations. In Japan we landed at night
and were able to kayak the next day on the Agatsumagawa, a short
Rok Sribar warming up
It's amazing to see the contrast between relatively older and newer
infrastructure development in Japan.
Down in the canyon it's
III, very walled in, with one IV+ rapid to spice things up. Shannamar
David Maurier enjoying
the deep canyon.
It's roadside but that road may as well be on the moon, there is no
Hiking out is on a
steep trail, but the
road is only a couple hundred feet up. Shannamar Dewey and Laura
From the Agatsumagawa (Gawa = River) we head to Minikami.
drove around a bit too much, so this time we plan to stay centered
whats kind of the Asheville/Hood River of Japan. A ski town in the
winter, Minikami is a great adventure town with a rafting and bungee
in the city. Our good friend Lincoln Taylor lives here running Green
Discovery and we
base near his
house for the night, not quite sure what we'll do the next day. Daniel
Brasuell also has a write
up from the