Monday, October 02, 2006

Inuyama Part III: The Final Installment

Ooooooh, more shots from up on the balcony of Inuyama Jo.
Alright, I guess it was windy up there. It made me a little nervous, because the guard rails only came up to my knees.

There's a cute little mountain over my shoulder, on the other side of the Kiso River. Here I'm kneeling down to hold onto the guard rail.
Later you'll see a very interesting demonstration on this same river!

Aww...CUTE, non? We're the poster-couple for the castle real-estate market.

Tired of houses in convenient locations? Do you have billions of yen lying around that you don't know what to do with? Thinking of upgrading into a stylish and priceless world heritage site protected by UNESCO? We may have the ancient Japanese Castle for you!

COOL! Samurai armour!!! I used to have ninja turtle toys with these same outfits.
Unfortunately, ancient Japanese people were even smaller than their modern day descendants, so I don't think any of the armour would have fit me.

Later that night, down by the river....
This was an awesome experience that you just have to watch:

It's called "ukai" in Japanese. It's a traditional form of fishing using cormorants. The birds swim out in front of the boat and swallow whole the sweetfish that are drawn to the burning pine in the hanging metal basket in front of the boat. The fishing master reels the cormorants in by the ties around their necks, tugging just hard enough that the birds can't swallow, but not so hard that he chokes them.

He then has the birds regurgitate the fish into the boat. It was an incredibly unique experience, and a first hand look at a very old Japanese tradition (the practice is around 300 years old). The hanging bonfire reflecting against the water made for a mesmerizing site, and the stream of sparks flowing out behind the boat made it look like a magic ship.


Meaghan said...

whoa!!! that's so kewl that they use the bird to catch the fish.. so smart! hahaha. That would've been awesome to see in person!

your friends in Japan said...

Meaghan - Yeah it was pretty cool. We weren't really sure what it was when we decided to do it, but it was quite impressive! Those birds sure are good fisherman! And it was really cool that they take you out on a boat alongside it to see. We were so close, it was awesome.

Anonymous said...

That's pretty wild. Great video Ian!! Miss you both. Love Mom D

Meaghan said...

oh you were on a boat? that's sweet!

Aunt Linda said...

Hey Guys,
Awesome video and pics. I hope you're having a great time!

Miss you both...Cameron and I have been watching daily. Can't wait to see your next adventure!

Dad said...

Hey, maybe I should try and catch a few of those birds out back in the cannel and see if I can get them to fish for me, what do you think?

That was a really cool video. I havn't had a lot of opporunity to watch your blog much, traveling down to Trinidad and stuff. Hey I just missed an erath quake. An hour after my plane keftthey had a 6.0.

Derrick M said...

Hahah... poor birds... all they wanted was some fish for dinner. Here's what I think is happening in the bird's minds: "Hmm, I seem to be tied to something.... oh well, I can still go down into the water and get some fish. A-hah, I caught a tasty one, mmm-hmm, it sure tastes good, let me just swallow thi- wha? can't swallow? woah, now I am being pulled by this rope! What!? No! Don't push that fish back out of my throat! That was my fish! Weee! Well, I am in the water... hmm, I seem to be tied to something.... oh well...." it repeats from the beginning, because obviously the birds have terrible short term memory...

your friends in Japan said...

Debbie - Thanks! I didn't have to do much but point the camera. We were right up close to the boat, and it was quite the sight to see.

Meaghan - Yes, there were 3 tour boats observing the one fishing boat in the middle. In the video you might be able to see the two other boats on the opposite side of the fishing boat from us.

Linda - Good to know we have fans! We should have some more big excitement coming soon.

Des - Sounds like a good plan, just remember not to pull the leash too hard or you choke the birds!
Close call with the earthquake! A girl we know in Kyushu (one of the more southern islands) experienced a very minor earthquake, but we haven't had any quakes yet.

Derrick - haha...poor bird-brained cormorants.
You certainly have a talent for understanding them though. Maybe you should come over here and become a cormorant fisherman.


Grandma said...

Hi Tara and Ian! Saw your videos and messages, and enjoyed watching them. You both looked very happy. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, and we would like to wish you both Happy Thanksgiving! We will miss you and be thinking about you. I don't suppose you will have turkey. The weather here is beautiful fall weather, and the leaves are falling. We finally got a new fireplace in our living room, and I'm quite happy with it! Nothing else new. We'll talk to you again soon.
Lots of love!
Grandma and Poppy

your friends in Japan said...

Hey Grandma and Poppy!!
Its so cool that you saw our video and pictures! I am glad that you like them. We are having a good time here so far. Next week we are going to go to Kyoto hopefully.
I am sad that I don't get a Thanksgiving this year. We couldn't even do ANYTHING because I worked all day and Ian worked all evening. Oh well. I hope that your dinner was delicious!
You should take a picture of the fireplace and email it to me. I would love to see it.
Its still pretty warm here. Not quite fall yet. We can still wear shorts and t-shirts, though the evenings are cooling off a bit. Its really nice though, and everyone keeps telling us how beautiful fall is here.
Anyways, have a great Thanksgiving! I miss you and love you both lots!!

Love Tara