A byte of life from the Land of Sumos and Sushi

Friday, July 08, 2005

Perhaps my biggest disappointment with Japan is its rivers. Despite Japanese propaganda claiming Japan to have “the many beautiful nature”, its rivers are obviously not included in the clause.

Bluntly put – 98.5% of all Japanese rivers, streams, and brooks that I’ve have seen are utter shite. The Japanese just don’t seem to be able to leave rivers run free. It’s a great shame that they have felt the need to get in there with their bulldozers, diverting, damming, and destroying the natural features, lining the banks and bed in ugly grey concrete and leaving them looking more like open sewers than rivers. It’s a blight on Japan’s landscape, and although they claim it’s all in the interests of flood prevention, I don’t buy it.

The only water courses I have seen spared of concrete lining are a few small streams running down the steep mountains that I’ve climbed. Those, and the most beautfiful stretch of river I have seen in Japan. This one exceptionally rare spot, along with it's ski areas, is Ono’s greatest assest, and makes me glad to be living here. As the weather has been rapidly warming, I have begun to spend more and more of my time at the river, often heading up after school for a cool plunge with fellow Ono-ites.

Completely concealed from the road, this hidden gem is tucked away, well hidden by narrow rice paddy roads and lush groves of bamboo. Impossible to find without detailed directions, I decided this spot would make the ideal place for a weekend of swimming, bbqing and camping.

So, just before the rainy season hit, I gathered a mixed posse of gaijin and Japanese and we set up camp for the weekend of river fun. The hot and humid weather made the cool clear waters of the Kuzuryu (Nine Headed Dragon) river even more appealing, and we spent the weekend in a constant cycle of swimming, eating, drinking, and swimming again.

As to be expected, this cumulated in a drunken midnight dip. I recall the exhilarating sensation of diving deep into the cold pitch black waters, calmly holding my breath and swimming sub marine before surfacing again in the moonlit ripples.

It’s well known that Boys + Girls + Booze + Water = Nakedness, so it wasn’t long before bikins and trunks were removed, and a good old fashioned skinny dippin’ session was in full swing. My Japanese friends decided to abstain from this, but I later found out it was because none of them could swim! Instead they watched white bums and boobs bob up and down from the safety of the rocks.

The most amusing point of the night was when the naked bodies retired to the banks of the river, only to find they had no idea where their clothes were, whence a mad scramble for modesty began, resulting in a number of cross dressing incidences.

Back at the campfire, refreshed bodies warmed themselves, feasting on toasted marshmallows and sake deep into the night, against the backdrop of a free fire fly show and the sounds of DJ iPod in the mix.

Overall, a superb weekend, and the first of many to come.


Anonymous Jackie Chan said...

Heard a stat recently that over 85% of UKs rivers have been altered in some way so we are just as guilty. We even changed the course of the Thames coz it didn't go where we wanted it to!! (You didn't think you could write a post about rivers without me commenting did ya?!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 4:52:00 am

Anonymous Jackie chan said...

Oh and skinny dipping!! Rude boy, i'll tell your dad.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 4:54:00 am

Blogger The Funky Drummer said...

Jackie chan - the queen of the river - well I never.

The difference between our rivers is that there are still very long untouched stretches, and the vast majority are not lined with concrete.

Here in Japan - a stretch of river that doesn't have concrete on is a rarity. Even small streams haven't been spared.

RE: Skinny Dipping - please don't tell my dad.

PS Say hi to the Fat One for me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 9:50:00 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

so, no pics of the skinny dipping, eh? you've let us down, Samuel PTB!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 2:02:00 am


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