Sunday, February 25, 2018

Qajaq Japan

Despite the fact that modern kayaking would never had been, if it wasn't for the Inuit and their genious watercraft, there are still not too many paddling communities in the world who seriously honor the Greenlandic traditions.

Japan was a very pleasant surprise for me. To my understanding, kayaking is not a great sport in Japan. Still there is a great community of people dedicated to the art of kayak building, paddle making and Greenlandic kayaking skills.

I was fortunate to be among them for a few days at a Qajaq Japan meeting arranged by the great Greenland kayak enthusiast, Eiichi Ito.

First, I need to say that I'm absolutely overwhelmed by all the different impressions that Japan offers. Beautiful landscape, fields, gardens, Shinto shrines, good food and helpful, smiling people everywhere. Even though the weather and the sea is cold here, It's so much warmer than the Norwegian winter. When the sun shines a bit, it feels like a summer day in Norway :)

The Tokyo bay where we tried kayaking is amazingly beautifyl. Low, forest covered hills and cliffs sorround the bay, and wide sandy beaches are everywhere. We spent some time collecting seashells – they are all so beautiful, and different from the ones we have at home.

We had hoped for calm weather for practicing qajaq rolling, but unfortunately we had a strong onshore breeze that instead offered some good practice for kayak manouvering :)

My presentation to Qajaq Japan was about the Qajaq activities that goes on in Norway: kayak building and kayak touring along the coast og Norway, the Qajaq event at Stokk√łya, history, greenland paddle making and more. After the presentation we had great food, beer and sake.

I'm overwhelmed and can't think of anything to say, but "Thank you Japan!!" - or - "Arigato!!"