Monday, November 26, 2012

Japan: September, 2012

I was invited to Japan this September to speak on rural cultural preservation at a conference in Kameoka, a small city outside of Kyoto.  My hosts were the Hozugawa Kudari (Hozu River Tour Boats) and Kyoto Gakuen University.

My first day in Kameoka I attended an all-day workshop on the Hozu River.  The boatmen of the tour boat company have formed a volunteer group to revive the craft of ikada, or log rafts.  These were built to transport logs down the white water Hozu River and deliver materials to Kyoto.

Photo courtesy Ikada Preservation Group

The group managed to find two men who had first-person knowledge of how these rafts were made and, more importantly, had the skills to navigate rafts downriver.  The ikada group spent the morning making three log rafts and teaching students and other visitors.

The afternoon was spent running a short stretch of river with children on board.  The group has run the full length of the river, and the video footage of their efforts is stunning.

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