OBACHAN'S SCRIBBLES

Sunday, October 16, 2005

TOSA-STYLE CASTNETTING - PART II -

After quick lunch, we went to the river. It was my very first time being on a fishing boat in the river, and to tell you the truth, I felt a little scared when I got on the boat. Compared to the ocean fishing boats I’ve been on, the side of this boat looked very low and I felt so close to the water. There is no doubt that throwing a cast net from the bow of this kind of boat requires a good balance and strength of the lower-body.(Click photos to enlarge. 写真はクリックすると大きくなります。)



Mr. K was the one to cast net and Mr. YS to control the boat, and their combination was marvelous. Even I, who knew nothing about river fishing, could tell that they were making decisions and controlling the boat taking various things into consideration. Growing up near the rocky beach, I learned, in my childhood, things like what kind of fish/sea shells live in which part of the beach, etc. but there, big rocks and tadpools always helped me remember such information. Here in the river, it's just calm water everywhere with no big rocks, which looked so clueless to me, but they seemed to have no problem in getting the information they needed. Experienced fishermen are amazing.



Casting net from boat
Slideshow here. To have a sense of continuum, set the speed to 1 second (fastest).
網を打つ動作をスライドショーで見るにはここをクリック。連続した感じを出すには、スピードを 1 second(左端)にして下さい。

Until I actually saw the net coming out from the river water, I thought cast nets were made in the way that no fish can escape once trapped in the net. However, I noticed that the mesh was larger in the upper part of the net and relatively small fish were able to escape from there easily as the net was being pulled up. That must be the wisdom of the fishermen to prevent overfishing and save fish from extinction.

Unfortunately we didn’t have a catch for about an hour. We tried several places and finally went pretty close to the bay. Mr. K even changed the net he used. Then finally, I heard him saying “We got something!” and …




After all, we ended up with 7 to 8 rather small fish only, but I was fully satisfied to see cast net fishing in the river very close. They gave me some fish to take home, and after going back to my apartment, I had a nice fish dinner that night. It was such an exciting day for me. (いただいた魚はこういう料理になりました。)

According to them, the biggest problem they are facing now is the lack of young members to pass down this traditional asset to. I was told that most of the members are elder people, and there is absolutely no female member in the association. They really want more people to know about and appreciate the unique castnetting culture, which I think is so important.

Isn’t it such a shame and big loss if those colorful, hand-made cast nets would completely disappear and names of great masters be just forgotten? Such a loss hurts so much once you get to know the people involved, and saw the joy they feel, efforts they make, and pride they take in the unique culture that they have created and passed down. Especially when that is something you can't find anywhere else! At least that’s the way I feel right now, and I hope I'm not the only one to feel that way.


Information from 高知県投網連盟 Kochi-ken Toami Renmei (a local association of castnetting enthusiasts)
Special thanks to Mrs. K for being a liaison.

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The castnetting enthusiasts I met are very interested in how people are enjoying castnetting in different places in and outside Japan. Especially they want to know if "on-land" cast net throwing competition like the ones they have here is held outside Japan. If you felt like sending them a nice message or give them information, please don’t hesitate to comment here. I'll translate and forward it to them.
posted by obachan, 10/16/2005 02:52:00 AM

3 Comments:

Wow! That is really impressive. Thank you for sharing this on your blog. (I found it by searching for omuraisu....)

I don't know anything about netcasting, but I certainly hope this tradition doesn't die out!
commented by Anonymous jen, 11/01/2005 9:00 AM  
Hi jen!
Welcome and thanks a mil. for this nice comment. I’ll forward it to them later this weekend. They’ll be thrilled! :D There is going to be another event in mid November where they do the demonstration and might let tourists actually try netcasting, too. I’m thinking about giving it a try ;)
commented by Blogger obachan, 11/02/2005 10:01 AM  
hello I am French and I will like to correspond with pecheurs of castnetting in order to echanger of the idees for the manufacture of the cast Net veiled my address esparavel@free.fr thank you for an answer François Xavier
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 12/31/2005 10:48 PM  

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