Friday, 8 February 2013

Japan Trip 2013 Day 6

Feeling much better now almost 100%, still managed a sleep in and to get a bit of stuff done.

Team Gans Fishing Studio, was fun
Day started at about 1100 where we had to meet with MC of Tanabe FM's radios programs Gans Fishing Studio to run through the days radio program format, surprise was I was going to be doing an hour of Japanese radio along with Kotaro. We did a quick run down of how the show was to pan out and then lunch plans were made. Just what the doctor ordered we went to a Japanese curry house where a smashed a double Katsu Curry with ease, the curries here are not like the scorchers or dry claggy ones you get from Indian take away at home they are a silky sweet warm curry that when added to deep fried pork and some rice you have a cracking combination.

Mr Gan (Hiraiwa) Himself at his design bench
Upon arrival back to the Gan Craft, I was again fortunate enough to sit and watch a true craftsman at work, Mr Hiraiwa was making lures or more so putting together different combinations of one of his newest creations with different weight and bearing systems to get the best out of the design and  tune the lure  for the best out of packet performance. Many folks always ask why Gan Craft lures are as good as they are, this is the reason, the lure design and tuning is not done on a production line some where in a Chinese Factory it is all done at the desk of Takanori Hiraiwa. When the lures are complete a series of testing events follow both tank and with fish, this process is one that Mr Hiraiwa take a lot of personal pride in and is clearly shown in the end product.

Prototype Stick Baits, these are gonna be popular
While I was happy to just sit and watch I was very happy to find that Gan Craft are now working on a range of offshore casting stick baits, Mr Nakahira (Chube') brought a couple out for me to have a look at, now I know a couple of tackle store owners who may find these thing a little sexual and the very sight of them could cause  dangerous levels of excitement so I have taken a couple of sneak peak pics of them so they can work them self up for the release in the not too distant future.

prototype "Rest" Jerkbait, smaller
that the one released last week.
The time had come for my Tannabe FM Gans Fishing Studio Radio show debut, we arrived at the studio with 15 minutes to spare so I could see the layout of the studio and do some sound checks. I have no idea how well the show went, I normally listen to it every week on the internet but being in the studio it was a bit hard to listen at the same time, from all accounts and from listener messages things went pretty well I reckon I hope to again come on the program again in the future it was a lot of fun and also the first time that many of the listeners had ever heard about fishing in Australia not just for squid but all sorts. There is definitely a lot of interest around fishing in Australia and when I get back I am going to go and see tourism Victoria about getting a grant to get a few Japanese TV shows from the Fishing Vision Channel to come across and do some film work in the hope that it opens up the tourism market to the mad keen Japanese anglers. We already have had many people come to Australia to squid fish I am now hoping to take them out on the Bluefin Tuna and also some Shark fishing. Also there is a massive interest in Australian Bass and Murray Cod, in fact on the 28th of this month I am going to travel to Sydney to try and get some photo's of Cod and Bass on some Gan Craft lures. To get the interest started.

cleansing the stones
We made our way back to the office to meet with the other staff for dinner, we got a surprise visit from Akio's wife with a gift she had made for both myself and my wife, one thing that the folks here are very keen on is personal art and craft, she had made 2 matching bracelets with stones woven into them, packed with a cutting of some sort of plant. I was shown that the cutting is to be burned and then stones are to be cleansed so all the bad luck is removed and the wearer can cleanse them stones to bring good luck, they were a very beautiful piece of jewelry and something I will cherish when I leave here.

the 3 wise potters and great teacher
Before dinner it was decided that we could go to a place where Mr Hiraiwa goes to get his creative juices flowing and although a Tsunami warning was present and sirens and announcements rung through the coastal areas we decided to head to a low point near the beach to do a spot of pottery. As strange as this seemed it was a cracking evening and I found out that even I can make stuff out of clay, mind you I needed a fair whack of help and it was found with the sensei Sawako Furukubo. She had me whipping up a Sake jug for my wife in no time and what is a Sake' jug with out a cup or 2 so we soon made short work of another few lumps of clay to produce what I reckon are pretty cool pottery items, even if they are not we are going to brand them Kuma Custom pottery LOL. We finished up with the pottery, during the molding of the clay we got talking about family and Australia and all sorts of stuff, to my suprise when we were finished and ready to leave I was given a proper traditional Kimono to give to my wife, most humbling gift. Now My wife Kim is going to have to get on youtube and work out how to put it on so I can send a photo back so they can see how good she looks.
Getting my Craft on

We made a move back to Tanabe City as the other were waiting for us to head out and grab a feed, I am sure I will get this wrong but we had Shabu Shabu, its a Japanese hotpot place where there is a hotplate with a pot on the table, one side has a standard hot water and miso taste and the other was Teryaki flavor. Now maybe this is just the western coming out in me but I thought when you went to a place for a feed they prepared the food, they cooked the food and you ate the food. I want in on one of these places, there is no work involved. We started by preparing our sauces, I am a sesame man so I went for the sesame sauce meaning I had to grind down the seeds with a pumice and go from there. Then a dozen or so trays of very fine sliced meat appeared at the end of the table. Shabu Shabu literally means to dip repeatedly. So the point is that you dont put it in for too long, just enough to color the meat and then add to your chosen sauce and go for your life. Now I am hamming up the whole cook it yourself thing it is a truly great way to eat with friends, every one is involved in some way and there was no need for mobile phones or awkward conversation every one was just so involved with each other it worked a treat. I should mention it was delicious too.

It was again getting late so we made a move back to drop me off at the hotel. Off for some stickbaiting in the morning.

Beautiful hand made gift and a matching one for my wife

Hows the concentration

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Osaka Tackle Show Day 3, 4 and 5

Now things started off ok on day 3 but went down hill pretty quick.

I had felt fairly ordinary the night before but just put it down to lots of hours on planes and playing with tackle and not enough hours sleeping so I figured a sleep in was needed as I had seen most of what the show had to offer.

the show entry to one of the halls at 1230pm
I woke up at about 1030 in the morning and slowly made my way over to the show, things were not looking good, I had taken my jacket off and put it back on again about 5 times before I got through the door, I had a massive fever, hot and cold flushes and my head felt like it was in a vice.

I soldiered on  for a couple of hours but was invited to sit down and have a drink in behind the Gan Craft stand, that was it for me, in a matter of minutes I was asleep and would not see the show until they started pulling it down around me. Now I dont know how many of you have traveled before but a million things start going through your mind from the basics of where can I get some drugs that I know are safe for me to take through to the will I be quarantined on my way back into the country This is when you realize how important your friends are to you. and how much you rely on the help of people you dont know.
Mr Hiraiwa always pulls a crowd

It was now after 2030 pm and we had collected my bags from the Hyatt and were on our way to Tannabe City with a dinner stop along the way. I needed something with some heat in it to clear my head and also something cool to do some though soothing, I was with a party of about 20 other Gan Craft folks and yes there were some odd looks when I got my soup with a side order of Pizza uncut so I could roll it up like a kabab and my 3 bowls of icecream. LOL give me a break I was sick LOL.

We got to the hotel and by now my body was struggling with fever, I had some pills packed away incase so started a coarse of ibuprofen to regulate the fever and relieve some body aches .

The next day I got a call from Kotaro asking me how I was feeling and yes after a sleep I was feeling better, I took my pills and was picked up ready to face the day. We made a stop to a tackle store as I wanted another Daiwa Ryoga for a rod I have sitting in a tackle store back home and some more size 6 squid jigs which I have only seen in this store. Shopping done we went back to the Gan Craft Office to wait for all of the people involved in the show to join us and we were going to head to the very same restaurant I celebrated my birthday for a post tackle show breakdown and dinner. However this was not going to be happening for me as I took another turn for the worse and found myself back at the hotel passed out until the following day.

Gan Craft Killers rods during production
Although I was feeling much better by the time I received a call from Kotaro the next morning I had run out of Ibuprofen, so Dr Google helped me find the equivalent in Japan and recognize the symbol for what I needed and the appropriate dosage, just as well because if I had of gone in asking for Panadol I would have been given period medication for my cycle LOL. I managed to find what I needed and we again headed for the Gan Craft Office to actually do some work on the web site (more about that later).

A rare oppurtunity presented itself to me again while I was here, last time it was a suprise trip to the factory that makes Gan Craft Lures but this time it was a trip to the factory that builds all Gan Crafts Rods. I have seen and heard many rumors about Gan Craft Rods all coming from Chinese factory, well to my suprise not one single rod comes out of China. They are all built right here in Japan and I can now say that I have been in the factory and seen it for myself. I was not able to take many photo's in the factory for obvious reasons but I managed to get a few shots off so you can see for your self, please note that in the photo's below I have pixulated soem of one of the images out, this could not be avoided sorry.

Shuryku (spelling) my fave place
It was getting late so dinner plans were made at my most fave place in all of Japan. Some of you may remember the Izakaya restaurant I visited last year that belonged to my friend Akio, we also had a massive BBQ in his car park outside his place too. Well we were booked in again to visit his place. When ever any one says to me what is Japan like, this is where my mind takes me as in encompasses everything good about this great place. The food, the company, the comfort and the genuine welcome you feel just by being in the room, I love this joint and the people that make it what it is and wish I could pack it up and take it home with me so I could share it with everyone at home.
Akio, the man who makes the restaurant what it is
doing some magic at the table

Home time again and back to the hotel to get some more rest as I am still not quite 100% right yet and I want to go and cast some stick baits around in the next day or 2 so I need to get better.

Gekizo's brother and president of Snipeer Yu.
Although on tummy size he and I are more like brothers

Killers blue series

Now thats quality control, the owner of Gan Craft
watching on while rods are been turned

Iwatchi and Sake

Akio's wife in my boots, I take for granted
the physical size of most people here
until I see  pic like this

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Osaka Tackle Show 2013 - Day 2

Looking at the title you may thing that the days in Japan last a little longer than any where else in the world, sadly one of the things not on my list of things to do was get sick and that was exactly what happened, for the last few days I have been couped up in a hotel room in Tanabe City only getting out for a few hours each day for medicines and so forth.

Getting back to the good stuff though, I am going to have a hard time explaining what the public day is like, there is no other experience I have witnessed in my life to give it the comparison needed to give it the credit it deserves. To start things off you would have to take the boxing day sales and multiply that by 100 that's what the crowd was like, the line went west about 500 meters and 10 people deep and east the same but only 4 people deep, being part of a company with a display we had access to the show early so I went in and set up for a few photo's. When the gate opened people literally ran in to be the first to see the new product releases as if they were going to be the last one to ever see something. Incredible. In the first 5 minutes more people came through the door of the first hall (by the way this was only one of two halls LOL) than would go through the entire AFTA Show on the Gold Coast over 3 days. The masses of people and the energy that it created was insane. Many of the displaying companies link this energy directly with some sales.

I thought being the strange guy from oversea's I could keep myself out of the lime light and just watch what happens at the show, this was not to be, while I was down on one knee trying to take photo's of the masses coming in I was already being asked to get my photo taken with a customer of Gan Craft. Although this humbling experience was not normal to me by the end of the day after more than 50 of these requests and autographs just while walking around the show it became the normal thing. I though maybe that most of these people were just getting a photo because I was twice their size and wearing the only XXXXL Gan Craft T-shirts in the world but no they actually knew who I was and asked to sign pictures of me in Magazines of on other Gan Craft material. Oh dear what have they created???????? LOL

For those of you who are not aware, in Japan there is a 24 hour fishing channel called Fishing Vision, they had a stand at the show where they recorded heaps of material for the channel, one of the best shows for me on this channel is Egi Para, a show dedicated to squid fishing. Soon after arriving at the show for day 2 I was ushered to a small room at the rear of the stand where I was able to meet in person Yuko Oneisan the host of the show and really nice chick. It was then I found out I would be up on stage and reciting lines given to me in Japanese not more than 5 minutes before getting up...... er... um.... now I am no fading flower nor am I known for my shy tendencies but the pressure was on, learn some new Japanese and then yell it out on stage in an accusation form as part of the show, this was going to end in disaster, as I got up on stag I was comforted in the fact that Mr. Kake was standing behind me translating most of what was happening, when a slap on the back came and a whisper "OK GO", now I am not sure if it was just me but I came out, I do not know how well but it came out LOL, most honored to be sharing the stage with some of Japans best known squidding folks and terrified that I will bring their show down with my poor Japanese. It seemed to work as there was lots of laughter and applause after and it was set up as a comedy type of routine. It was a lot of fun.

  I was on my way back towards the Gan Craft stand again stopping for more photo's along the way when on arrival I find Gekizo filming with fishing vision on the stand and some how before I knew it I was somehow worked into this footage also. Geki is a very famous Bass fishermen in Japan, and many people know me from featuring in some of his video clips so if anything would boost my profile in Japan time on screen with Geki does just that. He is a ball of energy and from the time he starts up in the morning till the time he rests he does not stop and I do not think any where I have been in Japan I have ever heard a bad word said about him , he is a very genuinely nice guy, when he was signing autographs at the stand for a short time it was amazing how quick the line grew and he stopped to talk to every person, sign what ever needed to be signed  got photo's with people and did what needed to be done to make others happy. I also met with Gekizo's brother Yu, now if Geki and Yu stand side by side I can not see the resemblance, the personality is the same but body not the same, if Yu and me stand side by side we share a common stomach so we are more physical brothers than Gekizo is.

I did manage to get around the show in short bursts with out too much stopping it was a very big and tiring day, so as the show finished we made a quick stop to the hotel and got ready for dinner with every one. Again the hospitality shown to me and also Steve was incredible, after a big feed some of us headed for the Sky bar at the Hyatt known for its views I did try and take some photo's but so much light on the levels made it hard to get a clear photo. While I was sipping away at a few Yamazki's I noticed a familiar face walk past, strangly enough with this being the Osaka Tackle show it could have been who I thought it was, I got my camera ready for when he came back past and sure enough I was right it was the great Skeet Reese from the US, a very famous Bass angler in his own right and ultimately one of the worlds best. Not only a cracking angler after a conversation it was easy to work out he was a great guy too.

This was a big day so enough of the typing I could go all day I will just post pictures as they tell the better story a lot clearer.
More photo's and signing autographs

This is my friend Akio

LOL billboard

filming with Geki


Mr Iwamoto and his Banana's

view from Sky Bar


Gosen Stand

Mr Hiraiwa and Gekizo talking at Segaur stand

Que for Gekizo autograph goes a long way around the corner.

Kids painting their own lures

Mt Hiraiwa on Fishing Vision stage

Girl from Gosen

Casting in the pool with Jackall

Sharcrazy and Kuma

Famous Rui Ueda from Damiki Japan

Gamakatsu more interested in fashion in Japan

trying to remember my lines so I write them on my hand

green room

Crowds running in after doors open

que 1

que 2

que 3

breakfast after too many beers the night before LOL