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Story 2010 Seeking carp at the antipodes - Part 1

Page history last edited by Jerome Moisand 12 years, 5 months ago

Seeking carp at the antipodes (Part 1: Japan)

 

When

July 2010

Where

Tokyo, Sydney and Brisbane

Who

The entire Moisand family

See also

Antipodes Part 2 (Australia)

Picasa pics album

 


Introduction

 

A few years ago, I went through one of those grueling business trips, visiting many customers in multiple countries. Along the way, I had the opportunity to see a little bit of Tokyo and spend a week-end in Sydney. And I decided to organize a big family trip in those two beautiful cities. They aren't located exactly at the antipodes of Boston, but not so far from it, as there is an 13 hours time difference between Tokyo and Boston, and 14 hours between Sydney and Boston! Yeah, this is about as bad as it can be in terms of jet lag...

 

It took a little while to get the trip organized, I had originally planned it for 2009, didn't happen, but we were finally ready to go this summer. We spent 3 full weeks sightseeing many locations in Tokyo, Sydney and Brisbane and took nearly 4000 pics, there is a LOT to tell. This specific story solely focuses on our occasional search for local carp, plus a few interactions with local wildlife. This is a two-part story, starting by Japan, then Australia.

 


Tokyo

 

Carp actually started to show up real fast, we arrived at the Narita airport in Tokyo after a looong flight, and early in the morning, the view from the hotel room made me open big eyes! The hotel had a great Japanese garden, and as it should be, a few ponds full of kois! If you find some of them strangely shaped, they were actually grass carp (I had no idea that grass carp existed in koi variety too). 

 

 

Close to the hotel, we stumbled upon a "fishing club", actually a rental place where one could get a boat and some tackle and fish for an hour or two. And carp were prominently described as one possible species to catch! I didn't try (the water was full of weeds and the fishing gear way too light), although Edith kept nagging me about it. Maybe I should have...

 

 

I was therefore quite hopeful when I saw the map of the Tokyo imperial gardens, surrounded by moats, and with several ponds inside. This actually proved very disappointing, the gardens were very bland, and no carp nor kois in sight. The only sign of fish was this sculpture...

 

 

To our complete surprise, the various gardens and parks we visited during our week in Tokyo were also seriously lacking any carp presence. Actually, some of them had ponds with salt water, like the Hama-rikyu gardens. 

 

 

The Sumida river flows through Tokyo to the sea, and we took a local ferry to reach a remote suburb where a beautiful temple can be visited. I was very amused to see advertisement for Del Monte (which is my preferred brand for sweet corn!), and this was clearly a sign as we saw afterwards that carp were described as one of the local species in this river (the very first species on the map of the river below).

 

 

I still hadn't found any live carp except in the hotel garden though. In last resort, I decided to go check the Tokyo fish market (the Tsukiji market), which is the largest in the world. This was... quite an experience to say the least, but I actually didn't find any carp in there. Many other species though. 

 

 

At the exit of the market, we found quite a few shops selling sushi (of course!) and also various fish-centric small food shops. After visiting the fish market, we had to pass! Later in the week, we did buy some of those funny "lunch boxes" at the train station, and Felix made the mistake of buying one which included some carp-like fish in the recipe, and man, this was NOT good (the other ones were much more edible).

 

 

I just couldn't believe that the country breeding so many beautiful koi would have so little representation of carp. It took a visit to another type of market to finally find some clothes with some carp drawings. Edith bought me a nice shirt, and this seems the right place to also include a pic of one of the workers at the fish market!

 

 

We spent many hours walking in almost all the main areas of Tokyo, and decided to give a break to the kids by visiting a local zoo in the Ueno neighborhood. This zoo is located in the middle of a large park, and without believing any more that this would yield any results, I decided to go check the corresponding ponds, which proved to be completely invaded by some local aquatic plant. But wait... check the first pic carefully... Could this be? Yes, carp!

 

 

Quite a few carp were actually roaming under those plants, plus a few catfish. We were up for quite a surprise when walking a bit further along the fence. Now we're speaking! A few of those carp were actually quite big, up to mid-twenties, I would guess. Only two kois though, in a big pack of commons.

 

 

We did visit the zoo afterwards, and guess what was the very first species we saw? A couple of more carp! Then we proceeded to see more exotic species, and were quite amused by the cute little signs instructing visitors to behave!

 

 

While I was visiting the zoo with Felix and Valentin, Edith and Alexis had chosen to visit a large art museum nearby, and they came back with a few carp pics too! 

 

 

The final proof that carp are indeed numerous in Japan came from a local bookstore where to my surprise, I found a fishing magazine dedicated to our favorite quarry! I also found another one apparently documenting the location of a lot of good fishing spots. I can't say that I understand much of the magazine I bought (cover below), but there was a report of the world cup in Madine (to which a Japanese team participated!), plus various rigs, some Euro-like (I guess this is the "new style" the magazine title refers to) while others seemed to be more old style (e.g. using several hooks, etc). And... a few nice carp in those pages, 20 to 30 pounds. That's it, I have to come back one day and fish for carp in Japan!

 

 


What about Australia?

 

After spending one week in Tokyo, we traveled to Australia, and this is another story that you can read by clicking here!

 

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