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On Aug. 8, 2007, I was allowed to join the Imazu Jr. High School Rowing Club as they rowed from Nagahama to Imazu. Photo: A briefing by the club's coach before departure in front of a minshuku lodge near Nagahama Castle.
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This "Biwako shuko" (Rowing around Lake Biwa) between Imazu and Nagahama was the club's annual summer tradition since 1995. Photo: Assembling a two-man kayak.
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On the day before, they were supposed to row from Imazu to Nagahama, but high waves forced cancellation. So they were bused to Nagahama where they stayed overnight. Photo: Carrying the kayak to the lake, passing by Nagahama Castle.
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Almost 50 members in the club, and almost all of them participated in this rowing trip. Some of them did this for the third time. Photo: Carrying life vests. All rowers are required to wear life vests.
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In the morning, two fishing boats pulled the rowing boats from Imazu to Nagahama Port where we met them here. 今津中学校ボート部の琵琶湖周航
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They used five boats to row, including these two ocean scull boats.
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Two fixed-seat boats were also used.
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Off we go, boys on one fixed-seat boat.
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And girls on the other fixed-seat boat. These boats have fixed seats which do not slide as in modern rowing boats. This boat is a replica of the fixed-seat boat used 90 years ago by Oguchi Taro and crew when he wrote the song, Biwako Shuko no Uta.
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I wanted to experience rowing this fixed-seat boat on Lake Biwa, and rowed with these jr. high girls from Nagahama Port. 千秋・太郎号のフィックス艇
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"We're children of the lake, off to wander 'round..." (Mt. Ibuki in the distance)「われは湖の子...」
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"This journey fills my heart with intense happiness..."「さすらいの 旅にしあれば しみじみと」
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Yes, replenishing your fluids is important...
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We were far behind, so a support boat pulled us along. Two fishing boats provided support for the rowing trip.
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"Hira and Ibuki too, only but a dream"
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After about an hour, our first on-shore break, nears Sports no Mori in northern Nagahama.
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Our fixed-seat boat 千秋・太郎号のフィックス艇
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Twin fixed-seat boats. One is named "Chiaki/Taro" and the other is called "Yodo," after Yodogawa River in Osaka. Lake Biwa's water feeds Yodogawa River.
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Rowers changed boats. Those without a rowing boat were transported on the fishing boats.
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Ocean scull
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Chikubushima and ocean scull
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Chikubushima and fixed-seat boat
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Three ocean sculls wander in front of Mt. Ibuki
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Chugging along on a fishing boat.
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Getting a free ride were these girls heading for Sugaura, a small town on the northern shore of Lake Biwa.
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Ocean scull rowers and a sickly Chikubushima going bald. The numerous cormorants are killing off the trees on the island.
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Heading toward Sugaura, Nishi-Azai in northern Lake Biwa.
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Approaching Sugaura
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Boys posing for a picture at Sugaura
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Lunch break at Sugaura, a scenic lakeside town. It is also where the scenic Oku Biwako Parkway road starts.
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Fixed-seat boat フィックス艇
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I love the design of this boat. 千秋・太郎号のフィックス艇
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This boat's name is "Chiaki/Taro," named after the writer (Oguchi Taro) and composer (Yoshida Chiaki) of the song, Biwako SHuko no Uta.
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Top view. We were rowing on a work of art. More about Biwako Shuko no Uta here.
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Sugaura
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Departing Sugaura
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Departing Sugaura with Chikubushima in the background.
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Fixed-seat boats
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Fishing boat for human transport. It was a very hot day with no wind.
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Boys watch their classmates row.
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Rowing away from Sugaura
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"With our sights set nowhere, rolling with the waves..."「ゆくえ定めぬ、波枕」
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Off Makino Sunny Beach
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Fixed-seat boat with Mt. Ibuki and Chikubushima in the background. 千秋・太郎号のフィックス艇
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"Today is Imazu or, Nagahama huh..."「今日は今津か 長浜か」
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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All-girl crew pose for a picture. The rowing club has more girls than boys. はい、ポーズ!
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Sleek boat slicing through the water.
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They refused to be pulled by the fishing boat. They wanted to row all the way home to Imazu.
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Catch, row, catch, row...
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Fixed-seat boats and ocean sculls rendezvous toward home in Imazu.
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Target destination in sight
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Imazu boathouse
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Bringing the boat to dock.
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The boat is first carried onto a trolley.
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Hauling the fixed-seat boat to the boat house
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Water drain
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Fixed seat
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Oarlock on fixed-seat boat
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Cox seat and rudder (removed). Beautiful boat, and I'm darn happy to have rowed on this rare boat. Felt almost like Oguchi Taro.
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Inside the boat house
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"Tell us my friends your stories, with your fervent hearts."「語れ我がが友 暑き心」 Also see my YouTube video here.
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My video of Imazu Junior High School Rowing Club on Lake Biwa.
 
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