JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

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Seta Rowing Club's 2-story clubhouse located in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture. The club is a registered NPO. The club is named after Seta River at the southern tip of Lake Biwa. Regattas are also held on the river, Lake Biwa's sole outflowing river.
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Seta Rowing Club's clubhouse. Boats are stored on the bottom floor, while the 2nd floor has office space, ergo machines, meeting room, locker room, etc. Web site here
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Oars and boats stored on the bottom floor. The club offers 2-hour rowing lessons on Sundays during May to Nov. Address: 6-1 Ogaya, Otsu, Shiga 520-2144 Japan. Phone/Fax: 077-545-9961, Email: info@setarc.jp
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Many boats are made in Italy.
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Right across the clubhouse is the Annex boat house.
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Club's boat dock. This narrow canal leads to Lake Biwa.
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Rowing exercise machines called "ergometers" or "ergo" or "indoor rower." In Japan, they call it "ergo." エルゴThe machine measures the energy you expend rowing. Also measures how fast and far you rowed if you were on water. They even have ergo rowing contests which is a sport itself.
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The rowing lesson starts with an ergo workout.
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Carrying the boat.
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Sleek rudder and steering cables
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Rowing seat with moving seat on rails, fixed shoes, and outrigger for the oar.
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Carrying the boat to water.
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Inserting the oars into the outriggers.
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Ready to row on a "quad" sculling race boat. Each person rows with two oars.Sorry for the small image.
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We now enter Lake Biwa.
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Lake Biwa Rowing Course operated by Shiga Prefecture for major rowing regattas. It is near the head of Seta River, and very near Seta Rowing Club.
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Oars keep the unstable boat stable.
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The oar handles overlap when you pull them. Often my hands bumped into each other.
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Shoes are fixed to a small, angled platform.
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After a neat rowing trip, the boat is lifted out of the water.
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Rinsing the shell with fresh water.
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The boat is pencil-thin.
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Rinsing the oars.
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Entrance and road to the rowing clubhouse
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Near the rowing club is the Lake Biwa Rowing Course where regattas are held. 滋賀県立琵琶湖漕艇場
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Rowed all the way to Seta Karahashi Bridge and the shinkansen tracks. It was my first time rowing on a racing boat, and not too difficult even for a beginner.
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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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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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Kyoto University Rowing Club at Chomeiji in Aug. 2006 during their annual Lake Biwa rowing trip. 写真/尾城徹雄
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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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Kyoto University Rowing Club's official 2017 calendar includes "Lake Biwa Rowing Song" English lyrics for the 1st time. Front cover of the calendar made by Tetsuo Oshiro.
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Kyoto University Rowing Club's official 2017 calendar includes "Lake Biwa Rowing Song" English lyrics for the 1st time. Back cover of the calendar made by Tetsuo Oshiro.
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During Aug. 2008, the Imazu Junior High School Rowing Club also held a photo exhibition of their rowing trip across Lake Biwa held in Aug. 2007.
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The photo exhibition was held at the Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan museum. Many of the photos were also contributed by Philbert Ono.
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The exhibition explained their experiences during the two-day rowing trip between Imazu and Nagahama and back. Photos of the rowing trip here.
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Also introduced the Imazu Regatta. Also see my YouTube video here.
 
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