KW Morrow, White River

May 23rd, 2004

Trouts and Seasons of the Mountain Village
By KW Morrow (silvermallard)

I was aimlessly surfing the Internet this afternoon, waiting for the looming thunderheads to disgorge themselves of the moisture which they portended to deposit, when I stumbled upon the website of Japanese designer, fly-fisherman, and wildlife artist, Yoshikazu Fujioka, entitled "Trouts and Seasons of the Mountain Village." As a young man in the United States Navy, I spent three years living in Northern Japan. Much of my free time was spent exploring the high mountain lake region of Towada in the Hakoda Wilderness, and it was not uncommon for me to happen upon fly-fishermen on my hikes. But it was cost-prohibitive for a young American sailor in those days to fish legally in Japan ...especially fly-fishing. So I would sit quietly and watch these anglers ply their craft in the dramatic pastoral beauty of the Japanese countryside. Thus, it was with reminiscent intrigue that I began exploring Fujioka's website.

Copyright (c) 1997-2004 Yoshikazu Fujioka, used with permission

The story Fujioka tells to the ethereal audience through this modern medium that is the Internet is one of timeless natural beauty and the capacity of mankind to both appreciate its essence and to capture and share some portion of her gift with others. I could not help being struck by the transcendence of the fact that this Japanese businessman had combined the ancient arts of fly-fishing and painting with the modern skill of website design in much the same fashion as we do here in America. With deft manipulation of streams of ones and zeroes, paint and canvas, rod and reel, he touched me, stirred my memory and my soul, and conveyed a lifetime of practice, learning, observation, and joy…defying time and space in the process. The passion that would lead a man to create such a wonder of communication gave me pause to consider: what is it about fly-fishing that drives us - all of us - to share it with others? What transforms the simple practice of harvesting food from nature to a lifelong obsession and the desire to share that passion with those around us? Is it the connection we make with nature that becomes so tangible when we hook up with a trout? Is it the observation of the beauty around us? Or is there something about the rhythm and timing of the cast, the fastidiousness required of our knots and fly tying? Or is it all of the above?

And then, with the sudden and fitting clarity possessed and relished no better than by the Oriental mystics themselves, I realized my questions were standing in the way of the real object of my discovery. I took a deep breath and simply basked in the marvelous realization of what it means to be a fly-angler in the twenty first the anachronisms entwined in the moment...and by the shear weight of what it truly means to be a "fly-angler on-line."

To visit Fujioka's website for yourself, see . The artwork is superb in the tradition of the Japanese naturalists. The stories of fishing exploits, streams, and villages are rich with color and detail. The overview of trout and salmon species is complete with illustrations by the artist. And through it all Fujioka's passion for nature, his love of fishing, and his keenly Japanese sense of belonging to it all abounds. It makes for a very interesting cross-cultural experience on a rainy day when you aren't on your favorite stream. Enjoy. ~ Ken

About Ken:

Ken graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1988, and spent the next several years serving in the United States Navy as an intelligence analyst and Russian Language translator. He is a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Leaving the nation's service in 1993.

Ken is also a published outdoor writer and historian, having penned articles and stories that have appeared in several national hunting publications like North American Hunter magazine, on, in regional and local newspapers, and historical and literary journals. He also provides hunting and dog training seminars for Bass Pro Shops and other sporting goods retailers nationwide and works with other outdoors businesses and conservation organizations in the fields of public relations, promotional marketing, fund-raising, and advertising. He also is a partner in Silver Mallard Properties, LLC. He currently resides with his wife, Wilma, their Weimaraner, Smoky Joe, and their Labrador Retriever, Jake, in Branson, Missouri, where he founded the Branson/Tri-Lakes Chapter of Ducks Unlimited in 1998.

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