3. Canoeing in Kushiro River
Canoeing with the Kushiro Salmon Society was definitely one of my most favorite moments from the trip. I rode with Kosugi-san, who told me stories from his seventy plus years of living in Kushiro. Aside from hearing about local life in Kushiro, it was interesting to see the river from our point of view in the canoes, paddling upstream and then downstream. The river was full of life, from the plants to the small fish inhabiting the river. Though I have canoed in the past, it was my first time canoeing not as a tourist for leisure, but as an observer for academic purposes, allowing me to view Kushiro River (and rivers in general) from a whole new perspective.
It was my first time attending and presenting at a symposium. Though we had a limited amount of time to prepare and practice for our presentation and though our knowledge was limited compared to the speakers, I think that our class did a very good job. It was interesting to hear the visions and current projects of the speakers and the groups they represent, providing us with a deeper understanding of the complex issues concerning salmon aquaculture. One of the questions that came up during the open discussion was: how can we improve communication among the various groups involved, such as social scientists, local governments, fishing cooperative and other members of the community? I agree with Professor Yu that by holding a symposium like ours, though small in size, already places us one step closer to solidarity, providing us with a common space to speak a common language. I deeply believe that through increased communication and an effort to understand each others’ perspective, issues would be resolved.
1. BBQ Night
Good food with great people— barbecue night with the inspiring people we had met during our time in Hokkaido was, by far, the most memorable of all. Not only were we lucky enough to try some of the region’s best seafood, including oysters and crabs, but we also had the opportunity to talk more with the local people about their vision and their current projects. Kosugi-san, who seemed to be very curious about other countries’ efforts in solving environmental issues, and I talked about river restoration in other countries. It was clear to see how much he cared for the salmon and the rivers, to which he has dedicated most of his life, thus serving as an inspiration for us all.