On Saturday, the 20th of October, the MSA Kanto team organized for the first time an exciting outdoors activity: a half-day whitewater rafting trip at Okutama!
The idea was to offer an opportunity to our community members to get together and try something fun and energizing, that complements the very insightful job-hunting, research and networking scholarly meetings MSA has been organizing for its members.
Six members of the Kanto regional team gathered on Saturday morning, Oct. 28th to catch the train to Okutama. The sunny sky and a light autumn breeze made the day ideal for an outdoor activity. Upon arrival at JR Ome Station, we were picked up with a van by our rafting guide from the company “Forest & Water Okutama”, who drove us to their base camp.
Along the route we had the time to enjoy the scenery on this beautiful day and got to casually chat and know our tour guide better. Going through registration was a breeze, and in no time we were already in our wetsuits and safety vests and on our way to the banks of Tama River.
There, we joined a second team and were explained in detail all the safety & rescue precautions and paddling instructions necessary to enjoy a safe rafting experience.
Nevertheless, at this time of the year, river waters are not quite deep and currents are not so strong, so we could enjoy a splashing experience without it being really physical demanding.
And so we boarded on our raft and glided into the waters of the Tama River!
Along the route we got to play and interact in small, spontaneous “races” with the second team.
As we passed by magnificent forests and under impressive bridges we got to greet many locals and other people enjoying watersports in the river or camping on the riverbanks, enjoying the rejuvenating nature.
At a point where the waters were quite shallow, we had the chance to dive into the river and to float and splash around. Even in October, this was very fun and not cold at all, as we were equipped with special wetsuits and shoes.
Then, always under the supervision of our experienced and certified tour guide, we tried diving off a cliff into deep waters, which was probably the most thrilling part of our tour and for some of us, the very first time doing so!
As our journey reached its end, we approached a point at the riverbank where another representative of our tour provider was waiting for us, to load the rafts on the van and head back.
A hot shower and a delicious meal complemented our trip before heading back to Tokyo, worked out but feeling refreshed by this exhilarating experience. After all, what better way to end a weekend than with a relaxed Sunday to start off a new week with replenished energy!
MSA would like to thank all its members who joined us and enjoyed this first-time event. We are currently planning to introduce other fun and exciting activities of this kind over the next months, since we believe that scholars also need to chill and have fun, don’t you think? : )
Finally, we would also like to thank our tour provider “Forest & Water Okutama” for their friendly staff and excellent service.
Join the fun! We are looking forward to see you at our future activities and events!
Written by Harry Krekoukiotis. Photos by Harry Krekoukiotis & “Forest & Water Okutama”.