A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of being invited to take part in Outdoor Shop K’s first Arborist Seminar in Tachikawa, in the Greater Tokyo area. Before that I spent three days in the Nagano prefecture in Ookamura with the Maruichi crew, discussing planning for emergency and rescue protocols, as well as hands-on, practical rescue techniques. Once again, on this visit I teamed up with Paul Poynter and Takashi Osaka, who as always did a fantastic job of translating my ramblings.
The location in Ookamura was very beautiful, with a panoramic view of the Japanese Alps. The topic was planning for emergency and aerial rescue. I love these sessions, as they always feel… meaningful and relevant. On the third day, running scenarios develops a dynamic that is hard not to be affected by. After all, during these, scenes are being emulated where a team mate has sustained serious injuries. The Maruichi parameters proved to be especially challenging, as they do a lot of clearance work for Japan Rail, often in remote sites with a long walk in and often in steep terrain. Obviously , this poses its own set of challenges when it comes to defining emergency procedures. But then again, exactly therein lies the challenge of running these sessions: if you were simply to apply the same template to every situation, this would be quite hollow in view of the diversity of situations in which treework is performed, as it would be a crass over-simplification.
The Maruichi team were very professional and dedicated to moving forwards and were a true pleasure to work with.
I also had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in the Poynter household, which I greatly appreciated as this gives you context and a better understanding of a place. There is nothing worse than staying in a hotel to totally dissociate yourself from the realities of living in a place. Apart from that the Paul and his family were very gracious and generous hosts.
The ODSK event in Tachikawa was also very interesting – in a different way from the days in Ookamura. The Arborist Seminar brought together arborists to discuss a range of topics, the first day was made up of formal presentations, the second was practical demos in a forest park. One red thread during many of the sessions was anchor point selection. This, as you know if you are a regular reader of the treemagineers blog, is a topic that is close to my hear and that I can bang on about interminably.
Kei-San and the team at ODSK also made me feel very welcome and threw a pretty spectacular party after the event on the Saturday evening.
On Sunday we got wet. And eaten by mosquitoes. It was, to employ that popular Irish euphemism, an extremely soft day, but again, everybody was very focused and got stuck in, so we made it through the day, albeit a bit soggy round the edges 😬
I would like to thank all who attended these events (and braved the elements on Sunday) and of course the persons who organised and made it all possible.
I take a lot away from days such as these…