Takayuki Nakamura the Free-Diving Fisherman

The iconic Takayuki Nakamura has a truly interesting and inspiring life. Spending the majority of his mornings under the sea, noons chilling in the Onsen spas, and evenings in the community center Mabuya, Nakamurasan is by far the most amphibious person I know personally. Whether he is on land or in the water, he is always a good spirited, energetic, humorous and passionate character.

His hobby/career involves diving incredibly deep into the western ocean currents to collect precious turban shells  and abalone.  He also harvests a ton of seaweed which he brings home to process and package under his own brand.

Not so delicious in my opinion, but value and scarcity is what makes delicacies a delicacy!
Large abalones, with a great lump of meat and a pretty shell used for jewelry

Nakamurasan has been diving for over 15 years now, and is incredibly passionate about it. In his early life, he was not always a fond of swimming. His mom would force him to take swimming classes, which he would secretly avoid because he did not enjoy it.  He would instead spend his time hanging around and eating Oden when he was supposed to be in class. Before heading home he would then wet his clothes to trick his mom into thinking that he actually went to class. Of course, this backfired when his mom realized that his clothes do not smell of pool water. We all know you cannot fool a mother.

Despite despising swimming classes, he does recall enjoying some parts of it. Particularly the last 5 minutes when they had free time. He remembered that he loved diving to the bottom of the pool whenever he had the chance.

But as life proceeded, he worked as an assistant in several eateries in the Saitama prefecture. He was landlocked from any seas at this point, and life was not looking too bright for him.

So one day he found himself in a library, and stumbled across a book called Homo Delphinus, The Dolphin Within Man by Jacques Mayol, the incredible story of the world’s best free-diver. This book became the turning point of Nakamurasan’s life and since then he knew the seas were calling.

At the time of his enlightenment, his dreams were impeded by the fact that free-diving was not so popular yet in Japan. But he found one place in Japan that was recruiting people for skin diving training from a magazine, and it was here in Daisen. He was accepted and the training initiated. He explained how training was incredibly difficult as an apprentice of a fisherman. Going without food for a whole day, so that diving would be easier, as well as getting used to the wet suits without falling was tremendously tough.

But determination and diligence has brought him now 15 years later to become a well renowned fisherman, and he loves it. On a usual day he would dive 10 meters to collect his bread on a single breath. And nothing makes him happier than being in the water. He is doing what he loves, and at the same time this type of fishing is incredibly well paid. “Fishing as a free-diver is the most efficient, non-time consuming job ever!” he explains. He works only few days a week, during several seasons per year, and for the rest he has all the time to devote to his wife, dog, and of course his community.

So, besides fishing, Nakamurasan is also a very active community member. His spends all if not most of his time volunteering, organizing and managing community events as a vice president for the community.

I am very glad to have met someone like Nakamurasan. I really enjoyed conversing with him despite having an immense language barrier. But this barrier did not block what I felt and saw through him. To me, he is someone who has followed his heart and tread the hardest waters to attain what could have been an unbelievable goal to most people. His personal strength and optimism has definitely inspired me. He has his office at Mabuya, and that is where you can find this incredible speciman.

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