From left: haze goby rod very nearing completion; new planned shirogisu whiting rod, for deeper (approx. 15m) water; herabuna rod awaiting wrapping with silk thread; spare bamboo of various types for the rod butts (one will almost certainly be made into a fugu rod). After completing my first rod, my teacher steadfastly refused to give me any more bamboo from his stores and told me to go and find it myself. This turned out to not be from meanness, but in fact was a deliberate ploy for me to learn, the hard way, about bamboo: where to buy it; how to appraise the uncut bamboo – either in its raw state or partially fired; how to tell whether the wood is infested with burrowing insect larvae (and the tricks certain dealers will use to conceal this) and how to judge or foresee to what the use the different types of bamboo can and can’t be put to. I made many trips to several different stores throughout Tokyo, talked as much as possible to the owners and most importantly, went through innumerable bundles of stocks and felt and examined the bamboo with my own hands – it leaves the hands filthy, incidentally – and picked and paid for the ones I thought would be good. It proved to be a most rapid and brutal education, with me returning to the studio several weeks later with a bundle of various pieces of bamboo, and my teacher going through them and discussing the merits and faults of each, and comparing this with my own ideas and conclusions. In all, I came up with enough bamboo for maybe five or six new rods, and of these one – the new planned whiting rod – I look forward to as it is the same style as my previous rod, and so I know the general methodology required and can do most of the work at home. The hera and fugu rods will be new territory for me, so I have to take them back to the studio for the next step forward. The hera rod in particular I am keen on, as herabuna fishing is something I want to explore a lot this year.