Business travelers often seek ways to inject a little fun into their journeys.
Steve Sattler and Richard Ray certainly did. Sent to Japan to evaluate manufacturing equipment, the two West Virginians spent part of a day doing in Japan what they enjoy doing back home - fly fishing for trout.
Sattler said he got the idea shortly after he learned that he and Ray were to visit the Land of the Rising Sun.
"Any time I travel, I try to find opportunities to fly fish," said Sattler, who lives in Canvas. "I had heard about tenkara [a Japanese method of fly fishing with long rods and fixed lengths of line], so I figured they must have trout over there."
Turns out they did. In fact, the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido has good fishing for salmon, steelhead, rainbow and brown trout in addition to a couple of native trout species.
That didn't really help Sattler and Ray, who were headed for Honshu, Japan's main island. So Sattler called Masayuki Araki at MaXtream Fly Fishing Studio and asked for help.
"Masa was extremely helpful. He's located on Hokkaido, so he couldn't serve as our guide, but he did a lot of legwork and identified some wild trout streams in the general area where we'd be staying," Sattler said.
On July 10, the two men set out for Nagoya, Japan's third-largest city and one of its most important manufacturing centers. A 2-hour flight got them to Detroit, and a 13-hour flight carried them to Japan.
They spent the next few days evaluating wood-products machinery and their evenings being wined and dined by their Japanese hosts.
"On [July 15], we had some free time," Sattler said. "Mr. Tame, our main host, agreed to help us get out of the city for a day of fishing. He went out of his way to make sure we enjoyed our visit."
A 2-hour drive took the men almost all the way across the island to Otaki, a village about 50 miles southwest of Nagano, site of the 1998 Winter Olympics.
"The geography and terrain were very reminiscent of West Virginia," Ray said. "The streams we fished were tributaries of the Kiso River."
Sattler and Ray visited the Otaki village hall to get their fishing licenses.