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Yoyogi Park isn’t just for the rockabillies and the aspiring idols of Japan – in a far corner, every weekend, Atsuhiko Kida sets up his slackline. 代々木公園は、ロカビリーや将来を夢見て練習しているスターの卵たちだけの場所ではありません。公園内に深く進んだある一角で、木田充彦さんは毎週末スラックラインを張っています。

From afar, you see Kida-san sauntering along the strip of webbing stretched between two trees, about two feet off the ground. 遠くから近づいていくと、木田さんが二本の木の間に張られた細いラインの上を優雅に散歩している姿が見えてきます。

He jumps, as if the narrow strip were a trampoline. Lands back on the line. Grins. ふいに彼は勢いをつけて飛び上がります。そして、ふたたびラインの上に舞い降りると、にこやかに微笑みます。ラインは微動だにしません。それはまるでトランポリンの上にいるかのようで、彼は細いラインの上を自由自在に動くことができるのです。

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Come try it, he says, as you come closer to take a picture. 写真を撮ろうと近づいていくと、彼は「やってみませんか?」と明るく誘ってきます。

It looks so easy. It’s not that high off the ground. Okay. You put down your camera. He helps you up. You take one wobbly step and fall off. You laugh together. You try it again. Then you come back every weekend.

簡単そうに見えるし、地面からそう離れてもいないので怖くもなさそうです。よし! カメラを置いて挑戦してみることにします。彼がサポートしてくれるので、怖くはありません。ラインの上にあがると予想以上に不安定で、一歩足を出そうとするとすぐに落ちてしまいます。でも楽しいから一緒に笑って、もう一度挑戦!それでもなかなかうまくできずに悔しいので、あなたはきっと毎週末来るようになるに違いありません。

Like many people who do slackline, Kida-san is a serious rock climber. Slackline is one of the ways he hones balance and concentration between trips to the mountains. Check out this short video of Kida-san  free-climbing a boulder that has no visible holds whatsoever!


武井修平は日本語に訳書しました。本当にありがとうございました、修平さん!Many thanks to Shuhei Takei for providing the Japanese translation!

If you’d like to visit Yoyogi Park the next time you’re in Tokyo, directions & a map are on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.

Jonelle Patrick is the author of  four novels set in Tokyo

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car with two strangers. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more


Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

5 thoughts on “Slackline Leave a comment

    • Wow, thanks! I have a new camera that lets me do a burst of 8 shots, so I can catch an action series now. Plus it’s hard to take a bad picture of Kida-san – he has a sort of natural dancer’s grace when he’s on the line.

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