So last year I received an invite from the Norwegian Nihon Ken Club to be a guest speaker at their annual members meeting. I accepted, and arrived mid-January prepared for freezing temperatures and massive amounts of snow. Fortunately, it's been a mild winter, and this poor Japanese soul from balmy Chiba did not have to freeze. It did drop down to minus 5 one night, but all in all it was very very acceptable weather. 

It was great to be able to see friends I hadn't seen in a while (some online friends that I'd never met in person too), and to get that first time visit to Norway. The end of the year is always a very busy time for me (and the hunting season is in swing) but I managed to work like a maniac to put together a cohesive powerpoint (I think!). The presentation was primarily about hunting with the Nihon Ken, the history of the breeds, things like that. Since I went through all the trouble of collating the years of material I've collected, I'll start sharing it on the blog as time allows.

One big take away from this trip was realizing just how little information about the Japanese breeds and the breed standards is available outside of Japan. From the Japanese viewpoint, we wonder why the breeds change so quickly (in 1 or 2 generations) once they are overseas, and I think there's a lot of negativity attached to that. But what do we expect if there's no information or data, and no teachers? I'm motivated to get back to sharing more of that type of information here on the blog.

All in all I really enjoyed Norway. The country's beautiful, the people were friendly and intelligent, and I really enjoyed the feel and vibe of everything. It's one of those places where I thought, 'I could live here with my dogs.' A large part of that was learning through this trip about the hunting dog culture in Northern Europe, and their spitz type hunting breeds. More than anywhere else in the world, I believe the northern Europeans are actually using the Japanese breeds for their original purpose, hunting. The Nihon Ken population is primarily Shiba (I hear there are 2000 Shiba in Norway now), but they are doing all sorts of dog sports with them, and of course hunting and blood tracking etc. It was very impressive, and I will be sharing in the near future some of the videos and pictures I was given by many of the owners. Impressive stuff which makes me very hopeful for the future of the Nihon Ken!