I MET Tohori Tsuchiya during a Conservation International (CI)-organised trip to the Sovi Basin two weekends ago. We were introduced at the office which CI shares with National Trust of Fiji at Ma'afu St in Domain, Suva before we left for Nadakuni Village in Naitasiri.
The 24-year-old is here for an internship at the University of the South Pacific and CI. Tohori came over with three other Japanese students who are all studying for their masters in environmental management at Kyoto University's Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies. He and the other three are here to, as he puts it "to gain experience on enveironmental issues".
The student from the university located in Japan's ancient capital has been in the country since the begining of Spetember and has so far been to Navala and Votua villages in Ba, Nataleira Village in Dawasamu, Tailevu and Nabuna Village on Koro Island in the Lomaiviti Group. He spent eight days at Nabuna, his longest in a village, where he went fishing on the reef, uprooting cassava from the garden and drinking yaqona every single night.
The Oiso native, which is a small town near Tokyo, says he is very much interested in a job overseas when he graduates. He hasn't narrowed it down to the specifics but says that whatever it will be, it will have to be something that deals with community development.
Tohori, who is the eldest of three siblings, has a 21-year-old brother at university in Tokyo and a 12-year-old sister at school in their howetown of Oiso.
After walking more than two hours on Friday from Nadakuni to our camp site and then spending eight hours in the Sovi River on Saturday, I was eager to find out what he thought of our trip into the Sovi Basin.
Tohori said: "The trip to Sovi was an awesome adventure. Walking up the river, climbing huge rocks, and sometimes swimming down the rapid Sovi River was not easy but the weather and atmosphere were perfect.
"After four hours of hiking up the stream, and then coming back on the bamboo raft, bilibili, was exciting!"
He says he would like to go to Levuka before he heads back home.