Full-Time Tenkara Junkie TJ, What were you thinking?

On November 2, 2012
Comments (18)

Many of our customers will be delighted to know we convinced a very talented guy to join Tenkara USA full time. It’s a milestone for Tenkara USA, but more importantly, it is a major life decision for the person everyone who calls or emails us knows as TJ.  I wanted to write about him joining Tenkara USA full-time this week, so I bluntly (though hesitantly) asked him the question that I’m sure was in his mind all day today and yesterday, the first two days after he left a stable and lucrative job to join Tenkara USA full-time: “TJ, what were you thinking?”

The story of him joining us a bit over a year ago is interesting, and I hope what he has to say about why he joined us full-time will be inspiring. I’ll stop at saying that I’m stoked to have TJ, along with his work-ethics and insights, joining us full-time.

“So, TJ, why did you decide to take the plunge and join Tenkara USA? What were you thinking?”

TJ Tenkara USA Customer Service
“What was I thinking? hmmmmmm…..

What was I thinking?” …… …….. …

I think I heard my wife say the same thing when I told her I was closing down MacSociety and going to work for Tenkara USA full time (hehehe).

Michelle probably thought the same thing that your wife Margaret thought when you left your high-paying secure job and told her you were going to open Tenkara USA and sell these sleek carbon fiber fly rods…… are you nuts! 😎

In all reality, I have always been one of those crazy ones, the kind of person that when I make up my mind on something, I do what it takes to make it happen. Going after something and achieving it after hard work has been something I have been doing all my life. One more recent event happened for me 7 years ago when I opened my own one man IT company, MacSociety, and for 7 years grew it into a nice full-time occupation. As much as I enjoyed this experience working for myself and being my own boss, normally the IT field means one is on call 24/7, and I kind of built myself into a corner. The corner meant being on call 24/7 for the rest of my days or hiring someone to help being on call 24/7 and growing my on company to the next level.

I chose to move on because I don’t wish to put that burden on anyone else, being on call 24/7, being tied to a cell phone everywhere you go, and basically missing out on life. So, I decided to cut it off right now and move to the next chapter of my life and not putting someone else in the same boat as I was.

Man, have I missed out on so many years but I finally saw a glimer of hope when I stumbled across this tenkara in 2009 on the Internet. Back then it was a little spark of hope that has turned 180 degrees and is now a big roaring fire in my life, and I plan on stoking this fire for the rest of my time on this place we call earth.

In the end, I choose happiness!

It was time to leave the world of IT and for once do something I truly love! Be in a business that I am truly passionate about, one that I can learn something new everyday, one that I can meet other equally passionate folks, one that I can grow with from the ground up, and one day work with other Tenkara USA employees I can call family.

Add to that, more time to learn about tenkara! Now I can have my weekends back to fish, to practice, to take travels to meet other tenkara folks, and to create a whole live centered around something I digg, tenkara fly fishing.

Not many people will know this, but when you contacted me about helping out because you were going to Japan for 2 months (May 2011), I had my own company to run. So, for the last 1.5 years, I have not only been running my own company that kept me busy 24/7, but took over most of the day to day customer service functions of another growing company, Tenkara USA. So, I have been a very busy guy!

But, all the extra work was worth it for me as I had a dream my friend, and I knew one day I would be working with and for you at Tenkara USA. I figured to make this happen, it was time to jump in with both feet, both arms, and my whole mind.

Therefore, for me, it was an easy decision. Yes it is a crazy one but I am the right kind of crazy for the job. 😎

Therefore on November 1st 2012, I turned off that IT switch in my head and instead turned up the tenkara swich to brighten my days and nights for the rest of my days.

As for your question “why did you decide to take the plunge and join Tenkara USA?”, here are my thoughts…

I consider Tenkara USA the market leader in introducing tenkara to the world. It all starts from the top, and to be successful, the one at the helm needs to be passionate about what they do and create. I see that in you Daniel, and I see tenkara going some great places because of your desire to spread this fly fishing style to those outside of Japan. It does not appear to be about the money for you, but for making fly fishing a simple pleasure that everyone can enjoy. So I have the utmost confidence that tenkara is not a fad and is here to stay, and that Tenkara USA is and will continue to be the market leader in introducing tenkara to those around the globe. I want to and I AM part of this ride we call Tenkara USA.


At 46, I am already getting fairly bald, or fairly thin up top, and what I have left is grey. I am at the age where pulling a muscle here and there means months and months of it healing, or never healing at all. I have aches and pains that I did not have in my 30s. Means in 4 years I get my 1st colonoscopy at 50 and I have so much to look forward to. hehehe.

My belly and beard style has me resembling a short Santa Claus and I am mostly a very jolly guy. I get along with pretty much anyone and have always been a positive person.

Fairly happy in life, but now is the time to put things in motion so soon I wake up every day with a smile on my face, knowing that I am making a difference, and to enjoy what I am doing.

I want to become a life-long student of tenkara and have a desire to improve my fishing abilities every chance I get.

So in the future I see a little more lean but still Santa’esque grey bearded smiling tenkara fisherman that helps others learn tenkara, spreading the joys that tenkara has brought into my life, being that guy that works at Tenkara USA that was one of the first to join the ship and help drive this passion in others and will still be part of this great company when even you Daniel, is grey, thin haired, and has a mini santa belly of your own. 😎

Thomas “TJ” Ferreira
Director Customer Service at Tenkara USA
“the Tenkara Junkie”

TJ, Tenkara USA customer service

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18 Responses to Full-Time Tenkara Junkie TJ, What were you thinking?

  1. I should be the first to comment: TJ, congratulations on the big decision. As I have told you, I see this move of yours as a big responsibility resting on me at this point and I’ll continue doing everything I can to ensure the longevity and leadership of Tenkara USA.
    Now, have a great weekend – turn off your cell phone and emails and go fishing. I promise I won’t call.

  2. TJ, CONGRATS! I have been impressed and liked you from day when i took up Tenkara. BIG decision, but you are DA MAN!!!!

  3. Congratulations, TJ. I hope full time status is as great for you as starting with Tenkara USA has been for me. Thank you for being so patient and helpful to work with.

  4. Congratulation from Norway.

  5. Craig says:

    Super awesome TJ, now go have some weekend fun.

  6. Congratulations TJ! Must feel great. They say if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. Welcome to blissful unemployment. :)

  7. TJ Ferreira says:

    Thanks all…. I am pretty excited today. My 1st weekend of not officially being On Call for about the last 15 years.

    Plan on heading out for a drive to a place that has NO CELL ACCESS and enjoying nature and a nice Saturday drive in the foothills of Cali.

    I just posted a forum thread about the “Never ending wave of excitement tenkara brings into my life” and one of the very first things I have fond memories of that grabbed me about tenkara.

    Maybe this same video also captured you and your hearts.

    I already have visions to the 2013 season and plan on starting an “everyday” tenkara fly fishing workout. Hell with getting up and jogging, working out, sweating to some heart pumping cardio. I will be hitting the creeks and streams almost every morning in Spring 2013 and get at least an hour of fishing and practicing this tenkara craft in before my workday starts. Then after work, look out local creeks, here I come. 😎

    Thanks again folks for the well wishes.


  8. JDSmith says:

    To one of the best customer service people the business. I won’t say I look forward to speaking to you because that usually means I’ve broken one of my rods (lol), but if I do, I will be glad I’m dealing with you TJ. You have always been at the top of your game. Congratulation to you TJ. And most of all I’m happy for you that you will be spending more time on the water. Fish on TJ!


  9. Congrats TJ & Tenkara USA…seems to me like both sides are making out like bandits on this deal!

  10. Rickles says:


  11. Sounds like a great move for you and Daniel, I look forward to see what Tenkara USA does even more.

  12. Jay Pape says:

    Congratulations, TJ. The customer service at TenkaraUSA has always been great but you and John will make it even better. Cheers from another 46er!

  13. Mark Cole says:


    Congratulations. You have an exciting life waiting for you.

  14. Matt "statikpunk" Donovan says:

    congrats TJ, you have helped me with all of my dealings and it has been some of the best customer service I have ever recieved, im glad to see you join the team full time, and I have loved seeing Tenkara USA grow into what it has become.

    Maybe now that you have some more time we can get you up here to nevada and get some of those tiger trout you were after. and maybe just maybe it will be a write off this time :) haha
    Cheers! Im happy for you TJ

  15. TJ Ferreira says:

    Thanks for all the kinds words everyone.

    I look forward to being here when you all need any assistance with orders or have questions, etc…

    Upwards and onwards to 2013!


  16. David says:

    Good for you TJ. Congrats on walking away from the stress of IT work. Last week I too walked away from an increasingly stressful 24/7 job. You had the courage to volunteer. My manager volunteered me. Two of the guys I worked with took it harder than I did. Indeed, they quit two days later. I guess they couldn’t just couldn’t stay on without me.

    I share your joy in leaving behind a long list of userids , passwords, geeky command line terms and people who expected you to be clairvoyant in predicting network faults. Today I let a sweet deal on new wheels slip away , and I was already dreaming of fishing spots I could get to in the little Subaru. As soon as I find new transportation and figure out how to pay the bills I too am hoping to have more time for Tenkara and to keep you busy, ever now and again, printing out an address labels with my address on them. btw – I just checked the forum, it’s missing your trip report and fish photos. ; – )

  17. Zack says:

    Awesome!! It is always great to hear about somebody getting to do what they love..and just to echo everybody else I think the lack of being on call 24/7 will do wonders for you.

  18. John Pellegrin says:

    What a wonderful change you have made, TJ, and we will all benefit from what you bring to TenkaraUSA. I’ve enjoyed meeting you in person twice, and hope to run across you more in Nor Cal. Tenkara has changed by approach to fishing for the rest of my fishing days!

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