Thursday, September 20, 2007

volcanoes and samurai

So, this past weekend I attempted to climb a nearby volcano called Chokai. As you may have guessed, the attempt was unsuccessful. Some of my fellow expedition members who shall remain nameless did not choose their footwear as carefully as one might have hoped and we ended up turning back about 2 km (1.2 mi – parking lot to summit was 8 km/5 mi) from the peak with a boot held together with the string from my hoodie, an uncomfortable flip-flop wearer, minus a pineapple (eaten) and just enough time to get back before sunset. Despite chokai-san “winning”, it was a truly beautiful hike. Not much tree cover on most of the mountain, so there were plenty of amazing views across the coast line and other ridges. We also kept going in and out of clouds, which was fun (and refreshing). I’ll keep you posted on attempt number two.

Also this past weekend, Honjo had another festival – I think the theme was “little samurai kings”, as young boys were dressed up and carried around like royalty in a parade. As we have learned to expect, there was taiko drumming, and we were invited take part. I think being at the festivals is when I feel most like “Oh, wow, I really am in Japan.” But sadly, the heavy festival season is coming to an end. Plenty of winter ones in the area though, so I look forward to those.

(thanks jeff and edel for the pics)

getting a little overly excited over the views from the road on the drive up

or maybe understandably excited, considering this was the view from the road

jeff falling into a "gaijin trap" aka gutter

beginning the ascent

about halfway up was a beautiful lake

here you can see the top of the volcano, with kind of a crater in the middle. we almost made it!

my expedition group - jeff, phil, california jeff, and me

coming down to a sunset over the coastline

honjo festival

edel and i trying our hand at taiko. i, apparently, am rhythm deaf. the fashionable looking girl next to me had elaborate cornrows in her hair on the side of her head not pictured and when i told her i liked them she asked if they were "cool" in new york, to which of course i had to say yes. she was very excited. she also taught me the smart method of avoiding drinking drinks offered to you (outdoors) by taking a sip and then secretly pouring them out.

a young man who was not informed about this method, passed out inside the float.

jon was much less rhythm deaf than we

after the festival we visited jon in his village near honjo - he has a real house (!), which we have dubbed 'the chalet' for its ski lodge/vacation cottage feel.