Monday, August 23, 2004

Weekend Climb

I still have my legs this monday morning, despite having cycled about twenty five miles on Saturday and despite climbing Mt. Hakkouda on Sunday. Ah, but it was a good weekend in all. The weather was great the whole time and I've managed to furnish my skin with nice bronzy tan (apart from the ridiculous white patches where I've been wearing clothes). I got on my bike at about 11 or 12 in the morning on Saturday and decided to head out for the mountain. I wasn't interested in a full loop ride around Iwaki this weekend, but rather a venture into some of the mysterious side roads that lead off the main apple road right at the bottom. Among the numerous discoveries that I made, I came across a motorcross park for dirt bikes, a new onsen just down the road from Ajigasawa ski resort, and my favourite discovery of all - a crumbling old disused snack bar about half a mile up a broken little road between the ski resort and the onsen. If you don't believe me here's proof:

It felt really eiry walking inside the place, and when I went back with Aki later that night in her car she got really freaked out just shining her headlights at the building. For me, it was a symbol of Japan. Sometimes I see things around the place that have a stark history in their appearance, a history of money in the 80s that disappeared in the 90s. This was a symbol of that history. Looking at the building, you would have thought it was just some love hotel, with private rooms etc. But there were signs all over it written in katakana saying 'snack'. Even an idiot could work it out: this place was more than just a snack bar with hostess girls. What more could a wealthy Japanese businessman in the 1980's want than a glitzy mountain retreat where he be disloyal to his wife, set away from any disturbances, overlooking the city lights.

On Sunday I met up with Aki, Marc, Marc's girlfriend and Monte (Yeah, sorry about that Mr. Goto). We went up to Sukayu onsen and began the climb up to the Hakkouda sanmyaku. It was a good climb all in all, and we managed to get three peaks under our belts in just one day. O dake is the highest, but my favourite peak is this one, Takada dake, seen from O dake:

And towards the bottom, as well as the snake that I saw in the grass along the side of the path, I turned around to find this wierd looking Japanese gorilla messing about in the trees.