Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The people of Akakura Mountain

Another Monday, another fantastic day out in the sticks. At the top yesterday I met the Ghents from Itayanagi church. They happened to be at the summit when I turned up, and they had a big group of young folk with them enjoying the view.

On the way down I decided to take a few snaps of the religious figures that endure the weather up there twenty four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days a year. Here's one of them, a female of some spiritual description:

She keeps that content and settled look on her face even when the snow comes down in sheets. Fair play. She stands right next to the mini shrine at the top:

Then there's this fella, who sit's tucked away behind tall grass:

I assume all of the statues up here are Shinto figures, though I wouldn't know for sure. I'm sure Bhudda has his men dotted about the place as well. This lady stands facing Hirosaki, never taking her eyes off us:

Yesterday I took a route less trodden on the way down. I cut off the ridge early and steeped my way down to Akakura river. It's a bit rough, and since the last time I took that route there have been a number of trees fallen. Rough, indeed, but very beautiful. At the bottom you come out onto the river, and the feeling of solitude gets more intense. Very few people take this route, though from now on it'll be my regular detour on good days.

From the river which runs out of the ravine, looking back up to Akakura dake:

What a day. Mountain days aren't always as beautiful as yesterday, but with a bit of luck this next month or two will bring some corkers. My favourite six weeks of the year start now.

And today, well, back to work again:

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Human fulfilment and the worst ending I've ever witnessed.

I'll start by telling you that this Wednesday saw a great personal achievement. For weeks now, I've been trying to complete what they call タカ, or, the route that seperates the novices from the beginners. I've been getting my strength together lately, and right down there at the Rat wall I proved to myself that things can be done. Taka is a climb that most people take a while to get under their belts, and I'm no different. But doing it successfully has given me a great deal of ambition to get better at wall climbing and I'm confident I'll be conquering other routes, even more strenuous than Taka, in the near future. I go to the gym once a week and I know my upper body is getting stronger since the injury I endured about 18 months ago. Saying that, I know I'm still a small fry in the big pond of spidermen that dominate the wall climbing game.

I also watched a soul wrentching movie tonight called Touching The Void. Soul wrenching because for me, as a novice mountaineer, I would love to know what it feels like to have had a similar life battering experience as the poor bastard, or bastards, in the movie. It's about a couple of guys who attempt a ridiculous climb of some extraneous mountain in Peru. One guy breaks a leg on the way down, and then he goes through a five day period of brute, and I mean BRUTE survival. I was shocked, after seeing all the crap that this guy had gone through, that he managed to live to sit there, in front of a channel four camera man to tell the story. Absolute respect for men with such steely vains.

Then I watched another movie called Before Sunset. This was a dated follow on from the movie Before Sunrise. If you want to see the world's most shockingly lame ending to a movie I reccommend you watch this one. The movie itself, before the ending, and if you watched the first one, was quite touching. The ending reminded me a little of biting off my own ear, only to find that I could still hear the sound of my next door neighbour's house music downstairs.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I wrote out a whole long elaborate post about all sorts of things the other day, and when I came to post it it screwed up on me so I'm not in the mood to write much at this minute.

I went climbing with some local gaijin the other day. We went up the north side and down the south, having dropped one of the cars off earlier that day. These are the guys:

I bought a huge apple and ate it all in one sitting, driving back from the onsen in Hyakuzawa.

Bought a new bike from a place called Offhouse, just behind Denkodo. It's niiiice!! Needs some adjustments mind you, but it goes.

Found a dead snake when I was cycling around the mountain the other day. I've seen plenty of these babies recently, most of them have been alive and slithering:

Look after yourselves folks. Let's be careful out there.