Sunday, September 26, 2010

Small adventures

I've had the last blog up far too long because, thankfully, things are going pretty well this fall.

The heat has broken and summer is finally turning to fall. I'll start commuting by bike again on dry days now that the heat index is well below 100F. Classes have started again and I've only stayed really late *once* in the last month (seriously, 10 hours a day at work is enough, right?). I've been dating a new boooooy for the last month and though I won't say much more, except that he likes the parts of me that I like about myself, so -so far at least- I don't feel like I need to apologize for who I am. and in this crazy Tokyo city, that alone is an immense gift.

It's now been a year in the Northern Hemisphere and I think my body appreciates it. I'm out having bike-tastic adventures almost every weekend. I'm slowly covering all my walls with pictures and maps. If it wasn't for the chronic headaches, I'd be really happy and content this season. As it is, though, there are good days and bad days.

I'm not quite sure how to sum up so many small adventures that have pleasantly been filling up my life, so instead you get pictures.


I imagine there is a stillness that flows into their minds, that makes everything simple and divine. I imagine that looking at someone well over twice your weight across from you, you must send a prayer upwards...

One of the first weekends in September. Solo day trip. Biking up in the Nagano Alps, one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

I think these switchbacks are, arguably, the 'easy' way up.

Below is called 美ヶ原 or roughly translated as 'really beautiful place.' (seriously) I was so bonked from cycling up the switchbacks and shocked that I was suddenly on a gravel road, you could have told me I was in a fairy kingdom and I would have believed you. Out of this world gorgeous.

Deciding, with no real planning, to join a middle aged fixie rider (as in a bike with a single gear that can't coast) on Sept 11 to bike all through the night up to 5th Station of Mt. Fuji and then try to summit. (I got a bit past 7th station before the 32 hours of no sleep caught up with me and I decided to head back down and get off the mountain in the daylight)

At around the 80km mark, 3am, we realize that the funny noise Tim's bike is making is that his 20 year old steel frame has suddenly developed critical stress fractures and may snap in two at any moment. Though I hate to be the voice of reason, I suggested maybe we call it a night... Tim, however, decided that convenience store disposable chopsticks and duct tape was sufficient to McGyver himself up to the top of Fuji.
Before the sun rose, we could see the switch backs illuminated by strings of hikers with headlamps. like lava zigzaging down the mountain. 6am, about 120 km in, the sun rises and Fuji glows alone in the sky waiting. About half an hour later, clouds swamp it.
From about 6th station, on my way back down. 1pm. Hiking 5th to summit is not a pretty trail. But I'll probably do it again.

And a week ago, accidently, suddenly everyone was taking pictures...
So many things just happen in Japan, and in Tokyo, and in life. Things are going well.

The adventures continue...


Jason said...


michaelpanda said...

Your bicycle adventures are always so inspiring... I haven't owned a bicycle in Japan for almost 5 years (since my last one got stolen and I was so disgusted I just said to hell with the whole thing) but when i look at your beautiful photos from the countryside (or from your trip to Tohoku) I'm always struck by how much of the "hidden" parts of Japan you seem to explore.

I get to see some of it when I take my road trips, but that only happens once or twice a year - except for that I'm usually stuck in the middle of the urban jungle/train routes most of the time. You, on the other hand, get to see all these wonderful places nearly every weekend!! Sugoi!

*sigh* I guess I should invest in a bicycle again? LOL I wonder if I still remember how to ride one?