Monday, August 16, 2010

Thunder in the hills, flying discs, and terror on two wheels

Greetings fervent readers (I know you’re out there somewhere). Yet another busy weekend in Japan has blown bye. Saturday kicked off with a bang of laundry, house cleaning, and the terrifying discovery that my couch (given to me by my predecessor, and to her from hers, and so on down the line into antiquity) had been completely assaulted and corroded by a wholly unnatural neon red and green stinky mold. Upon moving it from my wall its cushions crumbled into dust leaving a powdery stench strewn across my tatami floors. Needless to say frantic cleaning and the vigorous spewing of foul language followed. After exiling the corrupt sofa to a huge trash bag in the guest room (because I still don’t know when I can throw large items away) I set out to the Home Store to look for a suitable replacement. I carried the thing atop my head all the way back to my apartment. Success in both “grown up” purchasing and the systematic irradiation of filth made the final product especially gratifying. My apartment however, still doesn’t feel completely like my own place. It’s getting better though, and hopefully soon It will be 100% nested.
Post lunch I hopped one town over from Onago (my neighborhoods name) to Aso where I had been told there was a very nice mountain to climb called Sodayama. I weaved my way through snaking streets, stopping to ask directions occasionally, and eventually found a very nice man who handed me a map of the two trail options. He attempted to explain to me that one trail was very dangerous right now and that I should not take it (due largely to venomous snakes and the fabled deadly Japanese Giant Hornet, 2 stings can kill you). The climb took me through terraced hillside hamlets made up of rice fields and lemon trees. The views became increasingly better as I climbed and by about 2 hours I had reached the top (which wasn’t really the top, but it was a nice view and the end of the trail). Unfortunately, the humidity played havoc on my camera, and resulted in many blurry and hardly tolerable photos. On my way down a drizzle set in, which quickly turned into a down pour. No big deal, I packed rain gear! Then with a clap of thunder that would have rattled the walls of any home the sky birthed lightning in great white-hot streaks. Luckily I happened to find an old abandoned shrine and hid beneath the fading and cracking timber roof, watching as the weed choked stone steps acted as tributaries for the amassing torrents of runoff water flowing down hill. In all it was a pleasant way to spend an hour, watching the storm pass with the handful of spiders hiding beneath those forgotten rafters. The rain passed, and so I continued my decent with the woods of bamboo and red barked evergreens (maybe seeders?) all a chorus of chattering insects and dripplets of water.
Sunday I took the hour train into Kochi city where I was met by Michelle a.k.a.: Wiggles. I met Wiggles at Tokyo orientation she’s a 3rd year JET and my fixer for Kochi city travels. She’s also my foot in the door for the Kochi Ultimate frisbee team. We threw for a while and after everyone showed up played some really fun ultimate. It was perhaps the hottest day I have experience yet in Japan. Any movement what so ever resulted in the most profuse and extreme sweating one could imagine, so naturally playing frisbee and springing around a field with no shade was the best course of action imaginable! It was a very cleansing day. Lots of physical activity, BUILDS CHARACTER. All in all the team was great fun, and the new faces, and handful of familiar faces from Tokyo Orientation, were great fun to see and get to know better. We went out for grilled meat after practice, and after an hour train ride I was home again home again.
Now. . . this next part I’m not particularly proud of, but it has it’s place and was a definite fixture of my weekend. To get from Kochi Station to the Frisbee fields one must barrow the Kochi JET community bike (a mustard yellow clunker big for Japan, but small for me) that lives in the public bike house next to the station locked up with a secret JET only code. For those of you that don’t know me that well. . . I haven’t really ridden a bike sense I was. . . . eleven, maybe? Even then I was never really a big bike rider. Things with wheels and I – we don’t get along so much. Well the 30 to 45 minute ride from the station to the fields was a hysterical effort on my part to not crash and burn. With my lengthy knees scrapping the handlebars of the bike’s fully extended seat I still, according to my friends, looked like a grizzly bear attempting to ride a child’s unicycle. Actually the bear would have probably appeared more graceful and at home than I looked. I wobbled, weaved, and walked my bike sketchily to our various destinations and apologized profusely for my relative lack of experience. However like a pimpled preteen’s first kiss, I hope that things can only get less embarrassing and awkward with more experience. All prepubescent voice cracks aside it was yet another highly enjoyable weekend. Sorry there will not be many pictures for this one, but I’m sure you’ll understand. As always more to come!

1 comment:

  1. Love the biking bear imagery. Keep this up, sounds like you're having great adventures. Miss you!


    (fervent reader)