Saturday, July 10, 2010

Swimming in the rain & Samurai sayonara (goodbye)

This is a combination of blogs I wrote a few weeks ago... they are a bit out of date now though but oh well. Meg has been keeping you all well updated on her school life so I figure it's my turn to add something.

Tramping in the rainy season was always going to be a wet experience so in hindsight it may not have been the best decision. With a forecast of.....rain..... the decision was made to go ahead with plans to climb Mt Okue. This mountain was at the top of my to do list as it's remote location and unique limestone features make it stand outa little from the standard volcano style mountains around this area. It felt more like tramping in NZ than Japan as the rain pelted our heads, the rivers were in full flood and theforest was full of the most amazing green colours. I guess the hot humid feeling was still uniquely Japanese!

A scouting mission was established on Saturday to check out the river crossings. If these were impassable then our hopes of climbing Okueyama would be over. After walking for an hour we reached the major river crossing and it was obvious to everyone the torrential rain had made it uncrossable! Another hour back to the cars and we returned like soaked river rats. The only thing to do in this situation was to soak our bodies in an onsen.

So I can't tick the Okueyama box but nevertheless it was an interesting weekend in the hills.

On another note....

No one likes saying goodbye and I think it's sometimes harder when you know you'll never see the person again. Unfortunately we will have a lot of that over the next month or so as we slowly but surely move through the leaving process. Some goo
dbyes will obviously be harder than others; I'm certainly not looking forward to saying goodbye to my students, or to the Tomooka family and my tramping friends.

I've decided to make the process as simple as possible and not leave them all to the last week so on Monday night I ended my career as a samurai and had my final kendo class. Of course it ended up being the best one yet and made me want to go back next week! I was given the honor of fighting all the members and sitting with the sensei (teacher) at the end so I could give a wee speech in terrible Japanese. I won 3 of the fights and scored some points against the really good guys so I was pretty pleased with my effort. I hope they weren't going easy on me!