nemoto-san - history of a rainy day
i'm iulia. it is shortly after
midnight, sunday. we should wake up in 4 hours but bjoern says
"that rain is making 'tip-tip' on the roof, i cannot fall
asleep". i remind him that he might have to drive in the
morning and this works.
it is morning and it is raining cats and dogs. i just had a discussion
about responsibility, rainy paths, had no coffee and slept about
1 hour. i'm in the right mood to bite someone's head off. "someone"
knows me well and manages to reroute my "negative energy"
into "ambition and prove yourself". it works. i eventually
decide to go to the 7/11 [not further but i would never say it
loud]. the phone rings. stephan calls bjoern to say that he stays
home. he might regret it later he says but by now going back to
bed seems the perfect solution to save the day. i open the door
to go. the phone rings again. it cannot be souad because she already
adhered to stephan's party saturday. it is masako. she feels bad
and cannot come. at least she doesn't blame the weather. i was
right: bjoern must drive. in order to scare the rain i cover the
backpack with the rain cover and leave my sunglasses home.
we reach the "usual 7/11" thinking about postponing
the walk for the next weekend. chisa and shinji support bjoern's
slogan "weather forecast is sunny for the rest of the day".
[this club manages to attract all kinds of hopeless optimists!]
christoph just bought new shoes for the trip, andreas looks enthusiastic.
i give up; i'm thinking: 'am i the only one who fears the rain,
muddy paths, slippery chains, etc. what the heck!? i'm old'. we
keep a moment of silence for the people who preferred the warmth
of their beds to the wet and cold morning and go. the rain is
weakening in a direct ratio to the distance between tsukuba and
us. turning on route 294 we see the mountains behind nikko and
some blue sky.
what a splendid sunny morning!
we are on the way to conquer the unknown - nobody from the club
[almost as usual] was ever to nemoto-san. thank you paul for choosing
this location. i got my hot coffee and i feel full of energy and
kindness. i can forgive everything! even bjoern who took his damaged
hiking poles because he doesn't want to use mine. but up there
was decided that today is a bad day... for hiking poles. bjoern's
poles gave up and he must take the club's poles.
just before the start there was a map of the hiking courses in
the area. we stared at it but obviously we did not understand
much. we have two maps we trust and bjoern - in who we also trust
- to lead us. we are as excited as children to wonderland. bjoern
tries in vain to keep serious. the hike starts with a lot of enthusiasm,
jokes, ropes and some red signs. 4 of us, veterans form ryujinkyo,
cannot ignore the red signs. fortunately from time to time the
path is marked with black signs reading "hiking course".
of course in katakana.
even if there are no thrilling parts [if ignoring the perspective
of wet cold shoes] the walk is far from boring. the path changes
from one side of a small creek to the other and quite often we
have to choose the right boulder, or the less rotten part of an
old wooden bridge. the forest is a brilliant collection of coloured
leafs. and it's raining! red and yellow leafs are raining on us.
chisa is putting on sunscreen - japanese people are prepared for
going through the narrow valley we cannot escape the sensation
of similarity with ryujinkyo. after roughly 2 hours - the last
20 minutes being a nice climb on gravel - we reached a point where
according to our map we should turn right. two elderly - and obviously
more experienced - japanese hikers claim that the right direction
to follow is left. they cannot know what they are saying! of course
we turn right! well, don't even think we are lost. ryujinkyo...
we are not even on the wrong mountain. then, why should we go
in the wrong direction? in the good twmc tradition we don't think
much about it but go further. only bjoern - the delegate organizer
- tries to understand what is the difference between the map in
his hands and the paths we were following. and then we discover
the chains much earlier than expected - alas we were already somewhere
else than we believed to be.
it seems that sometimes the signs in japanese are unclear. we
discovered a sign saying something about a peak - i could read
only the altitude, 1197 m - on the very peak we were staying on.
shinji - paying less attention to the sign or being too polite
to say in front of us "what the hell! we're on the wrong
peak" - translated as being about the very ground under our
feet. it was wrong. the sign indicates where to look for that
peak, i suppose. but the first rule on our club is "don't
take anybody [thing?] serious." therefore we kept going -
anyway it was so windy and chilly there... 1 cm between the index
finger and thumb. the chains made a good exercise and the view
of the mountain chains up to nantai-san covered with some snow
was splendid. we all entered the old shrine (nemoto-san shrine
?) - hoping that it will hold a little bit longer and we will
not be the "legendary last hikers who visited it". actually
the wooden carvings inside are worth seeing and the bell at the
entrance has a nice sound. i did not miss the occasion.
the two japanese hikers - who had no idea about this mountain
- meet us again. well, at least they knew what shrine this one
was (indeed nemoto-san shrine). bjoern had to admit that our trusty
maps were wrong and we did the chains again. at least this allows
us to blackmail him for a shortcut in the end of the day. why
going for 1,5 h more when we did the exercise on chains twice?
in the end of day everybody was happy. christoph for his new shoes
did not hurt him too much. andreas for his leak of exercise did
not slow him. chisa and me for the sunny day. shinji was not so
happy because some of us decided that if we meet a bear he would
be the tastiest... bjoern should be happy because with all his
trust in the map we did not manage to transform nemoto-san into
a new ryujinkyo. he took a picture of the wooden map we ignored
that morning. but it would be of no use. by now twmc went to nemoto-san
and according to tradition each walk should be a discovery adventure.
oh, i almost forgot. one of the club's poles was completely unhappy.
it gave up shortly before the end. anyway, six happy children
went back home - inside six tired adult bodies - looking forward
to the next happy days with the club.
thank you paul for organizing, bjoern for leading, shinji for
the onsen and all the rest for the nice company.
statistics: 6 people, two japanese
(chisa, shinji), two germans (bjoern, andreas), one austrian (christoph),
one romanian (iulia); two broken hiking poles; thousand pictures
Report by Iulia, photos below by Shinji and Bjoern.