I've been lazy to update for the past week because I didn't want to face the back log of pictures that continues to build. I am, however, a few steps closer to actually getting some new content up on my flickr page. I should really make the effort to stay on top of it because then I never feel like doing anything after the fact.
If you looked at the picture I posted from the other week of the chicken (scroll down if you didn't or go to the next page if it has been too long) it was indeed alive. Since you asked Alli I'm responding specifically for you. The tails on the roosters are so beautiful and long that they sit up on a tiny shelf and eat all day long. There isn't anywhere for them to move except their heads. Kind of sad when you think about it but when is the last you thought about where that chicken breast on your plate came from? You don't want to know is all I can say.
I hiked a mountain on Saturday. I almost used the word climb but that implies using my hands and creates confusion. Kanpuzan which means cold wind is one of the taller mountains in the area. The foliage is about past its prime up in the higher mountain sections but is still relatively pretty in the lower valleys. It was a nice sunny day with light clouds scattered about the sky. By the way I have a terrible track record for leaving specific camera equipment at home. Sometimes I forget my memory card, sometimes its an adapter, and on Saturday it was polarizing filter. The one day I finally get out hiking and the sun is fraying the slopes with zealous radiation, I forget the one thing I wanted so badly to take. What a shame because I would have had some even better pictures. It was overall too hazy because of the glare from the sun to anything that nice. I think I've learned my lesson finally.
With that being said it was still a nice hike. The sign said it took 1 hour and 50 minutes to reach the top. This time they really weren't exaggerating. There is a rather steep initial path that switch backs for who knows how long. I love the nature of a mountain hike because your work ultimately pays off once you reach the top. I was sweating enough to be solid proof of this. Once above the major tree line there are well distinguished paths through the low lying bamboo grass. I love how it covers the tops like a blanket. From far away it looks like a lawn but the leaves do well to create this illusion.
The upper reaches of the trail have some small ladders and it is necessary to cross a saddle back of sorts. It's so great being up in the hills. At the top of the mountain I sat for awhile and eventually another group of hikers arrived. They sat down and proceeded to unfold sushi rolls, tea, oranges, and many delicious things. This did not bode well for me as I had meagerly dined on a piece of bread with BBQ sauce before leaving for the hike. But out of nowhere one of the hikers came over and handed me a big hand-made sushi roll. He was like take this we have so much. I hate receiving things because I feel so utterly disgustingly guilty. I took this as a slight invitation though to creep closer and strike up some conversation, which I'm prone to do with random strangers on mountain peaks. Well they were actually a group of Koreans which is important because of how we had to communicate. I was trying to leave out that they were a specific group of people because it's like one of my education teachers mentioned, "When I would talk to my friends I would tell them I knew a good masseuse. One of the nicest Mormon men I know. But why for any reason did I always have to say Mormon man and not just a nice man?" Listen to yourself sometime you probably do it all the time.
The oldest man has lived in Japan for over 10 years and works for a chemical company. His wife and two kids live on the northern side of Shikoku. Their other friends also are working in the same company I believe. They ended up giving me a bottle of tea, coffee, some apple, and an orange. He mentioned that people out in the mountains were generally nice. He also said it was Korean culture to treat others as friends. Now if only Japan, Korea, and China could get along. I don't know how long we spent talking but it was a welcomed conversation. I mostly talked to the man because his Japanese is fluent. I'm not sure about the others so much. They didn't seem like they really knew enough to talk to me. I didn't even bother with English. So after the unexpected lunch we parted ways and I headed on down ahead of them. I received his business card so I suppose I could email him sometime and invite myself over. I'm sure... well... it's a little pretentious to assume they would even want me over. I was thankful for the opportune meeting we had though.
I stopped for dinner at a little outpost along the main road back to my house. Their specialty is kiji ramen. Kiji is a type of Japanese pheasant. The ramen is served with two minced balls of kiji meat and other assorted things. It was pretty good but I don't know if it was worth the price. The other ramen shop south of my place seems to be better value and more tasty. Who cares though. Some people could say I've been living like a miser up in this valley so it's okay to loosen my wallet right?
Pictures will show up soon... I hope.