Friday, November 07, 2008
Twenty-six, twenty-one, eighteen kilometres to go. The speedometer flickered around 40, we entered yet another concrete tunnel. Over my shoulder middle-aged Japanese sat quiet and uncomplaining on fold-out seats in the aisle; two women picked up a conversation in French. The engine strained, the driver pushed a button to start another loop of adverts, traffic built-up patiently on the road behind.
The walk to Myojin Pond was flat and sunny, but the Japanese were dressed for a National Geographic expedition: waterproof boots, gaiters, retractable hiking poles, top-of-the-range Nikons with metre-long lenses and tripods, Gortex hats, designer jackets, and bells on their backpacks to ward off bears.
Which is slightly over the top when the biggest danger you face is the threat of a falling leaf.