Tuesday, November 03, 2009

To Yamanashi and Back

It was cold, bright and clear this morning - the perfect weather for hiking. Together with my Australian workmate Peter I set off to climb Mount Kuratake, an hour and a half away in Yamanashi Prefecture.

After passing through a village and skirting a dried-up reservoir, we climbed ever higher past small stone Buddhas and waterfall after waterfall until we reached the Anaji Pass, where the path forked left to the summit, 990-metres up and partially covered with ice. West, over the shoulder of the Tanzawa Range, was Mount Fuji, snow streaking from the peak like shampoo off a scalp.

We came down quickly, through a forest of Japanese pine, reaching the station just as the sun finally dipped out of sight. Later, after the train ride home and a dinner of bacon, fried tofu and eggs, we were back out at the neighbourhood sento, the youngest people there by more than twenty years. I lay in the hot tub, a jet of water massaging the balls of my feet while six more arrowed into various points on my back. There was an old man next to me with his face screwed up against the heat, and a Family Mart carrier bag draped across the shower head, an empty coffee can and unopened bar of soap poking out of the top.

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