Yesterday Chieko’s dad and I hiked Hakkaisan, the local mountain of significance. If we were proper mountaineers we would have started from the bottom, but he’s pushing 70 and I haven’t climbed many mountains lately, so we took a gondola half way up, and trudged 2 hours up to the summit.
In actuality, we didn’t quite make it to the ‘summit,’ which requires descending cliffs on chains with inches to spare and a long plummet towards lots of broken bones at the very least should you have a lapse in concentration. Chieko and her mom had berated her dad not to attempt the series of treacherous stuff that entails reaching the real top of this mountain, and implored me not to allow him to do it. I figured he would be too tired to try anything crazy by the time we got to the top, but when it came down to it he was scrambling around like Gollum, while I was full-on pussing out and beckoning him back from the precipice to return from whence we came.
Despite my unwillingness to possibly tumble to my death, the rest of the hike was great. It was nice to spend time with Chieko’s dad. We have a bit of an odd relationship, forged more on actions than actual communication. I have a had time understanding him even though I can speak a fair amount of Japanese. He speaks fast and with a thick country accent, but we make progress doing things like climbing mountains. I get better at letting him know when I don’t understand what he’s saying, and he gets better at explaining what he means.
Here are some pictures from our hike:
The mountains here are so beautiful, but also somehow primal. I can easily imagine dinosaurs roaming around for some reason. Today, Chieko’s dad took me for a drive along a mountain road that is not being maintained. It’s paved, but the foliage is encroaching rapidly, there are large rocks in the road that have tumbled down the mountainside, and a bunch of other debris. He had pointed out this road, way down below, during our hike yesterday, and today wanted to take me through it. I got one good picture, spent some more quality time with the old man in law, and learned that after 20 minutes the little K-truck gets uncomfortable.
I have some friends coming here tomorrow. We’re driving back to Kanazawa to have some man time over the next few days, which means there will probably not be too much action on the blog. Enjoy pictures of mountains until then. Talk to you later.