Nearly three months ago, shortly after arriving in Japan, I watched spring arrive on Norikura, the snow melting, the plants emerging from the thawing ground, the flowers beginning to bloom. Nearly three weeks ago, on Mt. Chogatake, I watched fall begin to envelope the higher elevations of the Japanese Alps. Perhaps it arrived in the … Continue reading Season’s end.
It's hot as hell again. Not even a slight breeze to offer some relief from the sweltering, humidity-laced heat that hangs in the air. I don't think I have stopped sweating since I left the air-conditioned hotel room in Kyoto yesterday morning. I sit here at my computer, my damp fingers on the keys, trying … Continue reading The woods and the waters and the people that make a home.
Alright, so it was Nara, not Narnia, but our new buddy, Mike, with whom we exchanged silliness over beers one night, kept calling it Narnia. And maybe it's an appropriate name for the town that houses the oldest surviving wooden structures in the world, a giant Buddha statue who's hand alone dwarfs a human, and … Continue reading The train ride to Narnia.
It didn't take me long to fall in love with this place. Despite being dropped off on the side of a highway and the resulting 6km walk in 100-degree heat to our hotel, Kyoto quickly charmed me with its beautiful mix of the traditional and the modern, the old and the new, and its graceful … Continue reading Kyoto.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect in the mountains of Japan. Until about a year ago, when Amanda came here for the first time, I didn't even know that the Japanese Alps existed. Sure, everyone's heard of Mt. Fuji, and perhaps skiing and the Winter Olympics in Nagano, but I had no idea about … Continue reading Tales from swallow mountain.
Our second day in the mountains was going well. The rain was holding off, we were slowly becoming more efficient, and despite the atrocious flies that buzzed continuously around our heads and found the need to explore our ears, noses, and eyelids, and the occasional frustration and delay of a tree core stuck in a … Continue reading What is a cosmic ray, anyway?
After over a week of getting acquainted with Japan and Matsumoto, figuring out a confusing and somewhat frustrating permit process, and experimenting with potential food options for backcountry camping in Japan (a task that turned out to be a lot harder than you would think), we finally embarked to the mountains in an attempt to … Continue reading “I shoulda brought my crampons.”
It's raining, again. A steady, soaking shower that begins to puddle in parking lots. But it's still hot, too hot to wear a rain coat, and the humidity causes sweat to pour down my body as my clothes are also drenched from the outside, under an umbrella that does little against the wind and blowing … Continue reading Rainy days.
The air is hot, as always, but the clouds that block the beating rays of the sun and the breeze that blow make it seem slightly cooler than the previous days. I walk alone, towards a yet-unexplored section of town. Down narrow streets past well-kept homes and gardens. A black cat crosses the road in … Continue reading Wandering.
We arrived in Matsumoto on Friday afternoon, and our meeting with Amanda's contact in Japan to figure out what our plans were going to be for field work wasn't until Monday, leaving us with an entire weekend to explore. Saturday was spent roaming around downtown Matsumoto, first visiting the number-one tourist destination in the city---the … Continue reading “Middle name John” and adventures in eating.