See Stoat in Japanese South Alps!!

2012-07-07 21:47:08 | Written in English
This is a stoat I met in Japanese south alps!

It's such a cute animal!

This area in Japanese South Alps is rather hidden quiet area...I only met one passenger this day.

This is a trail to Ryoumata hut... see here for the map. You'd need to ride on two buses to get to the trail. The walking is rather short only 2hours to get to the hut. From Hut to the sumit to the montains, would take about 7 hours.

The mountains in this area are alive, and dynamic!

The road falling apart.

The trail or no trail?

above your head... The world is falling apart, indeed!!

Lovely path to the hut....

Looks like a deer head.

This is a trail you can expect to meet wildlife in Japan. Be prepared for bears, deers, monkeys...
also stoats!

Garden in the end of May

2012-06-21 16:07:52 | Written in English
Dear Dave

I've been to your garden this morning and did some work. I met your neighbor! He did not
tell me his name... still he showed me his garden and gave me these potatoes!
Looks so healthy! Today I am going to steam it. They say spring potatoes should be eaten as soon as possible.

Potatoes shouldn't be exposed to the sun...they produce poisoning substance.

■ Triangle how

 This is the area I cultivated today. Maybe next week I'll seed something.

Corn.  The can I brought did not have a sharp enough edges to cut a hole in this mulching sheet so this looks so clumsy... next time I'll use a better can.

 This area seem so clumsy too... the field does not look flat at all... but
the last time it was my first time to use a how... so what can we expect?

 I seeded carrots and zukkini.

 Wild rose? It had a long shoot and needs a pole or something... maybe next week
I'll do something. So far I pulled off the weeds around the rose.

I wish we'd have a lavender bush, or two. They make wonderful scent.

 I pulled some weeds, spend 3 hours this morning...

I left a bag of potatoes of your own crop on to your door step.

《Today's work》
・Planted some basil, fennel, cucumber
・seeding of carrots, zukkini, salad gobou.
・some crop of potatos
. creating a new area

May is nice season to be in Kamikochi

2012-06-10 12:46:34 | Written in English
We wanted to go to Kamikouchi in May since a nature guide we've met the visitor center said he thinks it's best season.
Up on the mountains there are clouds but the down the bottom it was rather sunny.

Going mountains in rainy season? I thought first but it was truly beautiful!
There aren't much place to be nice when in rain in Japan, it's so uncomfortable, muggy and
sticky... but visiting Kamikouchi can be one nice solution for anyone who likes to see
the nature beauty of Japan!

Anamone called "Nirinso " the flowers that you can see only in early summer.

The weather forecast said it's cloudy but there were sun time to time...

■ From Myojin to Tokugo Touge

Moto and I wanted to go to Tokugo Touge this was the only path to Kamikouchi before roads passed through. A long time ago people had to travel at least 20 km on foot to get to Kamikouchi.

SO the trail is like this.

some snow left.

Only takes about 2 hour gentle up hill path to the Tokugo Hut. Going down only about an hour.
Mostly easy, good-for-beginner trail.

Myoujin mountain.

■ Moutaineering Info

Kamikouchi is the most major mountaineering base in Japan but there seems like not much
information provided.

This is some info that I had taken in the photos, FYI.

 Bears has been witnessed! Twice in this season!

Apple juice was 500 yen. The ice-cream was 400 yen.

Day2 in South Yatsugatake (from Asahidake to Gongen)

2012-04-11 13:33:30 | Written in English
It's such a weather that day! Such blue sky, such white snow, such sunshine...wind was rather mild... of course, the ridges were windy, we can't win.... but I knew harder wind.

There were 2 other parties in the Gigokudani(A hell creek). The both were ice climbers not peak-hunter like us.

Wonderful! 5:40 

Moto forgot to bring his GPS logger... too bad.

We got up at 3:45. Trying to get started by 5:00 but actually we started off at 5:30.
The unnecessary stuff like sleeping bags were left at the hut.

The breakfast was Udon noodle with rice cakes, a chef's special.

■ Tsurune East Ridge

I thought we'll never arrive at the summit...Tsurune was such a steepy ridge and the deep snow slowed us down...

The start

Deep snow...
Snow. It was frozen on the top about in 10 cm layer, due to the rather warm days and later cold temperature... but inside the layer was powder snow, it's hard to move upward.

 Tengu ridge of Akadake peak.

A nice rest area at 6:30 

 Mt.Fuji 7:38
 This ridge is often used for a climbing down path for ice climbers.

 at 8:00. The layer of the clouds means stable weather.

 such uphill...

 Sunny and merry...


at 8:26

Still there are a lot to climb up...


 so tired...


Mt.Fuji in behind of us.


This must be the heaven!

 From right to left, Akadake, Nakadake, Amidadake.

Finally at the summit. 9:00 

■ Walking from peak to peak... Asahi dake and Gongen

Moto was worried...9:09 

Are we going this ridges, really?

 Asahidake in the behind...

 Asahidake in closer... the Gongen is peeping from the behind...

 Japanese mountain.

We used ropes and safety gears.

The snow surface was solid and easy to walk with crampons.. of course except for melted hills.

 It was difficult to walk with rope tied between each of us...

Looking behind.  North Alps was shining!

 The rope was a must in this course.

The radder. It was not so bad.


Giboshi peak.


 At Gongen peak. at 11:11. The wind got milder and it was so comfortable to be
there...feeling like a nap or two...

 Amigasa yama.

 Fuji san and Mitsugashira peak... the Kawamata ridges we were climbing down can be seen too.

Looking north to Gongen peak.


We've met a lot of people. No doubt! Too good day to stay at home.


A nice tent site. Someone must have slept here last night.

■ Kawamata ridge

 Now it's time to go home. 12:00


looking south.

Hill like this.

The snow was thick and it was difficult to find a better route... better to bring someone
who's been here before.

■ Going home

We get back at the hut at 14:00. Had a little break and started off at 15:00.

 Dear's ...?

 Another dear's?


 Good climbing it was!

Such a nice fine day! We started off at the parking lot at 17:00 and got home an hour
later.... Kofu is so close to Yatsugatake...

We've walked from 5:30 to 17:00 this day so was tired. But the mountains were superb
and the team member was nice and good. It was such a nice day.

I get used to using my ax too!

■ The route information

Tsurune is a small peak in South Yatsugatake mountains. The route we walked is recommended only for an experienced people or a party with a guide since rope work is a must from Tsurune peak to Gongen peak, especially at Asahi dake, another miner peak between them.
You can fell straight to the bottom of the creek called Tatsubagawa, perhaps 600m or more fall.

Jigokudani is known for ice climbing walls and many variation routes, and it is rather quiet area. There is a hut in Gigokudani that anybody can use.

From a parking lot to Deaigoya(hut), it'll take 2-3 hours. From Deaigoya to Tsurune peak
it's very steepy with deep snow... was said that'll take 2 -3 hours but actually
it took longer for us like 3hours and a half. This is a off track route.

From Tsurune peak to Gongen, is a normal route but the wind is strong since walking ridges above tree zone. It's a short distance but it is dangerous if you fell or slip...so using rope is recommended. May take 2 hours or so, up to your walking skill with crampons. An climber's ax is a must.

From Gongen peak to Kawamata ridge to Deaigoya, it is also off-track route, steep
hills in the woods, may take 2 hours or shorter, since it's downhill.

The route offers great views! Still, proper equipment like crampons and ax, and winter cloth are must. It's get pretty cold this area, in winter(Jan-Feb) -25 is not so unusual,
this day in April, it was around -1C daytime, at night in the hut it was -7 to 8, or perhaps colder since we did not use the fireplace while we slept. So bring warm cloth.

It's a pretty nice route!
Comments (2)

Snowshoe hiking Day3 in Nabekura Highland

2012-03-20 20:19:27 | Written in English
This is the day 3. A wonderful morning! 

We've started off at 7:30 a bit late. We wished to get off earlier but there were some miscommunication with the center... there were nobody in the center in the morning so
we had to wait for a while.
 Let's get started!

 Great day isn't it?

 The snow were frozen on the surface so it's gotten hard. Did not sink like yesterday.

The air was warm... -5 c or so. We got pretty cooked up walking in the snow.
We dressed lightly for a Japanese snow trekking since we knew colder like -15 c to -25.
I wore a gore-tex rain jacket and winter woolly underwear, patagonia's Merino 2 still was warm. The best choice would be gore-tex since the snow was rather wet.

 A lot of rabbit's tracks.

 We went down on the creek. There were a lot of animal tracks.

 Getting on the bank...it made me excited as if I'm reaching to the summit.

Beautiful!  We were heading north...

Walking on a ridge... it's a nice walk.

 How the snow looked.

 Also rabbit's foot prints... it seemed to change the direction.

 We discovered that snowshoe can be used in a steep hill like this one.

 looking behind.

 I lay myself on the ground.

 Looking ahead.

 Looking behind.

 Animal track again.

 the top of the hill. was large & nice.

 Originally we intended to go this way ahead but...

we changed our original plan since 3 hour driving back home was waiting this day.
we couldn't get too tired.

Still nice sunny hill, perfect for a nap or two. Had lunch here.

 We did not want to go back our own trace...so looked for a new route....
seem pretty obvious and plane.

 Let's go this way.

Climbing down was faster... we we went down in a creek again, this one's new to us.

 Rabbit's field sign. Smells like an orange.

The creek was hotter than on the hills...since there were no wind.

Comfortable easy trails.

 Tiny avalanche.

 Almost the end of the trip.

A little hole on the snow in the creek.

 This is our own trace...I fell on the ground... my snowshoes were stuck in the weak layer of the snow.

Was FUN!! I love Iiyama! I strongly recommend Iiyama for any foreigner who want to enjoy Japanese snow country safely. It's 7km snow hiking, took us about 4 hour this day.

Rental snowshoes were only 1500yen for a visitor, 1000 yen for a sleeper.

Snowshoe hiking Day2 in Nabekura Highland

2012-03-19 20:48:19 | Written in English
Day2. This is the our main day for a snow hiking. My husband and I woke up by cold.

Too bad... it was snowing in the morning.

We decided to delay the departure.

Russel car.

It snowed the last night about 30 cm... new snow was very soft.

We planed to walk by a compass and maps... but there is no target objects we can see for that purpose.

But it's so beautiful so we decided off.

THis is how the field looked... the snow had no shadow so it's hard to realize the size.  Too white and no shadow.

As I made some effects on the same picture, we can see a big hole... It may be fun to fell in the hole but better to be able to see for a


A break.  There were two snowboarders, who were following us.

 There were no sight toward the mountain.

Ahead... no sight.

We decided to get back since it will be no sight even if we move on.

Looking behind.  So we have nothing but to enjoy the day and the snow.

Our trace became a good nice clear trail.

Having fun.

Hating to follow the same trail, we went down on a creek.

It's easier to walk. This way we never get lost.

 A snowman somebody made.

It took us 4 hours to go up and only an hour to get down... it was 13:00 pm when
we decided to go back but if we knew it would take us only an hour to go back,
we could have move on a bit further... it was only 90 m to the peak. The snow was
soft and new so it was taking us too long to move on small distance...

Snowshoe hiking Day1 in Nabekura Highland

2012-03-18 21:04:51 | Written in English
■DAY1 animal track@creek

 On our way to Nabekura Highland...

 This is "Mori no Ie " cottage Type G. Two single beds and 4 futons, so
6 people can fit. It was a kitchen and bath room.

The price was pretty good! Only 5000 yen for a person. If 6 people stay, only 3000 yen each.

 How it looked from the front door.


There were a little snow dorm half broken so I went inside.  

 Interesting snow print.

He's going down the creek carefully since...there were a pit right under the snow bank
in the front. Behind we could hear the water falling.

This is the pit. It will be disastrous if a person fell there.

Cold is ok in snow country since walking would get us warmed up. But being wet is no-no.

A tree.

A tree with many balls on its branches.

There were a lot of animal tracks.  

Used cars are cheap in Japan!

2011-11-19 14:33:13 | Written in English
In my neighborhood there is a used car shop specializing for used BMW...

They are now so cheap in Japan! Look at the prices!

In Australia, the prices for house, land and car are so high! It was like you pay 600 AUD for a week instead paying the same amount per month in Japan.

The property prices were so high too. Also the used cars were very expensive there too!

The best day in our life is today

2011-09-06 08:36:09 | Written in English
I went to a yoga retreat on Saturday.

It was a quite hippy day! I joined 3 sessions, a cooking class(vegetarian)
and listening to a Hindu priest and singing mantra, then joined a beauty chakra yoga class. Doesn't this sound so new age?

Actually, it turned out OK and I was glad I went there after all.

There were some annoying things like nosy and bossy neighborhood madams...
seemingly disgraceful to me, but it was a good thing to learn.
Since they are always will be, so I'd better learn how to deal with the fact.
Also, it seems to me I could obviously stand out from that sort of crowds.
So there is nothing to be worried about. I think the priest knew what
I meant in my questions. So I felt patted on my shoulders.

I was thinking about the ability to make people to grow. Recently one of my
friends asked me some questions and that brought me a new insight.
By the exchange of emails I did better in writing than usual.

Isn't that great talent? Making me write better than usual, without
telling me a single grammar. I don't know how he does it.

I must say it better to make students learn by themselves. I've been self-teaching myself a lot and this does not make me a good teacher at all..
I wish I could learn to do more like motivating my students to learn! Just like he does it to me.

My insight that day was there is no such thing like "could have been better".

I was thinking about my marriage, then. Could it be better if I ...
my thought went on and on but in the middle of it, I had realized I never had that option. I never chose from several choices, this is the best and the only I have and I am so sure about it.

The life is now at most. This is our best all the time. So we should cherish it. What we have now is all we have.

The best day in our life is today. The youngest day of our life is today.
Also the oldest day is today.

Not just that, I have a great friend that make me realize that. I have
a friend who would comfort me. I have a husbee who will loyal to me always.

Cherish the life you have now. It will shine then!

Have a great week!

Amazing pictures of Chilean volcano

2011-07-04 20:13:37 | Written in English
My friend in Australia had sent me these. I am putting up since I know some of my friends loves pictures of clouds.

I think the 3.11 quake and this volcanic explosion has something to do with these. It seems to me Japan is on the other side of Continental plate to Chili.

In Japan we are having the smaller quakes time to time...it feels smaller but actually quite good size like magnitude 5 class. Also in Kyusyu, Sinmoe mountain had explode before the quake.

Nagano (next to Yamanashi where we live) is mostly mountains and it seems to me volcanic activities are more seen than before...may be it's not just Japan, entire earth is getting more activated?

Life of people here in Kofu is going on and on as if we had nothing at all... it is true the quake (and nuclear) impact was so small here physically, but it feels strange that people are forgetting about it so quickly...quiet, boring,nothing really happening except some neighbor's old man wandering out
and family is worrying...(we have emergency email system and they send me such information!)

My sister did not write me back me about how things are going with finding the right accommodation...she said she got a flu...
but 10 days seemed long enough...and now she is saying I don't love her because I want to know what's going on there.

She says 40 guests are gathering at her party (not a wedding she says)
I don't think any holiday accommodation will let them have such a big party...

I think it is not the size of family party... too big to handle.

Still she is insisting on I can have a free stay with them...which I am wondering it may be better off to have my own.

Oh, trouble after trouble...

Life is so peculiar

2011-05-09 08:56:12 | Written in English
I had just finished my last day of the yoga instructor course.
Now I am just waiting for the result, which I have a pretty good feeling that I had it successfully.

I think I now found a new kind of peaceful relationship with the world.
The world doesn't disagree with what I want to offer to it. It's may be a bit
too soon to say this since I don't have my own yoga class yet but I now know I
like what I do, the way I spent my days... What I get by teaching yoga
is not much at all, compared to what I could make when I was in Osaka.
But there is no inner conflict between me and the world so it's fine.

I was in such a struggle with the world ever since I left Osaka the world offered me things which everyone else but me thinks that I am very lucky to have it, like the stay-home-wife, or the fancy job at a fancy company.
I wanted to change my life and have gone to Tokyo and Melbourne in search for that... leaving my husband behind...we were hurting each other but all that I had done was for my family, I believed my financial contribution meant a lot to them, but my marriage was at stake, which meant I was loosing my only true family by choice.

Now a year after I went to Melbourne, I guess I finally arrived.
I took yoga class there and the experience turned me into yoga. Now
I am a yoga teacher.

I am happy to have my husband beside me and teaching yoga, using my ballet
experiences, I can teach a lot more than I initially thought I could.

Teaching yoga doesn't come easy to everyone... I know some friends who has a license but never given the opportunities to have a class. I made it in only three month, yes I am lucky,and this is given.

The wage is not much but at the moment all I need is something
keeps me busy and puts me forward so it's okay.

I did not go there in vain. This yoga studio desperately needs a new yoga
teacher. and here I come.

Life is so peculiar. The path is well set for me even thought it was a long
way around.

Life is difficult, therefore fun, perhaps

2010-09-23 10:51:17 | Written in English
I added a book called "The Paradoxical Commandments " in my book collection.

The world is crazy. The book says. I agree. The world I have been
observing since I was a child, seem to chose to stay crazy, even crazier, perhaps.

Every one of us knows that some people are starving yet so many of us are
too fat. We throw away tons of foods instead of sharing.

We say no killing. and everyone knows war is to kill. Yet we make money out of wars.

Japan is said to be suffering from aging, having not enough productive people.
Yet the young people are suffering from unemployment.

So indeed, the world is crazy.

Yet, some people insist that what happened has happened with a good reason,
which I suppose what they mean is what happened has always reason and
if you look closer to the reason it makes sense. May not be right, but makes sense.

So combined, what happening is most likely not the right things...but has a reason
to back up.

This means presumably what we do is not what should happen.

Or should I say, what we do is almost always not right.
Or I may be able to say, we do what we do, not what we say.
Or simply, we just don't do the right thing.

So in the end, what happening in the world, what most of us do... is wrong after all.

Life is difficult, indeed, because the world is almost all the time doing wrong and crazy.

Ooops! This makes sense! The world is crazy therefore life is of course difficult.

Would you like the life to be easy? I doubt it.

When I walk in the mountains....when your path is flat and easy, you don't really
feel like fun. It is too easy, no sweat.
But when you are climbing, you can hardly see anything else but the ground
under your foot but you are really doing fine. Getting closer to the height.

Maybe the steep hill is the secret of having a real fun in the mountains.
Maybe that is why you feel you are living your life in the mountains.

The view you'd see at the top might be the same as you see from the
driving road... but you feel it is so much nicer and worth climbing up there.

What you feel and think is what you get, isn't it?

So I think...life is difficult, therefore fun, perhaps.


2010-09-14 11:28:01 | Written in English





しかし、熊楠さんは凄い人です。 なんと18ヶ国語も理解できたのだと。写経のごとく、

■ 江戸の男色文化


(それもあって日本そのもののがゲイに優しい国ですよね) ヒットしたので


それが僧侶から武家に広まったらしいです。 しかし、気になるのは、この時代の
男色は常に”少年愛”である点です。 こどもはダメでしょう・・・。

結ばれてきたことです。 つまり、僧が稚児を相手にする、主人が家臣を相手にする
という具合・・・。 これは今の時代、パワハラと呼ばれています。

この”幼児性愛”&”パワハラ” 現代の日本人男性のDNAに受け継がれている

どうもこの2点に関する ”倫理観”&”道徳観念”の抑制が弱い。


■ Kumagusu

I was watching TV at my breakfast and it was about Kumagusu Minakata,
a famous Japanese botanist.

I knew about him from my college study but I was not quite sure if I read
any of his works... the tv program said he was the first Japaense man who
used a term "ecology" to protest the development of his hometown's nature
to public... so I thought I would do a little research on him and might read
a work of his or two...

So I googled on him. He is a great man. He could speak 18 different languages
and lived in the U.S. for 14 years and then posted his thesis to the Nature, 51 times.
This was the largest number that Japanese had posted, and is not broken yet.

Anyway Kumagusu Minakata was a great man.

Along the way of googling, I found that there was a mention in Japanese gay
culture in Edo era...

■ Edo era had male prostitution so commonly

Now, I knew that in Edo era, man to man affair was common as a general knowledge,
which all educated Japanese would be aware of.
But my memory is blur, so I read about it again to refresh my memory.

In the Edo era, having a young man as a sexual partner began from Buddhist priests
because then women were considered "dirty".

The important facts are...
1) Buddhist believed women are dirty.
2) So the having a male sex partner were considered as a cleaner alternative.
3) Therefore, just about every regular men who has family and children, still had a male partner too
4) The partnership often involved with master-apprentice and boss -subordinate relationship.
5) Moreover, the partnership were made between elder to younger. The youth was important.

Even today's Japan is so tolerant about homosexuality. We have so many gay people on TV.
But there is important two points which we should not be tolerant with today's moral

One is loving children... in Edo era, male prostitute were good looking young men at
age 13 to 14!! Impossible!

Also it was power harassment in every ways, because it was usually your boss asked
you to have sex with.

I think even today, many elder Japanese men in a power, given this cultural background,
has a weaker moral support about these two points. They don't give it a big deal. Today, it is toward young women.
Hey, but it is inhuman and destroys a personality, really.

I think it is important that Japanese be aware of what weakness we have and
realize we are living in a 21st century not in Edo era anymore, while tradition is
good, we should be able to select our moral value by our own will, what's good and bad can be determined by people not tradition.

Japan still have female discrimination and age discrimination.
Also foreigners are discriminated. People don't really see it
but it is...

What Japanese are eating?2

2010-09-06 19:14:04 | Written in English
This is a picture of our dinner the other day.

A piece of semi-dried fish for each person, with
Daikon oroshi(grated Daikon radish)
Yamaimo Tansaku with Nori on top (White sticky potato salad)
Shimeji Mashroom Ohitashi(in dashi soup)
Cucumber salad with Wakame seaweeds.
Pickled ginger in home made plum vinegar.
A bowl of rice for each person.

I guess this day's menu is impossible to recreate in
outside of Japan.

Japanese food is healthy because we eat mostly vegi
as you see.

What Japanese are eating?

2010-09-01 19:20:36 | Written in English

Sushi roll is not real Sushi, unfortunately.. and
Japanese don't eat Sushi all the time. It's an occasional
treat! Yes you can find a package in every super markets,
but we consider that is a compromise. When you buy,
say a printer, you have a product line...right? and the
product line... you see a premium version, a second premium
version, and a budget version.. supermarket sushi belongs here.

What do you eat in Japan? I was often asked... and it is very
difficult to explain even to me... because we don't eat Japanese
food all the time but we eat Japanese vegetables and Japanese
ingredients. Without that we can't cook.

Here is an example of what we eat... it's a dinner I fixed the
other day, spaghetti.
I used some Komatsuna leaves, and some bacon,
a few Enoki mashrooms. I sauteed with some garlic and olive oil.
Then I used some soy sauce to season, and gave a sprinkle of Nori
on top. For a drink, we had a cold Mugi cha, which is a tea
made from roasted wheat....

All these vegetable's I could not find in the Market oversea.
And what is worse is, as soon as I translate it in English,
it starts to sound so mysterious....a tea made from roasted wheat?
Sounds like some savage foods. Japanese eats a lot of seaweeds...
the word seaweeds is so misleading, for example, nori is made
from seaweeds...the black papers you use to wrap sushi.
Nori comes with so many product grades and qualities....
it has a long tradition and people can never imagine how expensive
the quality of nori can be... you can make a fortune with nori industry.

This is same as Konbu, a Kelp. Konbu is so important in Japanese
cuisine... it improves almost every dish because kelp is actually
amino acids. This also have so much grades and variety.. we
use a different Konbu for a different dish.

If I were in abroad, I'd use Spinach instead of Komatsuna,
ordinally mushrooms for Enoki, skip soy sauce and use
cheese instead of Nori. For a drink I'll jut get some herb tea.

See what I mean? It's so difficult to fix what Japanese
eat everyday without ingredient, even with the ingredient,
many people would just think it's Italian...