Sunday, January 16, 2022

New Year Post - Climbing

I am not a climber, as previously stated. However, I am hoping that I could try an easy mountain on a happy occasion such as New Year’s Day or my birthday; taking-it-slow and easy, forgetting how old I am.

I cannot tell when I noticed it, but I was definitely trying to avoid ascending roads, choosing gentle slopes, or even going on a long detour. Before you know it, climbing seems a bit awkward.

Suddenly you are uncertain if you can even climb a smaller mountain - about 500 meters.

Celebrating my 90th Birthday, I wish to put on record my past mountain treks (Scotland and Taiwan) which I partook coming back to Japan from the US in 1994.

I settled down back in Hino City, Tokyo in the house I had newly built with Nippon Homes in 1970 (living room, 3 bedrooms, kitchen, central heating). The house was rented to my employer while I was in the US. I eventually sold it and moved from Tokyo to Kitakyushu in the late 1990’s.

While living in Tokyo, I had a number of chances to climb Mt. Takao (about 500 meters) either on foot or by cable car. Mt. Takao is a very popular mountain in Tokyo.

While also in Tokyo, I started to travel to Taiwan and made many Toastmaster friends, with whom I traveled often to Mt. Yanminshan, Taipei’s suburban national park. Mt. Yanmin and Mt. Takao are very comparable promenades.

I traveled to Scotland alone and trotted two places - one was Ben Navis, the other Glencoe Valley, both in the Highlands, near Port Williams. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain (1300 meters) and I just looked up in awe. Glencoe is the most beautiful glen I've ever seen, and sadly famous for the Glencoe Massacre. Glen is named after the River Coe. I hummed Danny Boy to myself, "from glen to glen and down the mountain side".

In Kitakyushu, about a 500-meter Mt. Sarakura welcomed me. There at Sarakura, meaning "dish warehouse", you can enjoy a Million Dollar view of Yahata City from the summit, in daytime or at night. You can make it to the top either on foot or by cable car.

Sarakura of Kitakyushi reminded me of Mt. Sara-ga-Mine (1,271 meter) in Ehime, my birth prefecture. As a teenager, I was sent there for 3 months for intensive training to learn how to fly a glider. After hundred-days of training, I received an official certification of finishing secondary class glider pilot. During training, the secondary class pilot candidates climbed Mt. Sara-ga-Mine to watch our Primary Class glider instructor take off from the top of Sara-ga-Mine.

Alina, my grand-daughter, married a 'mountain man' two years ago. I was unable to attend her wedding nor have I had a chance to meet him yet because of COVID pandemic. I'll send this blog to him for comment.