Thursday October 22nd 2009
Obata-san has been wanting to take us to the mountains to go hiking. Obata-san is 74 years old and has so much energy. So today he finally got to take us hiking. We started pretty early because we had an hour and a half drive to Mt. Akagi. Paul was especially excited to visit this mountain, because its talked about in an anime (Japanese Animation) he and his brothers used to watch called Initial D. We actually live right in the middle of where this anime is based. And a few years ago a Chinese movie company made a live action film using this mountain and a city near by for special footage.
It was a beautiful day. We could see the mountains approaching ahead of us. It has been a long time since we went mountain hiking, and we were excited to be getting out of the house. It was pretty chilly when we got there. We were a little worried we hadn’t brought enough warm clothes. But as soon as we started moving we warmed up. Soon we found our hiking trail. I have to say it wasn’t what I expected. All of our expectations are obviously based on life experiences. We are from Kansas and the only times we’ve been “hiking” were trips to Colorado through nice flat uphill trails with few rocks to trip over.
This was straight up mountain climbing in my book. No wonder Obata-san was worried with my choice of shoes. Yesterday he had recommended hiking boots, but all we had were trail running or tennis shoes. Now we understood. Well we decided to do the best we could and hope for safety. Just kidding, but seriously I was a little scared. So up up up we went. It was kind of cool. We were climbing a mountain. Obata-san was really worried about me and kept asking if I was alright. He should see me when I really exert myself. My face gets all red and my blue eyes stand out like I’m going to pass out, but that’s just normal for me.
We made it up to the first peak i guess you would call it. We stopped and looked around. It was so cool. Beautiful view! We had fun taking a few pictures and then we headed back down. We will climb to the top another day.
We walked around and found a good spot for lunch. It was funny looking at the difference between our “bag” lunch and Obata- san’s “box” lunch. He brought a large ball of rice wrapped in seaweed and we brought sandwiches.
After lunch we decided this would be a good spot to do a little singing. Obata-san had brought some copies of “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art”, & “Jesus is Lord”.
We drew a little attention, but we didn’t mind. It gave us the chance to tell a few people why we were in Japan and what the songs were about. A few people even joined in for “Amazing Grace”. Its a very popular song here.
After we were finished singing we headed towards the car. We passed a big Shrine on our way back to the car. We hadn’t seen a Shrine yet so walked by and Obata-san explained a few things about the shrine and the area around it. It was quite interesting to learn of some of the similarities between Shinto and Judaism . They have priests. And inside the shrine is a similar setup to the temple. They have a place for normal people to come in, and then another place inside only the priests can go, like a Holy of Holies. The similarities stop there though. They also have this dragon water fountain for
drinking before you enter the Shrine. Its supposed to purify you. Also this entrance has this special rope with tassels on it to cleans you as you enter towards the Shrine. It was an interesting walk through the Shrine.
On our way home Paul drove and Obata-san enjoyed the ride home with a little nap. Its good to be able to help Obata-san in this way.