Tsukuba-san Reloaded

July 10, 2008

As announced before, it’s time for the second, somehow less sane version of hiking at Mount Tsukuba. This time, it was together with people from my lab – and being good weather and all, I thought that this would be the very first “spare time lab activity” where I’m not getting completely dirty. Boy, was I wrong!

Well, they had planned to take a “path that nobody knows“. The prospect of following some secluded path off the beaten track, avoiding the masses of people you are otherwise prone to encounter when doing some weekend activity, sounded quite interesting. The only problem was: In reality, we didn’t follow any such path – there was no path at all!!! We just fought our way through bamboo grass (笹) as high as a person, always clinging to the nearest tree to stop sliding or falling. Occasionally, we found some departed signs of civilization (read: trash, that we took with us off the mountain), but other than that it was a feeling of exploring undiscovered land, with the additional feature that the path was mostly pretty steep and challenging, so you had to watch every step carefully.

Near the top, we finally joined and followed a recognizable path, ate some snacks, and soon went back again … at first, taking the usual route to a kind-of sightseeing spot, featuring a cool view over the area at the foot of the mountain. From there on, however, we went off track again, happily “bushwhacking”: It’s strange when you see a perfect, neat trail before you, but neglect it and head right through the copse instead, where you often have trouble seeing the person two or three meters away from you. And it got even worse: Oftentimes, our trail led us right through a small stream, having to hop from stone to stone; soon, the shoes got wet, accumulated mud, got slippery … which led to people falling and sliding down some meters when the terrain got steeper. You can imagine how we looked afterwards. The backside of my clothes was literally soaked with mud, and I didn’t get my shoes clean again yet. 😉

Despite (or, probably because of) this highly unusual track, I have to say that I had a lot of fun during our little adventure – though wondering all the time how I could ever find the words to describe it in my blog; and, in case I succeed, whether people would believe me. Finally, back at the cars again, we rewarded ourselves first with a trip to a nearby onsen (public hot spa) [1], soaking in the hot water for more than 1 hour. Then, to a restaurant called “Genghis Khan”, where they prepared slices of sheep meat and lots of vegetables, to be fried at the table. What can I say, a well spent day.

[1] For insiders: We did not go to Tsukuba-san Onsen, because it reputedly is “oludo, notto guddo” (“old, not good” in Japanese-English lingo; quote!), but to Yasato Onsen Yuri no Sato, which was definitely worth the drive and also features a rather large rotenburo (outdoor bath).



  1. Soso, du verbringst also deine freie Zeit damit, Müll auf irgendwelchen einsamen Bergpfaden aufzusammeln… ökologisch sehr korrekt! 😉 Und bei dem Wetter in Schwarz? Mag gegen den ganzen Schmutz gut sein, aber wenn es bei euch auch nur annähernd so heiß ist, wie hier in Kyoto, kann ich mir nur mit einem japanischen Adjektiv behelfen: 死にそう!

  2. Kyoto mag ein ganz klein wenig schlimmer sein, aber hier ist es auch schon sehr “mushiatsui”. Auf dem (jetzt müll-freien ^^) Berg allerdings waren die Temperaturen sehr angenehm, da ließ sich auch die schwarze Kleidung gut ertragen.

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