First things first, Guillaume finally bought his plane tickets to come visit in August! YAY! I am so excited!!!! And Rachel and Josh bought tickets to visit at the end of June. Mega mega yay!!!!
Moving on, last Saturday, some friends (Alexis, Martin, and Jenny-Lyn) and I hopped on the train and made our way over to Ibuki-san, an absolutely gorgeous mountain, for a nice day of hiking. It had been raining all week, but I guess we got lucky as the weather was absolutely fabulous (though it would have been even better if I'd had some sun block).
When we got off the train, there was no machine in which to put our tickets, and the guy seemed un-interested in dealing with foreigners, so he just looked vaguely at our tickets then let us all through. This worked out well for Martin, who hadn't actually payed for the whole way. Oups! Then we hopped on the ONLY bus in town and headed on over to the base of the mountain.
I attempted to take a picture of us at the base with my timer, but it didn't turn out too great. :-(
Now, I've hiked up many mountains in my time, but NONE of them were as steep as this one. It just went straight up the mountain side as opposed to winding around comfortably.
It was therefore hard for me to set a pace. Martin practically JOGGED up the mountain, but Alexis and Jenny-Lyn were going a little more slowly than I would have liked.
View from the first rest stop!
Because our paces were so different, we waited for each other at each of the rest stops (according to Martin, there was a 1,2,3,5,6,7,8 - no 4 because that's unlucky. I somehow didn't see a couple of them, though). On the way up, I ended up sticking mostly with Martin.
Martin and I at a rest stop!
Jenny-Lyn and Alexis hiking away!
As we got higher, the view got even more and more amazing!
After about three hours we made it to the top
and somehow we still had energy to act like idiots.
The view was absolutely breathtaking, and it was oh so totally worth it!
On the way down, Martin and Alexis both practically jogged, while Jenny-Lyn and I picked our way down doing our best (and failing) not to fall. It was so steep and rocky, I don't know how I survived. Several times, I really thought I was just going to go tumbling all the way down the mountain.
On Sunday, don't ask me how, but I managed to find the energy to get up and enjoy a bike ride with some other friends (Matan and Carla and some of their friends).
Sandra, Miji(?), Carla, and Matan
We went temple and matsuri (festival) exploring. It was actually the day of the Festival of Nomi, so we managed to find three festivals going on, and I think we saw about 5 temples.
I love the dragon fountains at all of the temples!
We got to see some Japanese cheerleaders!
And some really weird fish!
At the last festival we went to, there were these really cool float type things that were being pulled down the road.
They had little boys and girls reenacting old Japanese stories. It was very cool!
Some friends of mine actually got to pull - Lauren and Jenny-Lyn!
There was also a temple by this last festival where I got to pour oil over this little Buddha.
It was weird and really quite disgusting, and I'm sure it was to bring some sort of luck or good thing on me, but I unfortunately don't know what that would be.
So, all in all, it was an absolutely FABULOUS weekend. Also a very active weekend. It's so nice to be able to get out and move about so much.
It also made for a VERY long post, so sorry about that!
Martin and I have started doing kanji together - we're trying to learn at least 5 kanji a day, and today I realized that I am not remembering them nearly as well as I would like to be, so now I must go study!
:-) (sorry the pictures aren't bigger or clickonable - once again, blogger is being an idiot.)