The Takao-san Field Trip, or How We Survived The Big-Ass Mountain and Got Drunk Later

So, today was the long-awaited Takao-san trip.

Suzanne and I rode to the station on our bikes that morning and got to Takao-san-guchi on time. We didn't think climbing the mountain would be that bad.

We were horribly, horribly, wrong.

About a quarter of the way through, I found out I had trouble breathing, so I stopped to rest before I wound up collapsing on the stone path. It didn't really get better until we reached the halfway point, where there were stands selling dango, fruits, little tourist-trap things, really. Well, okay, I could have done with some imo and yuzu for sure.

The temples were beautiful, though, and they distracted me from my shortness of breath, thanks to oh, the little love shrine I spotted, the other huge shrines, and the fact that these people were selling lucky charms like hotcakes. The only one I got was the one in the pictures--the little doll that has chuu-kichi (misspelled in the caption), because according to it, something will happen this year. We'll have to see, I guess.

After lunch (where we stopped to rest), it had beautiful scenery, but we still had to go further up. As in, we went up, I felt like I'd been socked in the gut, and Boccellari-sensei would cheerfully go, "oh, the worst is over. Now it's the second worst!" As you can see in the pictures, every time we thought we were done climbing a slope, there would be another one, and it'd be a hell of a lot more steep and a hell of a lot more dangerous looking.

Example: on the way to the very top, I saw a man slip and fall and hurt himself. I asked him and his wife if he needed help, and they waved me off, but it looked like he may have sprained something.

In other words, while I felt like I'd been socked in the gut, I had to worry about falling. Yay.

The top, as you can see in the pictures, is worth it, though.

Of course, when Kimi-san cheerfully said it was all downhill from here, we thought that it'd be easier this time.

(insert maniacal laughter here)

Not only was the downward walk steep, but there were mud, rocks, and tree roots where one could slip and fall easily and did so. Quite a few, actually. It's amazing we all made it down in one piece, considering the sharp turns, loose rocks and my shoelaces getting untied like mad. I finally grabbed onto New Zealand Mark's hand for dear life and made it down.

Afterwards, some of us went back to the dorm, and some of us decided to go to an izakaya in Hachioji for a party.

Beer, sake, and Japanese food going all over the place. We had a ton of stuff. Boccellari-sensei ordered natto and passed it around making people freak out.

I had two little cups of sake; one was room temperature and one was warm, and they kinda went to my head, as I felt pretty good afterwards. I'm better now, since of course, I rode my bike back home without incident.

And so, this concludes the Takao-san Adventure.


A different one for all those people who say I should smile more. Y'all happy now?

Self-portrait in a reflection.

End-result Maru-chan.

Marina and Zan. What you don't see is Zan munching on sheets of seaweed.

Wakasugi-age, I think.

I told you the miso konnyaku would show up again. It's SO good.

This is cold tofu with a layer of shichimi and aonori. Spicy as hell.

...and the warm sake isn't bad either.

Mmmm, room temperature sake.



Sarath and Yasunori talking.

Zan, Michelle, Marina and Mark.

Not even six yet and Maru-chan's already hammered.

Fried tofu. Without the broth. There's one with broth. You'll see it later.

Edamame, and on your left is niku-jaga, beef potato onion stew.

The beer, of course, flowed like water.

What Suzanne describes as the perfect glass of beer, brought to her by the Magical Beer Fairy.

Zan and Maru-chan posing like models.

Crap, I forgot about this wonderful rice paddy.


We finally got down, managing to avoid slipping on rocks, mud and tree roots and falling to our deaths.

View of the top, from a different perspective.

Sarath, just before we went down.

This is what it looks like at the very top of Takao-san. It's actually very pretty now that I see it here.

Almost there. Thank God.

And here's the parts where if you're not careful, you will trip and FALL.

See what I mean? Every time we'd think it was over, we'd see something like THAT. I was muttering, "uso da," or "maji" a hell of a lot.

One of the views on the way up, again.

Boccellari-sensei. He claims to have broken the camera because I took that picture of him, but it worked just fine, actually.

These leaves sure are beautiful. Of course, I can say that now, since I don't feel like I'm about to collapse and am sitting at my screen viewing them.

The forest on the way up.

This is when you looked up. It's pretty if you're on level ground. Not so pretty if you're trying to clamber up and catch up with everyone else.

This was a nice view on the way up, though.

Like this. And every time Naito and I saw this we would start going, "what, AGAIN?"

This is us going down for a small while, until somehow, the damn thing went treacherously upward.

This was when we started climbing yet again.

You know, we came here to look at stuff like this. And feel more ascetic by climbing up the mountain. Whew.

More of the lovely foliage. Yes, it's never going to stop.

Naito and Guy Who Can Speak Chinese. Damn, I forgot his name...

Maru-chan again.

Maru-chan. Heh.

I think this is yet another wallpaper contender...

Scenery at the top of Takao-san.

Fajar and Kimi-san. They wouldn't hug when I asked them to!

Me. And children. You can't really see me though. I think the girl on my left thought I was evil.

Simon's miso konnyaku. It showed up again at the nomikai. Was quite good.

Iiiiiiit's lunchtime!!

Jizo on the way up to the one of the tops.

This is what you tie your omikuji to if you get bad luck.