Takao-san: Prepping for Fuji!

After a crazy week filled with night shifts and long hours at work, Joey snagged a precious few days off!  We had a great staycation, staying in Tokyo for an evening, seeing an import car show, relaxing at home.  We capped it all off with our first real hiking experience in Japan!

We climbed Mount Takao, located in nearby Hachioji.  It was a beautiful day for hiking, the trail was well-defined and not rough, and all-around it was a fabulous day.  Highlights included:  saying hi to everyone we passed.  This may not seem like anything, but it was lovely to pass folks on the trail and say hi.  In the city, strangers strive to ignore one another, despite the frequent extremely-close proximity in which we are forced to stand/wait/ride.  One can stare people right in the face and inspect their nose hairs, but will at all costs avoid their eyes as they listen to their iPods.  On the trail, however, we were greeted with cheery “konnichiwas” from everyone we passed.  It was refreshing, and nice to get out of the city for a bit.

Second highlight:  I miss striking up coherent conversations with strangers, but I did love having a non-coherent one with a random old guy who obviously loves nature.  He lent us his binoculars and showed us some plants that are currently flowering.  What are they?  I dunno.  But he was very sweet and tried to explain – I did catch the overall gist, which is that these plants were flowering and they are awesome.

Final highlight was the delicious soba noodles at the summit of the mountain.  I love noodles.  Who knew they could be so tasty.

Next up – Fuji.  We’re coming for you, mountain.  I think I’ll need a few more workout sessions before I begin my trash-talking though.