Monday, October 29, 2007

Conquering the Mountain

Kendra :

From anywhere in Kobe, you can look up to the north and see and feel the impressive presence of Mount Rokko and Mount Maya. These are the peaks nearest to us that belong to a huge chain running all along the Kansai region. Well, most of Japan is mountains. That is why the country can seem so crowded. Basically because of the mountains there just isn't room to expand cities on the ground so the cities have to expand upward. Hence why there are alot more tall buildings here than say in Kalamazoo.

Our roommate from last year, Langdon, who is a JET living in Hamamatsu, Japan, came for a visit this last weekend. We had a pretty good time. It was nice to see a friend from back home as well. Aaron had someone to play video games with and together those two managed to beat Mario Kart on the super famicon on 150cc for all the cups. Woo hoo, huh.

But, the highlight of the weekend was climbing Mt. Rokko, or Rokko-san, as you would say in Japan. Since mountains are considered sacred places they are given the title "san" which you also put on human names, like I am Kendra-san to more formal friends. So, saying Rokko-san is kind of like giving the mountain some human feeling to it. All mountains can be called like this, the most famous of course being Fuji-san, Mt. Fuji.

When we started the climb it was drizzling out and rather dreary; not very nice weather to be outside in, but we decided to go ahead with it anyways. The first part was all paved and we were sort of disapointed, but soon it started to get interesting...

This is a sign warning of...go ahead...take a guess, yes, an attack by a very angry boar. I'm not sure of the origin of these piggies but apparently they have been known to attack people. More on this later.
Here we are at the start of our climb. The other girl's name is Katherine, she is another Fulbright Fellow studying in Kobe. The guy is one of her friends.

Here is Aaron looking at the view from the start of the climb.

Here is the gang! Ready for a climb!

WOW! This picture doesn't do it justice though. And this is the view from not even half way!

This is the view toward the top. Again, this picture does nothing to show you how incredible it was up there.

Is this for real? or something out of the Lost World or something. That is what I kept thinking.

Kitty! For some reason there was this nice cat on top of the mountain. He looked very well fed and he was nice so we figured he either lived off stuff tourist give him or he belonged to a mountain hermit.

Ahh...contemplating the view on the way down.

Toward the bottom of the mountan there was a Shinto shrine. AND!! guess what we saw...
It was really big, but it took one look at us and ran as fast as it could. It didn't really live up to the vicious looking boar on the signs, but it was still cool to see one. But, it ran away so fast that we didn't have a chance to get a picture of it.
Here is Aaron wearing my silly hat that I got at a 390 yen store. It has a patch with the woodstock logo and the words " Everyday of peace and love" on it.

The busy part of Kobe (Sannomiya) at night.
All in all it was a pretty cool weekend. Hopefully we will get to visit Langdon in his hometown sometime. In other good news, our internet at our house should be installed and running by November 8th! Isn't that exciting. Now Aaron will be able to get on the internet. I can only use it when I am here at school. So, if you are interested, get yourself a skype name and the proper gear and we will be able to talk over the internet for free! Yes, really free.
Next weekend is my school's festival but Aaron and I will be gone for the most part to another festival. We have to take a overnight ferry to get to this one, but it looks really cool.
Hope all is well with everyone. Miss you guys!

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