Tokyo Damage Report

Japan trip 5: asahidake

FRIDAY 9 — ASAHIDAKE ONSEN

Take the bus to the new joint, asahidake onsen, and go to the youth hostel. During dinner, the TV news shows a big report on Hurricane Katrina / New Orleans floods, and then cuts to a segment on gondola racing in Venice! I have no idea if that was intentionally done as a joke, but it still made me want to slap someone.

 

It is too late to hike, so I just hang out with the 2 guys in my dorm room. . . me and the homies watch that chris tucker-jackie chan film, dubbed in Japanese. We tuned in just in time to see the scene where tucker teaches chan how to sing and dance “war, huh, what is it good for.” . . . DUBBED IN JAPANESE. That was just jaw-droppingly surreal, watching chris tucker teach Jackie chan how to act black IN JAPANESE. i am totally unable to explain this further so just use your imagination.

 

SATURDAY 10 — ASAHIDAKE ONSEN

I dragged my carcass out of bed and took the funicular up to the volcano top. At first I was just intending to sleep up there. But some dumb ranger guy yelled at me for sleeping near the trail. What, motherfucker?? I am sleeping on grass, not on some endangered flower! Plus, all this shit is going to be under a meter of ice in a month’s time. Whatever, once I started walking in earnest, I realized that I was slowly feeling better and better. Made a snap decision to just hike the whole 7 hour around-the-volcano course. I mean, fuck it. See this is the difference between America and japan. They say ganbarre, we say fuck it. Besides the pronunciation, the subtle differences in meaning are what truly define our different cultures. Fuck it.

The terrain is half ugly igneous eroded desert, but the other half is eerie, otherworldly low hills covered with rust-colored flowers. And low green shrubs and weird moss, and dirty filthy little slabs of snow, all making this kind of amazing patchwork collage. Saw a dragonfly on the ground eating a winged ant. The ant was all struggling like “fuuuck this” and eventually pulled free?leaving its abdomen in the mouth of the dragonfly. Oozing ichor it slowly staggered away. I was like, “. . . "

Anyway the first 4 hours of hiking were ok, but actually climbing the central volcano was just all kinds of ass. First it is just shit-faced UGLY. Looks like a desert. Second, it is between 30 and 40 degrees steep. Third, the trails are so eroded that you can easily fall down the slope with every step.

Fourth, of course, my legs were weak as kittens from all the exericise this past week. Oh, plus the wind. Holy hell the wind. I mean, damn. Anyway I made it up and then down somehow and then checked into a different new pension and headed to the sauna.

 

 

panorama photo

another panorama!!

and a third!! of the swamp of course.

The new pension is LODGE NUTAPU and is fucking awesome. Finally a Japanese person who has a clue about what is important. You can wear socks without slippers. You can jump right in the rotenburo without showering. But you can’t smoke or talk on your cellhpone. Fuck yes man!!

Plus the guy built the joint himself and like it is amazing. Everything is made out of huge promethean slabs of wood. Like chairs, tables, etc. not like dainty wood or ikea wood, but like “take a 5 foot wide tree trunk and carve a wedge out of it and hey?now it’s a chair!” kind of wood. That dude even has random gratiuitous huge treetrunks sitting around awaiting his next project..

Plus the decor is pretty homey and intimate with piles of skiboots and old magazines and just enough disorder to make one feel at home. But the main thing is the rotenboro. Holy shit dogg!!! Not only is this the first really fucking ass-hot onsen I have been in in Hokkaido, but also a video-game-like series of hanging logs blocks people outside from seeing my naked body. The owner called it an “objet blind.” And there are 2 rotenboros. One is under a gently illuminated and weird-angled wood roof and then it has a built-in waterfall that leads 10 feet down to a smaller rotenboro that is on the side of a cliff. it directly overlooks a river and natural waterfall 2 or 3 feet away, plus you can see the salmon-colored sunset. The shit is the best-designed most awesome rotenboro I have ever seen dude!!

After that I had a delicious dinner — these guys actually understand that veggies are important, not just fish and rice and deep-fried crap. The other guests were some socially awkward dude with crazy acrogamealy, and 3 cross-country skiers in training. One of the lady skiers had just intense arm muscles. Took me a while to notice them but once I did I could barely not look away I was like damn!!! Have you ever bench-pressed an American before? The owner juiced us all up with free sochu also. Fucking sweet.

 

SUNDAY 11 — ASAHIDAKE ONSEN

Today I finaly decide to nonbiri. Just take it easy. Go on a HORIZONTAL trail out to a swamp where supposedly wasabi radishes grow. I am typing this on the swamp, like a fucking Microsoft commercial where some clown is quote-unquote telecommuting.

In fact I am not even looking at the keyboard! Just looking at the huge swarms of dragonflies. The dragonflies are a fucking trip. In this particular swamp is a new kind I never seen before — baby blue and almost as big as my hand. And these insects are not shy either ? as soon as I sat down the red and brown ones would totally land on me. like up to three at a time. Another time, one landed on each soulder like fucking eaputulets. Another time 3 all landed on my book! What is even cooler is that they are not at all scary. They don’t bite or sting anything but fucking mosquitoes. What is not to like??? The weird thing about them though is, the sky is pretty full of them but as soon as a cloud goes over the sun, they all stop flying. Like, I have heard about cold blooded but damn.

Wind up staying there for 7 hours, just studying kanji and hiking.

Hiked around this wooden elevated swamp trail. Put down my backpack because, unlike a microsoft commercial, packs full of laptops get heavy. Hike one lap around the swamp and come back and there is a fox all trying to eat my backpack. At first I am offended but then I remember that foxes are pretty rad so I am like, Good Evening! come here little guy and take pictures. He still tore off the entire rear compartment but it was so worth it!

 

plus , snaaaaaaaaaaaake!

Monday 12 — ASAHIDAKE ONSEN

Hike all day and then Study kanji in the rotenboro!!!

Finally go to sleep and then have a dream (real this time) where I am in a car with a naked prog-rock pal of mine, and an annoying highschool pal, and this fucking crackhead jerk girl. And my prog-rock pal takes his hands off the wheel and is casually talking to us as if he was not on a freeway doing 70 naked. I look up and see the bumper of a huge red car looming in our windshield and, instead of waking up in a sweat, actually collide and feel the impact. Then darkness. I seriously thought I was wounded. First tried to breathe and see if my ribs were broken. Still dark. Did not dare open my eyes. Tried hesitantly to move to check if my bones were broken or if my limbs were there. Never had a dream like that before.

 


japan page 1 — touya

japan page 2 —shikotsuko

japan page 3 — shirogane

japan page 4 – biei

japan page 5 – asahidake

japan page 6- tazawa lake and nyuto onsen

japan page 7 – miyako festival

japan page 7 and a half – miyako beach

japan page 8 – kinkasan

japan page 9 – osaka

japan page 10 – texture photos, can you guess what they are of?

 

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