THE DOLDRUMS

SEPTEMBER 2007

#41 – RYOGAMI-SAN

cloud forest

September 5

Rain preceding typhoon.  Cooped up in Kitty-chan’s cramped dorm room I wasn’t so sure the weather was such a bad thing as I assessed the state of my mutilated feet.  Mauled to shreds by my new hiking boots my heels and toes were happy for the weather induced reprieve.  Kitty-chan was out, so I had control of the remote.  Oooh, the A-Team followed up by Michael Caine in Beyond the Poseidon Adventure – nearly too much for a bloke to handle on a wet afternoon in Tokyo.

ryogami trail

September 6

Typhoon Number Nine made landfall.  Kitty-chan and I had stocked up with DVD’s and junk food.  If that wouldn’t get us through, there was always ping pong downstairs.  The air con struggled with the humidity more than we did – gurgling through the night, it sounded like an ostrich with a hole in its neck.  One of those large, bouncy exercise balls bounded around the tiny balcony as the gale howled outside and rain lashed the sliding glass doors.  Between movies we watched the typhoon updates replete with vision of Japanese toddling around Tokyo getting their umbrellas turned inside out, while others ran around in the wind with soggy newspapers clamped to their heads…and then there were weather maps…and typhoon trajectory predictions…blah, blah, blah.

ryogami relic

September 7

Bogged down.  I was spinning wheels in a morass of bad weather and deteriorating motivation.  In hindsight, small excuses were making way for big delays.  Before hitting Tokyo I was nine days ahead of schedule.  Since getting off Azumaya I’d climbed  no less than one mountain in the last twelve days.  No more either.  Welcome to the doldrums.

sleepy girl

ryogami shrine

September 8

All gloom was confined to the dorm.  Kitty-chan had been up all night job hunting on the net and was in no mood for an early morning chinwag.  She had to be at work in a few hours and anyway, I had to be on a Chichibu bound train.  A couple of hours later and I was on a mountain bound bus snaking its way along narrow roads up through sodden, typhoon tormented countryside.  Rivers still gushed, muddy torrents.  Roads were still being cleared of debris.  Ryogami was lost in white, thankfully rainless cloud.  I followed a few other intrepid hikers into the battered forests below the mountain and forded swollen streams and clambered over broken branches while the others halted to discuss the conditions.  The mountain leaked water profusely.  I wandered  alone up a stoney trail through woods strewn with carved relics, grimacing as my boots recommenced their assault on my sorry feet.  Just before the top  the path led through a shrine precinct guarded by a pair of vicious looking hounds on plinths.  Cloud clung to the summit, squandering my chances of a view in any direction.

Didn’t matter.  I was just happy to be back in the hills.

Upon my return, in spite of the late hour, good vibes and happiness reigned.  Kitty-chan had got her genk back and a quick check of the forecast promised seven days of sunshine.

“Yee-har, fan-fuckin-tastic!” were the famous last words I uttered as my head hit the pillow.

ryogami mutt

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