Saturday, March 15, 2008

More nature than any other country

So I have recently been informed. I like to go out in the woods as often as I can. This ain't often in Tokyo.

About 2 hours from Tokyo is Nikko which is fairly convenient for a one day trip. I last went there in February. As I was hiking up a trail to the top of a 3,000 foot plus hill, enjoying the sugi trees (planted as a crop by the bureaucrats years ago) and hinoki trees and the silence (rarely did I even hear a bird), I suddenly heard a loud, disturbing noise. No, not a sneeze from one of the many who have developed an allergy to the unnaturally over-abundant sugi trees, but a fellow hiker with his transistor radio at full blast. (That's him in the photo.) Apparently, this is a traditional way for a lot of old guys to enjoy nature. Fill the silence with AM radio. Scare away any living thing within hundreds of yards.

I stopped and let grandpa pass and stayed back taking photos and just enjoying the walk for a while. Unfortunately, I could not walk slowly enough and once the trail started up hill, grandpa slowed to a crawl. I wanted to pass him as I sure didn't want to spend the next two hours listening to his radio. He wouldn't move off the trail even slightly to let me pass either---as I had done for him. So I went through the woods and around him an nearly ran up the next two slopes to get away from him and his noise. Later as I had stopped on the other side of the top of the hill to take photos, I heard Rajio-ojiisama again. I put away my camera and took off down the hill. Rajio-ojii actually tried to speed up after me for some reason (wanted to get in front to block the trail again or entertain me with the radio?) Unfortunately for him, he fell flat on his a**, and I kept going.

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