Thursday, August 21, 2008

As I await the end of summer, which by temperature standards of my home would be around late October in Kanto, (meaning it is what I would call summer-like in Tokyo until then) I am trying to focus on trips to the mountains that I plan for the fall and winter. I am hoping to be able to go to areas sufficiently remote that I don't have a noisy bunch of grannies and grandpas destroying any sense of nature with transistor radios blaring, talking and giggling in voices loud enough to wake the dead, or even the types I see on TV who as soon as they reach a cleared, leveled, and perhaps even concreted viewing platform of an official scenic view scream "sugoiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!" repeatedly. This rules out much of anything that does not require camping or travel by car.

I have been able to get completely away from humans only once in the last year when I went to the Nikko area and found an obscure trail leading to the top of one of the more popular mountains there. I never made it to the top as I did not have a real map, but a printed puzzle written by a clown with no sense of scale nor idea of how to make a map. (Real maps useful for doing any serious hiking or climbing are hard to find. I understand that they are or were available at Kinokuniya in Shinjuku, but I have not checked yet.)

Decent English books on aspects of nature concerning Japan are tough to find. Decent does not include books with the standard "mystery of the Orient" slant to them. There are magazines in Japanese concerning mountain climbing (actually hiking) that are somewhat useful in getting an idea of where to go. Otherwise, like most other magazines, their main focus is on selling readers stuff they don't need.

One book that I recently bought is The Green Archipelago by Conrad Totman. It concerns forestry in pre-industrial Japan and is one of the very few in English that I have been able to find. In fact, I have not been able to find much in Japanese beyond the simplistic either, at least in any bookstores. Even if I could, it would be a challenge for me to read it and get as much out of it as I could one written in English.

Oh well. Forget that. Manga-Man Aso is seen by some as angling to slither into the prime minister slot. There is the answer to Japan's problems. And don't worry, about some of his and his supporter's statements in the past. After all, nationalism is not an issue in Japan, yet.

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