Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Rainy Day


On Saturday, Dina, her daughters, and I went on an ITT tour to Kamikochi. Kamikochi is a hiking area in the Japanese Alps. It is located in the Nagano prefecture and about a five hour bus ride from where we live. 

Out guide gave us a map of the route we should follow during our hike. The hike was advertised as being a 6-7 mile flat and easy hike. We were also told to be watchful for monkeys, deer, and bears. We only saw monkeys. 

The bus dropped us off around 9:30am. It was a clear and sunny morning. We all decided to leave our sweatshirts on the bus. 

Our first point of interest was Taisho Pond. The views were stunning in the bright sunshine and the water was so clear. 

Our next point of interest was Mt. Yakedake, an active volcano. 

We continued along the nature trail and had our first monkey sighting. We were warned not to look them in the eye! 

We continued along the trail and crossed a couple bridges and went past a shrine. 

It wasn’t too much further when we saw our first bear sighting sign report. We appreciated the sign also being in English. Fortunately, the sighting was almost a month ago. 

More beautiful views. 

And soon we made it to the Kappa Bridge. We stopped briefly for a little souvenir shopping and for a quick lunch. I took this picture when we first arrived. 

By the time we were leaving, the clouds had rolled in and it was starting to sprinkle. We had no rain gear or jackets. Fortunately, we were able to purchase new fleece for everyone! Here is the view from the Kappa Bridge. 

And oh, was it ever windy! Here we all are decked out in our new fleece. 

Being the super troopers that we are, we set out for the remainder of the hike. It was approximately 4 miles. In the light rain at first and then very heavy rain. 

At one point we all started to have Mt. Fuji climbing flashbacks. Even though we didn’t climb Mt. Fuji on the same day, we had very similar experiences. Rain. 

I took a quick recording of the rain sheets coming down. 

We were completely unprepared for foul weather during this hike. Dina mentioned the irony of us not being prepared for rainy season especially after I discussed in yesterday’s blog! Live and learn and pack a rain coat. The turn around point was across the Myojin Bridge. 

We made one more quick stop for energy aka Sake.  

After this last stop, we quickly scampered back to the Kappa Bridge area where we would find the bus. 

We had one more chance to see a monkey. 

And another bear sighting report. When we realized how recent this sighting was and that we should be especially cautious in rain, we really started to scurry! 

But first, one more selfie… 

And me with my new Wabi-Sabi Sole SnapBack and fleece. 

The day started out beautifully and turned into one of those days we will always remember. There was Eme almost falling in a puddle, no one having gear, and Dina getting snarled at by a monkey. Or maybe it was running back to warm up, playing tag, and silly science puns to keep us all laughing. Regardless, we made the entire hike (4 of the 6 people on the tour who did) and laughed more than we complained along the way! 

Rainy Season

Since the beginning of this month, we have heard a lot about the rainy season in Japan. June started off with very rainy and humid weather and then cooled down and the humidity cleared. On Wednesday, there was  noticeably more humidity in the air.

At both of my English classes today, my Japanese students mentioned rainy season has begun. I find this funny because other than the rain yesterday, it hasn’t rained in a while. I asked my students how can it be rainy season when it’s not raining. They explained that it wasn’t just about thevrain but also the extra humidity. Ahhh. Ok, I felt I needed more information.

I was able to find a very interesting and informative video from Westpacwx about the rainy season. It is too long to insert into my blog, but you can view it here.

For where we live in Japan, we should expect to experience the rainy season from now until the end of the month.

The monsoon or rainy season is a result of the Siberian high pressure receding and being replaced by the Western Pacific High. The Siberian high pressure system is cool dry air that was in place during the winter and the Western Pacific High pressure is warm moist air which by July and through August will be in place over Japan. Where these two high pressure systems meet create a frontal system with intense periods of rain or monsoons.

Another article I found discussed survival strategies for monsoon season. I feel like I’m ahead of the curve. I have two pairs of rain boots, a plethora of umbrellas in a stand (and car), and three dehumidifiers.

Also, I over purchased disposable dehumidifiers at Costco earlier this spring.

Another item the article suggest is a gauze sheet for sleeping. Surprisingly, Dave and I prefer to sleep on our lightweight flannel sheets in the summer. Last summer, we found the cotton sheets to feel too cool and almost damp. The light weight flannel is soft and snuggly! The article encourages a couple types of shoe dyers and charcoal sheets. I haven’t purcahsed these specific items yet. So far, I have experienced success by keeping our running shoes next to the dehumidifier after we run to help them dry faster. I might need to look into the mold killer if my preventive methods fail. Like keeping all doors open and running the bathroom exhaust fans. All of this might seem a little extreme. However, I have been told numerous horror stories about couches and walls being covered in mold. Ugh. Between mold and the mukade, I’m officially waging war on moisture!

And yes, the mukade have returned. I have killed three outside of our house this spring. I call housing weekly to come and spray. I’m hoping to prevent the infiltration we experienced last summer. I keep forgetting to snap a picture of them before I kill them because I just want them dead. Next time, I will video their dance of death after I spray them with the Japanese mukade death spray.

Overall, I think we are adequately prepared for the onset of monsoon season. I’ll report back on my lessons learned in September.

Making it Rain

A rainy Thursday was the perfect opportunity to attend to a few errands that I have been procrastinating to complete. The most exciting was a visit to the local bank. I needed to exchange my ¥500 ($4.56) rolled coins for paper bills. I forgot to take a picture of the rolls before I went to the bank. These are the leftover pieces and an empty coin roll. It gives you an idea. 

The ¥500 is slightly larger than a U.S. Quarter. It takes 50 of the ¥500 pieces to make a complete roll. I know you are capable of doing the math, I just wanted you to realize how many ¥500 pieces we had when I tell you we had three rolls!! (150+) And now you’re wondering, why did we have so many? 

During our Area Orientation Brief (AOB), one of the presenters told us his family saved all of their ¥500 pieces and then used them to pay for trips exploring Japan. Dave and I agreed this would be a great way to save for excursions. For the past 10 months, we have saved our ¥500 pieces. Recently, I rolled them into ¥25,000 ($228) coin rolls. The three rolls of coins we accumulated equaled ¥75,000 or approximately $684.33. The paper bills of ¥75,000 is much more impressive and worthy of a photo. 

Now that it is raining both inside and outside our house, I need to start planning our next Shinkansen adventure! 

Trick Art Cruise

Tuesday was rainy. Very rainy. The rain made finding an indoor activity necessary. On our way home from Tokyo, we stopped in Yokohama at the Trick Art Cruise. 

The Trick Art Cruise is a museum with art murals that give the illusion of being 3-dimensional when viewed with one eye or through a camera. It might be easiest to understand with pictures. Fortunately, Sara and I both took a few! 

There are several trick art museums around Japan. Yokohama is a considered a port town making the cruise theme appropriate. 

The Trick Art Cruise cost ¥700 (about $6.50) and took about 30 minutes to walk through. The pictures, priceless! 

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén