Tag Archives: climbing

My Daughter Will Be a Rock Climber

My daughter is a climber. She’s fearless. She will climb anything, and will get up pretty high. She has a very strong grip and sure footing. I think she’s going to be a rock climber.

Although she’s only four years old, she seems to have little trouble getting up anywhere. She played with a boy who was about a year older than her, and his father had him wearing a bicycle helmet to climb onto anything. But I noticed that my daughter climbs faster than him, and has far better technique.

You may ask if I’m afraid if she’s going to fall. Sure, I’m worried about if she falls, but I can’t hover around her. She needs to learn to be independent on the playground, make friends by herself, and resolve conflicts on her own. I’m not going to be the kind of parent who micromanages his child. I’ll make sure she knows when she’s doing something she shouldn’t be doing, like throwing sand or pushing other kids. I’ll let her climb up the slide backwards. Lots of kids do that, and it allows her to use the playground equipment in her own way. I’ll let her make her own mistakes. If she falls and gets a scrape, this only helps her learn. I sit back and just watch.

I want her to become independent, use her own judgment, and learn how to take care of herself. And maybe she will become an amazing rock climber.

1251.7 Metres Up on Mt. Oyama

This picture was taken from the top of Mt. Oyama.

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Pretty nice view, too.

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I took this.

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To the middle of that mountain.

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And then we climbed to the top. The sign said 90 minutes to the top and 60 minutes back down. It was actually 65 up and 50 down. I think we made good time. This is only a taste of what we experienced. Video will be coming.

That “I’m in Japan” Feeling

When I came to Japan, I always had the “I’m in Japan” feeling. Everything I saw, heard, smelled, tasted, and felt was Japan. Everywhere I went, I thought, “This is Japan.”

A few months later, the feeling wore off. A few years later, that feeling just isn’t there.  I loved that feeling. I remember when I was a kid and we visited my grandparents on Vancouver Island, I had that “I’m on Vancouver Island” feeling. Then I lived there, and didn’t have that feeling anymore.  Occasionally, I’ll get flashes of these feelings whenever I’m somewhere somewhat familiar to me, but not often.

But I felt it again. After more than a week of sightseeing, I felt it again! But not where you’d imagine. I felt it while I was laying in bed this morning, hearing the sounds of everything going on outside. I suddenly felt, “I’m in Japan.”

Today, we’re going to a place that is very Japanese. From its tofu-filled shopping street to its Afuri Shrine, Mt. Oyama is a very old religious site in Japan. We’re going to climb it! And by climb it, I mean we’re taking the cable car. It’s a new cable car, too. I won’t live blog it, since I’d just say thing like, “here’s a tree, and some more trees” and “Check out this rock!” I will take video whenever we see something interesting, though.

So, my question for you today is a two-parter. First, the feeling that I’ve mentioned, do you get that feeling whenever you go somewhere new? And second, have you ever climbed a mountain? Let me know in the comments below.

Wow! Moment: The summit of Mt. Fuji

During my first summer in Japan, I had the opportunity to climb Mt. Fuji. Most foreigners in Japan seem to want to try that. I was quite interested in it.

So, on July 31st, 2005, I and 4 other teachers left Shinjuku in Tokyo on a bus to the 5th stage of Mt. Fuji. It’s halfway up the mountain and the highest point that vehicles can travel.

We started our climb at 10pm and planned to arrive at the summit in time to see the sunrise. It was dark, so we needed lights. There was a line of lights all the way to the top, hundreds of other climbers. While it was dark, the thing that amazed me was the night view. Not only could we see city lights, but the sky was very clear and thousands of stars were visible. My first “Wow” moment was when I saw the Milky Way very clearly. I’d never seen it before. Absolutely beautiful!

By the time we reached the top, the sun was rising. That’s my second “Wow” moment. It was amazing to see from the top of Japan. At the top, we rested, at ramen, looked at the crater, and finally headed down. What amazed me then was how red the mountain was. “Wow” number three was for how it looked like pictures from Mars.

We arrived back at the 5th stage around 10 am, feeling very sore, tired and hungry.

And you know what? I really want to climb it again.