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Don’t Be Stingy, I’m A Growing Lad December 16, 2007

Posted by Mitch in General.
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Well, I’ve returned from my shopping trip in Shimonoseki to stock up on hiking gear. On Friday, after I finished at school, I nipped to the supermarket and picked up some meat and started the 3 hour journey to Shimonoseki (well, if we’re splitting hairs, I went to Ozuki which is the station nearest to Phoebe’s house, but it’s in the general region of Shimonoseki). Once there, I got a cab having an, albeit brief but no less successful, conversation with my cab driver, in Japanese! and got to Phoebe’s house first! Also, another first: I had remembered everything I needed. I used to be relatively organised in the fact I didn’t often forget to take things away with me. Now that I’m here, that seems to have disappeared and I’m constantly forgetting shower gel, or a towel and even, on one occasion, a jacket!

So I arrived in the wilds of Kikugawa (kiku is the Japanese word for chrysanthemum and gawa is a form of the word for river) and we set about trying to start a fire. See, the main reason that a group descended upon the sleepy idyll of Chrysanthemum River is because we were having a Korean BBQ Night. Phoebe had an authentic grill, we had the meat and some homemade fruit wine – it was all sorted. What we hadn’t counted on, was trying to light the fire. So Phoebe, Mark and I tried all sorts of ways. Phoebe had the great idea of using a piece of wood which, once she had broken it opened, revealed an ants’ nest inside, leaving us no option but squashing them all and burning their remains. Eventually we retired to the closest convenience store and purchased a good, old fashioned can of Zippo lighter fluid. Try and not burn now! Admittedly, I think I got a little too carried away with it all and some eyebrows may have been lost. But that’s not for here…

After a night of good food, good conversation and good company, Phoebe, Wakako and I headed over to Shin-Shimonoseki to a store lovingly called Scrum. There I was lucky enough to find a pair of hiking boots that fit me and are amazingly comfortable (so far – I’m not naive enough to think that they’ll remain comfortable when I’m hauling myself up the side of a Vietnamese mountain) and a nice new backpack, which will also come in handy for when I stay overnight at friends’ houses – at the moment I lug around a big black holdall that is painfully over-sized and bulky for such a short stay. I also picked up some hiking socks and some plasters for blisters.

My new gear aside, I’m insanely nervous about this. It’s costing quite a bit of money so far and I’m determined to get to the top in order to have not wasted the money. However, I’m hardly in the best of shape and as much as people keep telling me I don’t look like it, I’ve definitely been piling on the pounds since it turned cold. I’m worried that I won’t be capable of reaching the summit. But then I also know that I’m stubborn as anything and so hopefully will defy my body’s failings in order to conquer this Indochinese peak.

Today, I have very little planned. Actually, that’s a lie. I’ve got to clean my apartment because when I come back from my jaunt away, I’ll have company in the form of Richy (who’s coming to Japan for New Year!) and at the moment, my flat is more of a mess than it’s ever been before. After that, I’m going to get into my new hiking boots and wear them around for the rest of the day in the futile hope that I’ll ‘wear them in’. I also want to go out on my bike to explore Kuga a bit more. Apparently there’s a rather spanking new gym and sports facility hidden away somewhere in town that I want to seek out and join.

This entry hasn’t been all that interesting, I’m sure, but nothing’s really happening at the moment. When I get back from my time away, I’m sure the entries will be flooding out.

Till next time!

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