On the way back down the mountain after hiking through the night for a Mt. Fuji sunrise.
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June was the month that I finally managed to return to the Minami Alps - I tried last year but guilt got the better of me. Of the three big mountain ranges in Japan - the Minami, Chuo, and Kita Alps - the Minami Alps are probably my favorite. They are the least visited among the three and offer the most spectacular views of Mt. Fuji I’ve ever seen (and I have only just started exploring.)
With the hiking season in full swing I hope to do a lot more hiking in the next few months. Planned hikes in the Minami Alps include excursions to Mt. Shiomi (塩見岳) and Okochidake (小河内岳), as well as the A-Course hike starting from Agematsu on the west side of the Chuo Alps, and this hike where I saw my first wild bear last time. The final part of my Kiso-ji/Nakasendo walk can be put aside while the summer heat takes hold at lower altitudes. It’s foolish to do too much walking (or exercise) during the daytime in July and August here (that’s why the Olympic marathon was moved much further north to Sapporo), and there’s no rush to get the Kiso-ji walk done so waiting until the end of autumn and the autumn colours is a no-brainer.
I finally traded in my remaining micro four-thirds camera gear (the LUMIX G9 and 3 lenses) and now only have the LUMIX S5, two prime lenses (a 35mm Sigma f2 and the recently released Panasonic 50mm f1.8) and one mid-range telephoto (the Panasonic 24-105 f4). The 35mm and 50mm are for everyday shooting and for low light - a few summer night festivals coming up - while the 24-105 is for walking, hiking and generally more outdoor adventure stuff.
For me less choice is far more preferable than having to decide between two cameras every time I walk out the door, and as the S5 is full frame and a newer system that was what I decided to keep. The system overall is a little heavier because of the lenses and I find the video functions overwhelming but I’m happy with my choice. I thought I’d miss the G9 but I don’t.
Of course I still have my Leica M6 and a couple of rolls of film in the fridge for those days when I’m feeling nostalgic.
I have a sore back at the moment and I don’t know why. I’m sure I’m not the only one but the older I get the more I find myself spending time stretching and doing light weights (in addition to cycling, walking, and hiking) just to maintain a decent level of movement. With our daughter not even two years old yet the thought of being taken out for a few days or even weeks due to a bad back or something else and not being able to play with her is worrying. If anyone knows of any good lower back strengthening exercises I’d love to hear them.
Posts this month (it's been a quiet month thanks to the earlier than usual start to the rainy season)
Two classics that should be read over and over again.
Walden or, Life in The Woods (reread) - Henry David Theroux
The Snow Leopard - Peter Matthiessen
When was the last time you lay down and listened to a whole album from start to finish in one sitting without skipping tracks? Do it now if you haven’t done it for a while.
Education, Entertainment, Recreation (live) - New Order.
I’d like to finish with a shoutout to one of my favourite websites in Japan - retirejapan.com
Ben regularly recommends my website to his readers and I thought it was about time I did likewise. Life is much better with a decent level of financial security so if you need to navigate effective ways of retiring or becoming financially secure while living in Japan then Ben’s website is well worth following.