Archive for October, 2009

“Taiiku no hi” Ride

October 15th, 2009 by MTBBill

 This past  Monday was Columbus day in the United States, but I’m not in the States.  Lucky for me Monday was also the Japanese Holiday of  “Taiiku no hi” which is “Health-Sports Day”.   What better way to celebrate that than a bike ride. 

Fall is happening here.   The summer heat is gone and the cooler temps of fall have taken over. There are no huge splash of colors just yet but you can tell that mother nature is dusting off her brushes and shaking the paint cans.

The closest mountain to town is Yumihari.  I have been on most of the flanks of this mountain and have found some stuff to ride in all those areas.   The place suffers from little use and even less maintenance.    This place would be incredibly awesome if there were enough riders to keep this place debrushed.  I was focusing on the southern area today and was quite pleased with what I found and that it is seeing some use.   One such trails was an awesome benchcut along a ruggedly steep hill side.

I eventually found my way over to what I was looking for.  There is a large statue that you can see from town perched up along the ridgeline that I had been eyeing from work for a couple of weeks now.    This thing is huge.  At least 20 feet high and it sets top of 20 foot raised base.  This was a great spot for some snacks so I enjoyed them while taking in some of the views. 

There was an old couple there tending to the grounds.  Eventually the husband and I struck up a conversation which was a mixture of my bad Japanese, his bad English and a healthy dose of International Charades.   From the jest of the conversation, the man was 70 years old and his father made the sculpture.    He was very proud of his father’s work.  He was also proud of the fact his wife was much younger than him (only in her 50s).   The wife snickered at this and gave him a gentle slap on the arm.  While I did not catch what see said, the facial expressions translated to something along the lines of “You Dirty Old Fool”.  While he looked old, he was mighty healthy and was doing some significant work like cutting grass, trimming back branches, etc…   I hope to be that spry when I am his age.  You can tell they loved and cared for this place.    After a bit more broken chit-chat over a can of coffee he gave me, I was on my way.  After such a nice little life enriching experience I could have called it a day right then and have been quite happy.

Lucky for the me the old man had “Charaded” me some more information on trails, so settting off from the shrine, I did some more snooping around.

What the old man had pointed to was a really cool bit of trail where you descend down along a mostly steep ridgeline through a forest of mixed bamboo and hardwoods.   It was a pretty fun descent with some scary bits thrown in when things got rocky and really steep.  

After this I climbed back up the mountain and hit some one the loops I have done several times which put me back onto the side of the mountain I wanted to be on.   After another rather technical descent I popped out into another neighborhood.   From here I zipped along a series of narrow twisting sidewalks that descended the rest of the way down the mountain back into town.  I love when the navigation calls for anyway that is downhill to get “home”.    I might get another ride or two in before I leave Japan but if not this would be a downright cool closer ride.