Our First Golden Week
Golden Week. That beautiful, magical time when the weather forecast says it's going to be beautiful out for the five consecutive days off, and then changes at the last minute to torrential rain the whole time.
Well, this time, it didn't. It was absolutely beautiful for the entirety of Golden Week, other than the Sunday before we went back into the office. That meant people were out enjoying the beautiful weather and exploring the country. So, naturally, we did the same!
We went to Takao-san with a couple of our very good friends. We hiked up to the summit - of course, taking the most difficult trail - and then rewarded ourselves with breathtaking views of the mountains and a snow-capped Mt Fuji, accompanied by soba and beer. We even spotted a wild badger! When we got back, we crashed on the couch and watched Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Extended cut. Seriously, what a good movie.
A few days later, we took several trains to get all the way out to Okutama with another good friend. We went to this wonderful little cafe run out of a very friendly elderly man's home and had some very unique and delicious curry for brunch. Then, we hiked for over four hours to get from the little village near the train station to a lake with a huge dam. The trail was absolutely stunning, walking along a valley with a running river surrounded on both sides by towering walls of greenery. We encountered sketchy old suspension bridges with rotting planks; narrow, slippery passes with very little room for error, and a surprise 200 metre incline to get from the river to the top of the dam... twice.
All in all, I'd say this was a great Golden Week. I hope everyone out there is enjoying exploring the places around them - whether they've lived there all their lives or it's all new to them! We've made a few good friends here so far, and I truly cherish them.