Last summer, my husband and I had planned to climb Mt. Shirouma. In order to reach the peak in a shortest time, we needed to ascend “Hakuba big snow valley”. As it is steep and slippery, we bought two pieces of equipment: a pair of trekking poles and a pair of chain climbing irons for each of us. A chain climbing iron is lighter and easier to fasten than a regular one. It has spikes, and by fastening it to a trekking shoe, it prevents us from slipping and falling.
However, we cancelled the mountain trip because of bad weather. Since then, they were in my closet without being used. Around October, he suddenly began to use the trekking poles. Then, he said they make his walking easier and more comfortable and suggested me to use them. But I was adamant not to do that, because I had a strange and obstinate idea that relying on them is unstylish.
A change suddenly came. This winter has been extremely cold, and trails of even low and small mountains easily froze and become slippery. On such cold days, we used to cancel the trekking. However, an interesting idea came to him. He told me we may be able to hike there using trekking poles and climbing irons. I had never thought of it and was not sure it would work, but we tried it anyway. His strategy was amazingly successful! We could easily climb a slippery trail effortlessly. The spikes held the trail firmly, and trekking poles secured my balance.
We were glad we could expand our trekking activity just with simple stuff. Next year, we may be able to climb Mt. Gozaisho in November even though the trail will be frozen.
Besides, it brought me a totally new notion of trekking poles. They are not unstylish but rather elegant! I should have used them promptly after the purchase.
One of my acquaintances told me her father eats almost everything, such as a piece of cake or spaghetti, with chopsticks. Hearing it, I remembered an event several year ago. My husband and I had a potluck party with his English teacher and the family. All the members enjoyed the conversation in an amicable manner. At the end of the party, when he served puddings to the guests, he found he had not brought spoons. Therefore, we managed to eat the pudding with chopsticks we used for the previous dishes. Although it was an unusual experience, we enjoyed it with a big smile. For me, it certainly tasted delicious. The atmosphere might have made the pudding delicious.
Therefore, I can imagine the acquaintance’s father sincerely savoring all his food with chopsticks.
However, even though I enjoyed the pudding, I prefer to have it with a spoon, because I believe each dish should have its own most suitable cutlery. The effect would be great. When I go to a café and have a cake, the moment I cut it with a fork makes me excited. I feel I am savoring a special occasion, which brings me to the poetic western world I dreamed of in my childhood. When I go to a French restaurant, I use a soup spoon for a soup and a knife and a fork for the main dish. For me, it is an unusual event and I fully appreciate the atmosphere and the taste of the dishes. If a waiter served those dishes with chopsticks, I might not be so excited and entertained. I believe using suitable cutlery has a favorable effect not only on the atmosphere but also the taste.
I would like to talk about the topic with several people. Hearing their opinions, I might be able to find other interesting notions of the relationship between dishes and cutlery.
This is a novel written by Yoshiki Shibata. The protagonist is Naho who runs a café in a highland. She left Tokyo to separate from her husband, because he persistently abused her until she suffered from depression. Although he had never accepted her requirement for divorce, Naho started her new life in the countryside anyway.
When people imagine a life in the countryside, it must be something rustic and peaceful. However, this book describes the severe realities. Kaho faced on many problems. First of all, running a café in the village was not a lucrative job. She struggled to earn a living in the deserted village. Although it had thrived as a romantic highland resort in decades ago, the boom was over, and ruins of souvenir shops, restaurants and accommodations remained in a desolate condition. Therefore, it was difficult for her to regularly attract many customers. Secondly, she found it was not easy to communicate with overly intrusive local people. In the countryside, many people are curious about newcomers. Finally, Kaho was amazed by the unimaginable cold in winter and high cost of indoor heating.
In this book, Kaho was supported by good village people and managed to maintain her business. Also, she could finally divorce from her husband. Then, in the last part of the story, her new love with a village man was hinted. I felt it was a little bit far-fetched. If this was a nonfiction novel, the ending might be different. She might have given up running the café and returned to Tokyo.
Nowadays more and more Japanese young people and young families have moved to the countryside. However, watching their YouTube or reading the blogs, some of them have already abandoned their new lives. That means only dreaming of an ideal pastoral life is dangerous. I highly recommend people to read this story before they make decisions.
I like traveling around highlands. However, they might be the best places to long for and visit occasionally just as a tourist.
On October 21, I climbed Mt. Gozaisho with my husband. We have trekked this mountain countless times because it is one of the best mountains as training for climbing North Alps Mountains in summer. When we had climbed it the previous week, the weather was fine, and we could enjoy the cool air and sweet smell of leaves. However, this time, the cold gusts were blowing continuously, and the whole mountain was howling furiously. As I am especially sensitive to cold, my hand went numb. Without exchanging any words, we determined it was the last trek to Mt. Gozaisho of this year.
In the mountains, winter comes much earlier than the towns.
North Alps Mountains are already slightly covered with snow, and the mountain huts closed in the middle of October.
Therefore, around this time of the year, I used to feel sadness, because it is quite a long time until we climb those beautiful mountains next year. From November to March, we just climb neighboring small mountains, Mt. Kinka and Mt. Hatobuki repeatedly.
This year, I decided to spend this lonely season more positively.
Firstly, I purchased several novels on trekking and life in mountains and highlands. Then, I made some changes to my room. I got rid of unnecessary things, changed the color of lights from cool white to warm orange, and changed bed linen to one made of fluffy fleece.
Now I feel as if I am staying in a cozy mountain lodge. In this room, I read those novels and immerse myself in the world. I feel it is just fun rather than consolation. I finally found a good way of enjoying this season!
This is a non-fiction story written by Jannette Walls, an American author and journalist. Without preliminary knowledge, many readers might not be able to believe it is a true story.
Her father is smart. However, he just chased his dream and couldn’t continue working as an employee even though their family was struggling with destitute poverty. In addition to that, he suffered from severe alcoholism. In order to buy liquor, he stole the money his children had saved and hid under the bed.
Her mother was like a dreaming girl. She believed she had a talent as an artist and was devoted to painting without paying attention to the child.
I was shocked when Janett scavenged the trash bin at school to find something to eat. I couldn’t believe why her parents didn’t care about the children when they were starved.
However, Janett never bore a grudge against them. Instead of that, she made an effort to survive under such terrible conditions with her siblings.
After reading it, I thought about why Janett could surmount it and finally succeeded as a journalist and an author.
Firstly, occasionally, she could feel a flicker of love in her parents. She was happy when her father was sober. He was quite an attractive man and told her various interesting and exciting stories. Even though her mother seemed to ignore parenting, occasionally she taught children important things in life, for example, not to have prejudice against black people. In addition to that, they gave their children a fundamental education such as reading and mathematics at home, and she was smarter than other students at school. Through such favorable experiences, Janet could believe she was surely loved by parents.
Secondly, she got along with her sister and brother. Whenever miserable problems happened, they tried to overcome them together and do something positive. I believe such bonds between her siblings encouraged her so much, and it gave her courage to face difficulties.
Finally, she could believe her possibilities and future. Instead of complaining about the parents, she always thought about what she could do under the circumstances. By accumulating such efforts, she finally left home and started a new life in New York.
This book taught me the importance of not to abandoning hope and make progress towards the right direction.
登って下山するまで8時間2２分の行動時間だった。標準コースタイムより1時間12分遅かったが 早く出発し（3時58分）、12時20分には登山口に戻れたのだから 安全登山と言えるだろう。