Getting high: the Japan Alps
The big smoke of the city gets to you sometimes. Which is why you have to go wild in the country, and what place better to do it than Nagano?
Bleary eyed but bushy tailed, the journey started with the shink to Nagoya. Don’t know why, but if Tokyo is like London and Osaka is like Manchester, then Nagoya is like Birmingham. Except the curry isn’t as good in Nagoya. Obviously.
A series of rickety trains oop norf, ending with a quaintly but inaptly named ‘one man locomotive’ (ワンマン車), took us to the wilds of a place called Shiojiri. Look closely at the kanji…塩尻. To quote John McEnroe, “You can’t be serious!!!” Why? Because literally translated, it means ’salty arse’!!! Obviously crudity control never reached such northern parts.
Hiring a car, we got wheels and headed for the middle of nowhere in pitch black darkness. Forsaking any temptation to tell ghost stories that might’ve ended in tears, we wound up in a remote corner of Yamanashi-ken, staying in a picturesque log cabin in the forest. Catching the tail end of a typhoon, the pouring rain makes it all the more atmosheric when you’re all tucked up under the futon.
Ventured out into an adventure the next day.
Upper case letters could never warrant the grandiosity of the Japan Alps. Heavens above, it was like being in heaven, or watching it from above. Made the Scottish Grampions seem feeble. Supersize me, please! Seriously, I’d been so used to seeing the regular Japanese mountains, that I was under the impression they were all like that. Think again. And what was that? Only Mount Fuji in the distance.
The Japan Alps, then. The natural way to get high.