Thursday, June 25, 2009

Camping? (Long lost blog)

(Here's an old post that I wrote, got lazy with attaching pictures, and pretty much never posted it. Enjoy!)

Kim and I took a little camping trip with some friends up by Mt. Fuji around mid May. Our friend Taleb rented a car and we were off for a new adventure. I have been dying to go camping ever since we landed in Japan. I had all the necessary camping equipment to ensure our comfort and safety, medical kit-check, gas stove-check, sleeping bag-check, rope-check, dynamite-check, emergency bivy-check etc. Kim thinks I'm a bit too over-prepared, but to hell with that you just never know when a grizzly is going to attack! A man must be prepared for anything. The car ride was about, I don't know maybe 2 1/2 or 3 hrs, but time flew by when you are surrounded by good company. Clayton was designated DJ and we played a game of 'guess which movie the music by John Williams is from.' You may think you don't know who John Williams is (I didn't), but trust me, you do know who he is you just don't know it yet. The man is a genius!

After a few detours we arrived at the campsite at around 2 PM. The site was a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. It was visually stunning, and completely not what I was expecting. Scenic, yes, hotels and bungalows completely surrounding the lake? .... not so much. Not exactly escaping civilization, but it was away from the madness of Tokyo and that is all that matters. When we arrived it basically started raining. Those that were originally going to camp decided to throw in the towel against the elements and sleep in a bungalow. Everyone tried to convince us to stay in the bungalow as well, but I was having none of it. By God we are freaking camping! I did not care if a typhoon came through I was determined to sleep in my tent. Kim being the best fiance a man could ask for stood by her man and we set out to put together our tent.

From about 3 PM on we basically started to eat and drink the day and night away. Taleb marinated pounds and pounds of meat with spices from his home country of Bangladesh. Wee Li, Nix, and Imelda fixed up some fine Singaporean cuisine. It was awesome! We ate so much food it was ridiculous. At one point we even had a card game where instead of taking a drink you had to eat food (thanks Wee LI). I do have to give thanks to Franky for doing a most excellent job of manning the grill.

As for our thrilling night of camping I hardly slept a wink. The rain picked up and pelted the tent, not to mention I thought it was a bright idea to set the tent under some brush to theoretically lighten the blow of the ensuing rain. The rain may have abated a bit as a result, but it didn't stop the wind swept branches from colliding with our tent all night long. Needless to say I've had a better nights sleep and I couldn't help but feel a bit jealous of our friends emerging from the bungalow fresh and rested.

We left the campsite around noon and headed off to Tokyo, but not before taking a quick bath at an Onsen (hot spring) and sampling a bit of the local flavor. The Onsen we went to was equivalent to a really nice spa. The guys broke off from gals into our respective locker rooms. Here you strip down butt naked with your friends, dignity towel in hand, and take a shower next to each other at these little stands (If you have ever seen Mr. Baseball you will get the idea). Coming from the USA this is a rather awkward experience to be hanging out with your boys ... naked. Then you go and relax in the various hot tubs. After the spa treatment we sat down for nice meal of udon noodles with a side of raw horse sashimi. Believe it or not raw horse tastes just like beef. You dip it in a little ginger and soy sauce and you have pretty delicious meal. Cheers!

The Japanese waiting outside a pachinko parlor at 7 am!

Geared up and ready to go

Not entirely sure what I'm doing

Eating Kimi

Crayton, Sang ho, Yu-chan, Kimi!!, Imelda

Skipping rocks

After I'm done poking you I shall thwack you with this ladle!

So I asked Yu-chan to look as gangster as possible and this is what I got. Yu-chan you would make a terrible gangster :P

Warming our buns

The Gang (on the left Yu, Sang ho, Crayton. On right Imelda, Nix, Taleb, and Franky)

Our mighty tent

Imelda, Wee Li, and Yu-chan

Eating Udon Noodles (at least I think that's what it was)

Ahh nothing like a little raw horse sashimi to top off a hearty meal. Yummay!!!!

Views around the lake

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