Sunday, December 14, 2014

Hiking near Seno

Yesterday Jeff and I went hiking with the Hiroshima hiking club.  It was a really nice route that started two train stations from us in a town called Seno.  There was a good sized group, around 20 people.  There were two other Americans in the group, both are English teachers.  This group has a high percentage of English speakers and with our really basic Japanese, it felt very social.

The hike went through several sub climates.  It started in what looked like fairly tropical forest.  There was a fair amount of leaf matter on the ground but many of the trees don't seem to drop leaves.  The trail followed a narrow stream for much of the way up.

In between the patches of broad leaf forest was cedar groves and the occasional small bamboo grove.  We hit several sections that had a dusting of snow.

After about two and a half hours of hiking we reached the top of the mountain.  It had some lovely views.  Added bonus we were in the sun so it felt warmer.

After the requisite picture taking and posing at the top everyone settled down for some serious snacking.  Keep in mind, we had a group lunch planned after the hike but people came prepared.  Jeff and I just brought a couple of granola bars and we were by far, the minimalists.  There was a wide variety of chocolate, the crunchy pancake-y things with peanuts in them, bread made from something interesting as it was spinach-y green and cheese... and these were just the snacks that people where sharing around!  Most people also had little thermoses of hot coffee or tea.  Jeff and I did not bring any thing to share and felt quite bad.  We will bring something good to share next hike.

We waited around for a while for the really slow group to catch up with us.  The hike split in to three groups, the fast group (although truth be told, it isn't a very fast group of hikers), a slightly slower group, and a really slow group.  The really slow group was a guy who is 82, one of the hiking club organizers, mostly because they want to make sure this old guy isn't hiking on his own and he is apparently a super interesting guy so fun to talk to, and an older lady (I didn't catch her age).  Once they showed up and had a few more snacks we started back down.

One of the things that made this hike really nice was that it was a loop.  The route back was completely different than the way we came.  So far, hiking in Japan has been really interesting in that everything is really steep!  There are no gentle rolling hills.  It is either very up or very down.

Below is our destination town of Nananohigashi
The route was such that we came down to a completely different town which meant a different train stop.  We all just hopped on the next train and went in to Hiroshima for lunch.  The last group of three was going to meet up with us at the restaurant so they could go their own pace.

People thought I was pretty strange for hiking while pregnant.  This is something I have seen repeatedly in Japan.  Pregnant women don't do anything here.  In America it is recommended that physical activity is part of your routine when pregnant with the "listen to your body" tag that goes along with everything.  This is not the case in Japan.  Exercise is not encouraged at all.  No one has told me not to exercise but any doctor that I have mentioned doing a little hiking looks at me like I'm insane.  I have read quite a bit on exercise and pregnancy and everything says it is good for mom and baby so I'm going to keep moving but it was a little strange how shocked people were.  I have my days were I barely get up from the couch, but I feel better when I get a little more blood flow.

The restaurant was okonomiyaki. I think I brought this type of food up once before.  It is definitely Japanese comfort food in the way that Americans love pizza, Japanese love okonomiyaki. It is pretty much a think pancake or crape that has noodles, bean sprouts, eggs, pork, cabbage all topped off with a special sauce cooked on a hot griddle.  

A few extra people joined us for lunch that did not make the hike.  It was a super pleasant day and I slept so good last night!

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